Difference between Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index

Difference between Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index

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Chanchal
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Feb 27, 2024 17:31 IST

The main difference between WPI and CPI is that WPI tracks changes in wholesale-level prices of goods, while CPI measures retail-level price fluctuations of goods and services from the consumer’s viewpoint. Let’s understand more differences.

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There are multiple types of baskets of goods used to calculate and track price indexes, depending on the goods and services used. Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) and Wholesale Price Indexes (WPI) are the most common price indexes. WPI and CPI are both measures of inflation economists and policymakers use to monitor economic changes. However, there are differences between Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index. Let’s understand the difference between them.

Table of Content

Comparative Table: Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index

  Wholesale Price Index (WPI) Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Meaning It measures the average change in the price in the sale of goods in bulk quantity by the wholesaler.  CPI measures the change in the price in the sale of goods or services in retail or directly to the consumer. 
Area of Focus It focuses on the goods that are traded only between wholesalers or businesses.  It focuses on the goods that the consumer is purchasing.  
Numbers of Items Covered 697 448 for rural and 460 for urban
Reference Year for Calculation Financial year Calendar year
Releasing Date Every week for primary products, fuel, and power for the rest of the items in publishing monthly. Every month. 
Prices Bear By By manufacturer and wholesaler. By consumer.
Inflation Measurement WPI measures inflation in the first stage.  WPI measures inflation in the last stage.
Price Measurement It is restricted to only goods. It is for both goods and services. 

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What is Wholesale Price Index?

Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the average price level of goods sold in wholesale markets. Economists use these methods as an indicator of inflation in an economy. WPI measures the price changes of goods sold in bulk by manufacturers and wholesalers before they reach retail. It includes prices of commodities such as food, raw materials, and manufactured goods.

The WPI is calculated by taking a weighted average of the prices of a basket of goods, with each item’s weight determined by its share of total wholesale sales.

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What is Consumer Price Index?

The consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average price level of household goods and services. It is one of the most commonly used measures of inflation in an economy. CPI measures changes in the prices of a basket of goods and services that households typically consume, such as food, housing, transportation, and medicine.

The CPI is computed by averaging the prices of goods and services in a basket based on their share of household spending. The CPI is an important indicator of the cost of living for households, as it reflects changes in the prices of goods and services they consume regularly.

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Key Differences: Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index

  • The WPI measures the average price change of goods sold in bulk by producers or wholesalers.
  • In contrast, the CPI measures the average change in household goods and services prices. It includes goods and services purchased by both urban and rural households.
  • WPI includes goods that businesses and consumers purchase but does not include services. The WPI is calculated on the wholesale prices of a basket of goods weighted according to their importance in the economy.
  • CPI does not include those purchased by businesses. We can calculate CPI based on a basket of household goods and services. They are also weighted according to their importance in the economy.
  • We calculate WPI by taking a weighted average of the prices of goods sold in bulk by manufacturers and wholesalers before they reach the retail level.
  • In contrast, CPI takes a weighted average of the price of goods and services typically consumed by households.
  • Another key difference between the two indices is their intended use. Businesses use WPI to calculate their cost of production, and policymakers to monitor inflation at the wholesale level.
  • Policymakers use CPI to monitor consumer inflation and adjust policies accordingly, such as interest rates or social welfare programs.
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Conclusion

WPI and CPI are both inflation measures that track price changes over time. The main difference between the two is the basket of goods they measure. WPI measures the average price level of goods sold in wholesale markets, while CPI measures the average price level of goods and services purchased by households.

Both WPI and CPI are important inflation indicators and can provide valuable information for economic decision-making.

FAQs

What is the Wholesale Price Index (WPI)?

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is a measure of the average change in the prices of goods sold in bulk at the wholesale level in a particular economy. It primarily reflects price movements at the producer or supplier level and is used to track inflation trends in the wholesale sector.

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in the prices of a basket of goods and services commonly consumed by households. It reflects price movements at the retail level and is used to track inflation trends from the consumer's perspective.

What is the main difference between WPI and CPI?

The main difference between WPI and CPI lies in the scope of goods they measure. WPI tracks price changes at the wholesale level, primarily focusing on goods traded between businesses, while CPI measures price changes at the retail level, focusing on goods and services purchased by consumers.

Which index is more relevant for businesses, WPI, or CPI?

WPI is more relevant for businesses as it provides insights into the cost of inputs for production. Businesses can use WPI to adjust pricing strategies, forecast expenses, and manage their supply chain better.

Which index is more relevant for consumers, WPI, or CPI?

CPI is more relevant for consumers as it directly reflects the changes in the prices of goods and services they purchase. It helps consumers understand the impact of inflation on their daily expenses and standard of living.

How are the baskets of goods different in WPI and CPI?

The baskets of goods and services in WPI and CPI are different because they represent distinct economic activities. WPI's basket includes commodities commonly traded between businesses, such as raw materials and intermediate goods. On the other hand, CPI's basket consists of goods and services purchased by households, including food, housing, healthcare, education, and transportation.

About the Author
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Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio