Netherlands changes inflation methodology to better reflect energy prices

AMSTERDAM, March 2 (Reuters) - The Netherlands will change the way it measures energy prices paid by consumers in order to improve estimates of inflation in the euro zone's fifth-largest economy, its statistics agency (CBS) said on Thursday.

The agency said in November it was looking at a problem with its energy price measurements, which it said had caused the country - and possibly others in Europe - to overstate inflation.

CBS currently uses only newly signed contracts to determine gas and electricity costs in the basket of goods and services purchased by a typical Dutch household, but many households have older contracts struck at a lower price.

The agency said that from the first inflation estimate for June, to be published on June 30, it would start using transaction data from energy suppliers to determine the real costs for consumers.

It said its research showed that inflation would have been lower than reported between mid-2021 and the end of last year, while the current methodology leads to an underestimation now that energy prices have started to fall.

Based on its current estimates inflation peaked at 14.5% in September last year, which would have been between 7.6 and 8.1% based on the new method, CBS said.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Jan Harvey

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