Craft Beer Makes Inflation Gauge as Tastes Change

New Zealand has added craft beer to the basket of goods it monitors to measure inflation, reflecting changing tastes and consumer spending in the country, Bloomberg reports.

“New Zealand used to be called a country of rugby, racing and beer but spending patterns are changing,” senior manager at Statistics New Zealand Jason Attewell said. “Kiwis are increasingly keen on craft beer, body massages at beauty spas and football club memberships.”

Craft beer has surged in popularity in New Zealand, while high-speed internet has encouraged new web-based services like Netflix at the expense of older technologies. The statistics agency said DVD players and sewing machines were among items removed from the Consumers Price Index (CPI) after its three-yearly review, and Uber rides and Airbnb accommodation were among services added.

Attewell said the agency was “introducing the sharing economy to the CPI to keep it relevant for New Zealand.”

“We added the electric lightbulb to the basket in the 1920s, televisions and record players in the 1960s, microwaves and car stereos in the 1980s, and MP3 players and digital cameras in the 2000s,” he said. “As these items go out of fashion they are removed from the basket.”

As well as components of the basket, Statistics New Zealand reviews the relative contribution of the main categories within the CPI. Food now makes up 19.3 per cent of the gauge, up from 18.8 per cent, due to increased spending at restaurants and rising prices, the agency said.

Original article by Tracy Withers, Bloomberg, January 12, 2017.

Tags: basket of goods  Bloomberg  Consumers Price Index (CPI)  craft beer  inflation  Jason Attewell  Statistics New Zealand  

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