Tag: price index

Inflation has reached a 16-year high of 5.2% in September 2008 with rising energy bills leading to much of the increase. This puts inflation well outside the target rate for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), but analysts are convinced that it will fall sharply in the coming months with some predicting inflation to be just 1% by autumn 2009. Even the Bank of England has now agreed that inflationary risks have moved “decisively to the downside” allowing them to cut the interest rate from 5% to 4.5% as part of a globally coordinated interest rate cut.

Rising gas bills send inflation to 16-year high Times Online (14/10/08)
Inflation high but fear of recession grows Guardian (14/10/08)
Inflation soars to 5.2% Guardian (14/10/08)
Fresh storm gathering as inflation surge adds £3bn to welfare bill Times Online (15/10/08)
Rising cost of living prompts further pay strike threats Times Online (15/10/08)
Where now for UK inflation? BBC News Online (14/10/08)
Consumer inflation reaches 5.2% BBC News Online (14/10/08)


1. Explain how the CPI is calculated.
2. What are the principal factors that have led to the rise in inflation to 5.2%?
3. Discuss whether, in the current financial crisis, it is appropriate for the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to be targeting just inflation.
4. Explain the transmission mechanism whereby a cut in interest rates will affect inflation. Discuss whether this transmission mechanism will be as relevant in the current financial climate.

The principal measure of inflation, the consumer prices index, is calculated from price changes in a basket of goods. The composition of this basket is changed each year to reflect changes in consumer spending patterns. 2008 sees smoothies, USB storage devices and muffins coming into the basket, while ready meals and 35mm camera film have had their day and leave the basket of goods.

What’s in and what’s out in 2008 Guardian (17/3/08)
Fruit smoothies in, ready meals out Guardian (17/3/08)
Smoothie pour into cost of living basket Guardian (17/3/08)
Let them eat sourdough bread, olives and sun-dried tomatoes Guardian (17/3/08)
Smoothies join basket of goods used to calculate inflation Times Online (18/3/08)


1. Explain what is meant by a weighted index. Why does the consumer prices index (CPI) need to be a weighted index?
2. Explain how the CPI is calculated.
3. Discuss why annual percentage changes in the CPI may not be an appropriate measure of inflation for all groups in society.