x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE to review shopping and spending habits of thousands

Thousands of households will have their spending tracked from next year as the UAE plans to rejig the basket of goods and services that make up the consumer price index.

The spending habits of thousands of households will be tracked from next year as the UAE reviews the basket of goods and services that make up the consumer price index.

It is designed to reflect changes in spending patterns and in the overall economy after the previous overhaul of the basket in 2008.

"There may be changes to the weighting given to housing and other areas like technology but also differences in the weighting between Emirates so Abu Dhabi compared to Dubai," said Sufyan Barghouti, expert of economic statistics at the National Bureau of Statistics.

At the moment, housing services, made up of rental and utility bills, is the biggest component of the index, accounting for 39 per cent of the basket. But since then property prices slid by more than 50 per cent from market peaks. Utility bills have risen, however.

As overall inflation has dialled down in recent years, consumers have commonly complained that the official rate does not accurately reflect how much they're spending.

Food costs in Abu Dhabi, for example, surged 7.5 per cent last year. But the rise did not make a big dent in headline inflation as food prices only represents 13.9 per cent of the overall UAE basket.

tarnold@thenational.ae

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