The consumer price index (CPI) is an important indicator for inflation, but is not the only one. It is an index for price changes in a basket of consumer goods and services, such as groceries, clothing, petrol, rent and insurance premiums. Inflation is a broader term which covers more than consumer goods and services; for example, prices of owner-occupied houses, manufactured products, shares and gold are also subject to change.
Lower petrol prices
The year-on-year increase in consumer prices over February was lower than in January. This is mainly due to price developments of petrol. With an average price per litre of 1.57 euros, petrol was 1.1 percent less expensive in February compared to the same month last year, while in January 2018 the price of petrol increased 1.4 percent year-on-year. The price development of clothes and vegetables drove the inflation rate down as well.
Rise in Dutch consumer prices higher than in eurozone
In addition to the consumer price index (CPI), CBS also calculates the European harmonised price index (HICP).
HICP-based prices in the Netherlands decreased from 1.5 percent in January to 1.3 percent in February. In the eurozone the price increase of goods and services fell from 1.3 to 1.2 percent. For the second month in a row, the price increase in the Netherlands is higher than in the eurozone.
The HICP is compiled according to the European harmonised method in order to facilitate comparison between the various EU member states. Price indices for the eurozone and the European Union as a whole are calculated on the basis of the HICPs of the individual member states. The European Central Bank (ECB) uses these figures to formulate its monetary policy.
Unlike the CPI, the HICP does not take into account the costs related to home ownership. In the Dutch CPI, these costs are calculated on the basis of rent levels.