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Brian Graf


The Consumer Price Index Manual: Concepts and Methods contains comprehensive information and explanations on compiling a consumer price index (CPI). The Manual provides an overview of the methods and practices national statistical offices (NSOs) should consider when making decisions on how to deal with the various problems in the compilation of a CPI. The chapters cover many topics. They elaborate on the different practices currently in use, propose alternatives whenever possible, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. The primary purpose of the Manual is to assist countries in producing CPIs that reflect internationally recommended methods and practices.

Mr. Marshall B Reinsdorf
COVID-19 changed consumers’ spending patterns, making the CPI weights suddenly obsolete. In most regions, adjusting the CPI weights to account for the changes in spending patterns increases the estimate of inflation over the early months of the pandemic. Under-weighting of rising food prices and over-weighting of falling transport prices are the main causes of the underestimation of inflation. Updated CPI weights should be developed as soon as is feasible, but flux in spending patterns during the pandemic complicates the development as quickly as 2021 of weights that represent post-pandemic spending patterns.
Ms. Yuko Hashimoto, Mr. Gee Hee Hong, and Xiaoxiao Zhang
How does a shrinking population affect the housing market? In this study, drawing on Japan’s experience, we find that there exists an asymmetric relationship between housing prices and population change. Due to the durability of housing structures, the decline in housing prices associated with population losses is estimated to be larger than the rise in prices associated with population increases. Given that population losses have been and are projected to be more acute in rural areas than urban areas in Japan, the on-going demographic transition in Japan could worsen regional disparities, as falling house prices in rural areas could intensify population outflows. Policy measures to promote more even population growth across regions, and avoid the over-supply of houses, are critical to stabilize house prices with a shrinking population.
Ichiro Fukunaga and Manrique Saenz
A dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model tailored to the Thai economy is used to explore the performance of alternative monetary and macroprudential policy rules when faced with shocks that directly impact the financial cycle. In this context, the model shows that a monetary policy focused on its traditional inflation and output objectives accompanied by a well targeted counter-cyclical macroprudential policy yields better macroeconomic outcomes than a lean-against-the-wind monetary policy rule under a wide range of assumptions.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Australia discusses that a continued gradual economic recovery is expected, subject to downside risks. Growth should continue to recover in 2020, but it will take time for the economy to return to potential and restore inflation to within the target range. Despite sound macroeconomic fundamentals and policy management, growth remains below potential and inflation is slightly below its target range. Growth is projected to recover gradually in the near term, supported by monetary policy easing, tax cuts, and the recovery of housing markets. Nonetheless, inflation is forecast to remain slightly below the target range until 2021 due to persistent economic slack. Downside risks, including a renewed escalation of the China–US tensions and weaker private consumption, remain elevated and have increased recently due to the widespread bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak. On the upside, looser financial conditions could re-accelerate asset-price inflation, boosting private consumption but also adding to medium-term vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Philippines highlights that the economic performance remains strong. The discussions focused on macroeconomic policies to keep the economy close to balance under the baseline outlook and risk scenarios; strategies for macroprudential policies to address risks from a potential renewed acceleration in credit growth; and policies and reforms to foster stronger and inclusive growth. Growth regained momentum in the second half of 2019 following a slowdown in the first half. The latter primarily reflected budgetary developments, with some temporary government underspending in the early part of the year. A decisive monetary policy tightening in response to the inflation spike and overheating risks in 2018 and weaker external demand also contributed. The structural reform momentum and infrastructure push remain strong. Gross domestic product growth is projected to rise further in the near term, underpinned by government spending acceleration and the recent monetary policy easing. Risks to the outlook are to the downside, reflecting risks to the global economy from increased trade tensions, shifts in global financial conditions, and natural disasters.