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Consumer inflation expectations in December 2015

Date: 31-12-2015

NBP data: Consumers surveyed by the Central Statistical Office of Poland (GUS) in the first half of December expect prices to rise only slightly over the next 12 months.

On 31 December, Narodowy Bank Polski released the monthly data on consumer inflation expectations.

The expectations index, i.e. the difference between the percentage of respondents who expect prices to rise faster than at present and the sum of the percentages of respondents expecting them to rise more slowly, remain unchanged or fall, was -30% percentage points (compared with -38 percentage points a month before). The analysis of the inflation expectations index shows that from 2012 to the middle of 2015, consumers expected progressively smaller price increases in the following 12 months. It seems that consumers' opinions on the anticipated price movements have started to tend upwards in the past half-year. However, these opinions are characterised by considerable uncertainty, as borne out by recent months' sharp fluctuations in the structure of responses to the survey questions.

Quantification of the data obtained in the GUS survey conducted in the first half of December shows that the average inflation index as expected by consumers over the next 12 months is still hovering close to zero ( 0.21% as against 0.18% in a month earlier). The expectations quantification procedure, which translates respondents’ subjective perceptions into the language of official inflation statistics, assumes that the price change in the preceding 12 months as perceived by consumers equals the CPI available at the time of the survey. In December, this figure was negative at -0.7%. Such a result makes it difficult to interpret the survey results. This is because, in line with the structure of the survey question, respondents who expect a price growth are to specify whether the growth will be faster, similar or weaker than presently observed. With this in mind, the December quantification procedure used the latest registered positive rate of current inflation (i.e. the August 2014 figure of 0.3%) to represent the perceived current inflation instead of the negative rate of inflation available at the time of the survey. The technical nature of this operation renders the estimates of the objectified measure of inflation expectations more tentative, and the quantification results should be treated as an approximation.

Narodowy Bank Polski examines, on a regular basis, inflation expectations of consumers as well as the business community, financial analysts and professional forecasters. These provide one of the inputs to the monetary policy decision-making process.

See also: Consumer inflation expectations in December 2015

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