You ask, we answer! The editorial team of Euro am Sonntag answers reader questions on legal, financial and insurance topics. By Felix Petruschke, Euro am Sonntag
The European Central Bank (ECB) defends its zero interest rate policy with reference to the very low inflation rate, among other things. In the euro zone it was officially minus 0.3 percent in September. Personally, however, I don’t have the feeling that prices have fallen – rather, things have risen sharply in the supermarket, for example. How is the inflation rate calculated and on what basis?
€ URO ON SUNDAY: Rising or falling prices are very subjective: if you are looking for a new place to stay or a tradesman, for example, you will probably feel differently than someone who carefully follows the price of petrol or heating oil. Personal consumption behavior therefore decides whether more or less money will remain in the account towards the end of the month due to price changes.
The statistical authority Eurostat is responsible for the European consumer price index, which is based on information from the 19 national statistical authorities in the euro member states. These measure the price changes of thousands of goods and services in a fictitious shopping cart. This should ensure objectivity and comparability of the data.
For years, however, doubts have been expressed about this data, more precisely about the composition of the shopping basket. The inflation rate is kept artificially low because asset prices – such as stocks, real estate, works of art or gold, all of which have become considerably more expensive in recent years – are left out, the critics complain, among other things.
Although there are considerations of reforming the selection of the shopping basket and the weighting of individual components, one shouldn’t expect too much from this: Example calculations for a changed shopping basket show that this would increase the inflation rate by a maximum of 0.3 percentage points.