The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.1 % in January 2021 compared with the previous month, reaching 100.1 points (December 2020 = 100). Inflation was –0.5 % compared with the same month of the previous year. These are the results of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
The 0.1% increase compared with the previous month is due to several factors including rising prices for hotel accommodation. Fuel also recorded a price increase, as did second-hand cars. In contrast, prices for air transport and clothing and footwear decreased, the latter due to seasonal sales.
Reweighted basket of goods
In order to take into account the changing consumption habits of private households, the CPI basket of goods has been reweighted annually since December 2001. The household budget survey (HBS) that is carried out every year is used as the basis for the weighting of the basket of goods. The consumer expenditure of 3400 private households drawn at random from the sample frame for personal and household surveys is surveyed in detail and extrapolated to give an average expenditure structure.
In general, the weights of the basket of goods are based on the results of the household budget survey from the previous year. The results from the 2019 survey were supposed to be used as the basis for the weights of the basket of goods of the CPI in 2021. These results would then have been indexed with the price development until December 2020, as December of the previous year is the reference month for the CPI weights.
There were however significant changes to the consumption expenditure of private households in 2020 due to the corona crisis. Given these circumstances, it is not possible to estimate a consumer structure for December 2020 using the survey results from 2019. For this reason, the 2021 CPI weighting has been drawn from the HBS results for the months December 2019 to November 2020.
This is an evaluation using data as at the end of December 2020. The evaluation includes a sufficient number of responses from the 12-month period covered and provides qualitatively good results. It therefore serves as an up-to-date data basis for the 2021 CPI weighting which depicts important shifts in consumer spending in 2020.
The CPI weightings will thus experience shifts in 2021 compared with the previous year that have never been observed in the recent past: The weighting of the main group health care increases from 15.7 % to 17.6 % (+1.9 percentage points), that of rents from 18.5 % to 20.1 % (+1.6) and that of food from 9.6 % to 10.9 % (+1.3 percentage points). The CPI weighting of the main group restaurants and hotels falls from 9.5 % to 6.9 % (–2.6 percentage points) and that of package holidays falls from 2.2 % to 1.1 % (–1.1 percentage points). The weightings of motor fuel (–0.6 percentage points) and clothing (–0.5 percentage points) also fall considerably.
For the sectors in which the HBS does not provide enough information, additional industry and market research data is drawn upon as it is every year. This concerns in particular expenditure on energy, tobacco, gambling and new cars.
Quality of results
The current pandemic affects all of society and the entire economy. In this difficult context, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) must continue to provide public opinion, particularly the country’s decision makers and media, with reliable figures.
In January 2021, it was possible to collect all prices according to the survey plan with the exception of some airfares and some prices for international package holidays and restaurants. For airfares and package holidays, the price trend measured for those prices that could be ascertained was applied to missing prices from the same category, neutralising their impact on the results. For missing prices of restaurants, the last price recorded was carried forward.
With the exception of airfares, package holidays, restaurants, the quality of the price collection for the CPI in January 2021 meets the usual standards. At this point we would like to express our sincere thanks to our partners who do their best to provide us with their data even under difficult conditions.
Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP)
The Swiss Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices for January 2021 will be published on the Eurostat website (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/hicp ) on 23 February 2021. It will be available on the FSO website at the same time as the February 2021 publication, i.e. from 3 March 2021.
The HICP is a supplementary indicator for inflation based on a harmonised method across EU member countries. It enables inflation comparisons between Switzerland and the European countries.
The European Statistical Office, Eurostat, publishes the results according to a predefined calendar. The FSO publishes a comparison between inflation in Switzerland and Europe on the webpage www.ipch.bfs.admin.ch . A methodological note, the 2021 weighting of the Swiss standard HICP basket and the FSO News publication on the HICP are also available on this page. Eurostat will publish the HICP indices for other European countries for January 2021 on 23 February 2021. You will find the HICP results on the Eurostat website at the following address: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/hicp