2014

Inflation in Advanced Economies Generally Below Target

NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for August increased over the past 12 months for all 16 economies for which such price measures are available from The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons program.

Between August 2012 and August 2013, inflation was highest in Norway (3.3 percent) and the Netherlands (2.8 percent). By comparison, prices in the United States were up 1.3 percent. Denmark (0.1 percent) and Switzerland (0.4 percent) posted the smallest price increases. At 1.1 percent, Japan saw the largest inflation since late 2008, curbing deflation for the third month in a row. However, the annual inflation rate decreased compared to the previous month in most economies covered.

Governments vary in the methods and definitions used to calculate consumer price indexes and inflation rates. HICPs provide a harmonized metric for comparing inflation across countries.     

"Inflation exceeded 2 percent in only 3 of the 16 countries compared," said Elizabeth Crofoot, Senior Economist with the International Labor Comparisons Program at The Conference Board. "Inflation is not accelerating in the U.S. and Europe, reflecting the sluggish economic conditions in these areas."

"The dis-inflation in the U.S. and Europe is another factor which helps justify loose monetary policy in the short term," says Bart van Ark, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. "While inflation in Japan is rising in response to quantitative easing and fiscal stimulus earlier this year, it remains at very low levels. However, the consumption tax which has just been announced by the government may accelerate inflation in Japan in coming months."

About HICP and International Labor Comparisons (ILC)
Harmonized Indexes of Consumer Prices are measures of consumer price inflation that have been standardized across multiple countries based on European Union definitions. A monthly report compiles HICP trends for 16 economies, alongside conventional Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) as measured by national governments. The Conference Board adjusts official HICP and CPI metrics to a common base year to facilitate comparison with the United States.   

The data is published as part of The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons program. Formerly a division of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ILC is dedicated to producing economic indicators that optimize research, comparison, and planning in a global context.

For more information about The Conference Board ILC program:
www.conference-board.org/ilcprogram

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is an independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.  www.conference-board.org.

The Conference Board will continue the International Labor Comparisons (ILC) program from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The international indexes of consumer prices are produced using the same concepts and methodology as those formerly used by BLS. For additional information, see the news release.

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