Bananas and petrol: further evidence on the forecasting accuracy of the ABS ‘headline’ and ‘underlying’ rates of inflation Academic Article uri icon


  • In the light of the still topical nature of 'bananas and petrol' being blamed for driving much of the inflationary pressures in Australia in recent times, the 'headline' and 'underlying' rates of inflation are scrutinised in terms of forecasting accuracy. A general structural time-series modelling strategy is applied to estimate models for alternative types of Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures. From this, out-of-sample forecasts are generated from the various models. The underlying forecasts are subsequently adjusted to facilitate comparison. The Ashley, Granger and Schmalensee (1980) test is then performed to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between the root mean square errors of the models. The results lend weight to the recent findings of Song (2005) that forecasting models using underlying rates are not systematically inferior to those based on the headline rate. In fact, strong evidence is found that underlying measures produce superior forecasts. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

publication date

  • September 2010