Two indices gauge prices, confidence

Two indices gauge prices, confidence

New benchmarks offer specific data

The Commerce Ministry has developed two new indices to gauge service prices and business confidence.

Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said the first gauge is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Service, which will better reflect changes in service prices than the existing CPI, which gauges headline inflation.

The new index also better indicates the movement of service prices, allowing business operators to plan their spending or investments more effectively, he said.

CPI Service is based on 14 categories of 87 service-related items out of a total of 430 products and services in the CPI basket used to calculate the headline inflation rate. The index identifies the top five categories fetching the highest spending: real estate-related activity, information and communications, transport and warehousing, management and management support, and education.

The other gauge is the Business Confidence Index (BCI) Service, which indicates the direction and changes in business operations, including any obstacles. The department developed BCI Service in partnership with the National Statistical Office.

Mr Phusit said BCI Service also reflects the opinions of service operators towards their own business in the present and the future.

The two new indices are slated to be disseminated on a quarterly basis, starting from the second quarter of 2021.

"The office hopes the two new indices serve as alternative indicators, providing in-depth information to policymakers and state planning units for use in designing policies and measures to regulate service prices and the business sector," he said.

Earlier this year, the Commerce Ministry adjusted the base year in calculating the CPI, starting with January's figures to keep pace with changing social and economic conditions. The new base year is 2019, which the National Statistical Office used to complete its survey on national economic and social conditions.

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