Friday, July 24, 2015

Japan reorganises its CPI basket to reflect its ageing population

 A fascinating article in today’s FT explains how Japan is changing the 585 products of the theoretical shopping basket that is used to calculate the consume price index. Have a go at reading the article but I think you will find it is behind a paywall.

What you see is the influence of the county’s changing demographics.

Children’s meals at restaurants have been solid constituents of the Japanese CPI basket for the past 35 years – they have been removed.   Cat litter and “dog toilet items”, meanwhile, are now classified as day-to-day necessities in a land where domestic pets outnumber children under 15.

The new items that will enter in the index from July 2016 include hearing aids, power-assisted bicycles and knee-supports.

Roadside car breakdown services enters the basket as older drivers cannot change their tires and young ones don’t know how.

Tennis court rental fees are out, pot plants are in.   Other products that enter the basket are ‘painting the exterior wall of the house’ – I guess because older people can’t or don’t want to do it.

What a fascinating practical example of what happens when a population ages at a hyper-rate. Dick Stroud

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