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China’s CPI is Calculated Differently from the U.S.

At a press conference on July 15, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the key measure of inflation, was 2.3 percent in the second quarter. It was 2.1 percent for both April and May, and 2.5 percent for June. In the U.S., the CPI in June was 9.1 percent, reaching a 40-year high.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) has reported on why China’s inflation rate has been relatively lower than that of the West. A major reason for China’s lower inflation rate is that the weight of products included in the CPI calculation is very different.

CPI tracks the prices people pay for a “basket” of goods and services. The list of goods is weighted, with those more often bought for daily consumption getting a higher weight.

While China puts more weight on food and clothing, the U.S. values housing and transportation more, the latter being more susceptible to global energy prices.

According to Huang Wentao, an analyst at the China Securities Finance Corporation (CSF), in China’s CPI calculation, the weight of food is about 18.4 percent, while that weight in the U.S. CPI is 7.8 percent; China’s weight for clothing and apparel is about 6.2 percent, while in the U.S. it is 2.8 percent. The rent for housing accounts for 16.2 percent in China’s CPI, and 32 percent in the U.S. calculation. Transportation accounts for 10.1 percent in China, which is much lower than the 15.1 percent in the U.S. counterpart.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), July 15, 2022