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Kazakhstan Statistics Agency explains jewelry and fur coats in consumer price index

07 february 2013, 16:57
0
Head of Kazakhstan Statistics Agency Alikhan Smailov. Photo courtesy of pm.kz
Head of Kazakhstan Statistics Agency Alikhan Smailov. Photo courtesy of pm.kz
Head of Kazakhstan Statistics Agency Alikhan Smailov explained why the agency listed gold and silver jewelry, fur coats and trips to China and Turkey in the new consumer price index (CPI) of Kazakhstan, Liter writes.

According to Smailov, the current consumer basket is made of 508 items, including 167 food items, 252 non-food items and 89 paid services. Each of these categories contains goods and services that have a substantially effect on the composite index of consumer prices because of their large weight. These are mostly the goods that are bought daily or regularly.

The items in the consumer basket with the most influence on inflation are groups like meat and poultry (7.6 percent in CPI), bakery and cereal products (7.1 percent), dairy products (2.9 percent) and fruits and vegetables (4.3 percent). Housing and public utilities is the most significant item among paid services: 13.7 percent.

Adding gold and silver jewelry, fur coats and gyms to the index raise eyebrows of many members of of the Kazakhstan Parliament. But Smailov explained that the consumer basket included only the goods and service that people spent their money on.

“A share of domestic expenses on golden and silver jewelry made 0.19 percent in 2011. And this value does not change with years, which means stability of the consumer’s expenses on such items. Many Kazakhstan families are buying jewelry at least once every 2-3 years for themselves or as a gift to their relatives. Every family has weddings and buys gifts for their parents, for example. Just look, we have gold sold at most of our markets! If it wasn’t in demand, who would be sell it? So we have it in the CPI,” he said adding that the authority is not monitoring fur coats prices anymore.

Inclusion of trips to Turkey and China into the CPI also caused many questions. “I don’t see anything strange about it. But to be honest, I was not aware that gyms and trips to Turkey and China have been added to the CPI by the Prices Statistics Department. They must have included them very recently. The items in the CPI are updated annually after review of consumers’ expenses to flexibly follow the changes in the people’s preferences,” Smailov said.

According to the Agency of Sport and Physical Culture, Kazakhstan has 32 thousand sport facilities, including over 7 thousand gyms. These gyms are regularly attended by 3.39 million people. “Of course, people bear some costs in this relation. That’s why we cannot and should not ignore them. Same as for the trips abroad,” head of Statistics Agency said.

According to the Near-Border Service, over 9 million Kazakhstan citizens traveled outside Kazakhstan in 2012, which is 13 percent more than in 2011. The number of people traveling to Turkey and China made 856.5 thousand people and increased by 19.5 percent compared to 2011. “Thus, these items were added to the CPI. Their share is only 0.08 percent. This complies with the requirements of the international methodology. By the way, Russia’s CPI includes trips to Turkey, Finland, Germany, Spain, China and France,” Smailov said.

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