News Releases

Retail Price Index (RPI): March 2024
NR 072/2024
Release Date: 23 April 2024
In March 2024, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the RPI was 1.9 per cent, down from 2.3 per cent in February 2024.


Price changes and effects on inflation

The highest annual inflation rates in March 2024 were registered in Other goods and services (5.6 per cent) and Food (5.1 per cent). On the other hand, the lowest annual inflation rates were registered in Transport and communication (-2.6 per cent) and Clothing and footwear (-2.3 per cent) (Tables 1 and 4).

Chart 1. Inflation rates

No Data Found

Chart 2. Annual inflation rates by the 10 groups

March 2024

No Data Found


  1. The Food Index includes restaurant services and take-aways.
  2. A detailed timeseries of these figures is available in Table 4.

In March 2024, the largest upward contribution on annual inflation was registered in the Food Index (+1.10 percentage points), largely due to higher prices of take-aways. The second and third largest contributions were measured in the Other goods and services Index (+0.41 percentage points) and the Personal care and health Index (+0.33 percentage points), mainly on account of higher prices of cleaning products and articles of personal hygiene, respectively.

The downward contributions on annual inflation were registered in the Transport and communication Index (-0.58 percentage points) and the Clothing and footwear Index (-0.15 percentage points), mainly reflecting lower prices of mobile phone services and garments, respectively (Chart 3, Table 5).

Chart 3. Contributions to the overall annual inflation rate by the 10 groups

March 2024

No Data Found


  1. The Food Index includes restaurant services and take-aways.
  2. A percentage point is the arithmetical difference between two percentages.
  3. A detailed timeseries of these figures is available in Table 5.


In March 2024, the Other goods and services Index registered the highest annual inflation rate at 5.6 per cent, of which Jewellery, watches and other articles registered an annual rate of 4.6 per cent, Non-durable household goods registered an annual rate of 10.8 per cent, Veterinary services (including pet food) and domestic services registered an annual rate of 1.2 per cent and Insurances, financial services and other services registered an annual rate of 5.3 per cent.

The Transport and communication Index registered the lowest annual inflation rate of -2.6 per cent, of which Transport registered an annual rate of -1.6 per cent and Communication registered an annual rate of -6.2 per cent (Tables 1 and 3).


Methodological Notes

1. Overview

The RPI measures monthly price changes in the cost of purchasing a representative basket of consumer goods and services. A closely related measure of price movements is the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). A description of differences between the HICP and the RPI can be found in methodological note 4 of this news release.

Each monthly RPI news release includes three different measures of inflation:

i. The annual inflation rate measures average price changes between the reference month and the same month of the previous year. Although responsive to recent changes in price levels, this measure can be influenced by one-off effects in either month.
ii. The monthly inflation rate compares price changes between the reference month and the previous month. This measure can be highly influenced by seasonal effects.
iii. The 12-month moving average rate overcomes the volatility of the above two rates by comparing the average of the latest 12 indices to the average of the previous 12 indices. This measure is less sensitive to temporary changes in prices.

2. Terminology

i. There are ten main groups in the RPI covering consumption. These are described below in methodological note 4 (iii).
ii. ‘Contribution’ in the context of the RPI means the impact on the annual inflation rate made by each group making up the Index.
iii. ‘Weights’ are estimates of the share of importance held by particular groups of products and services in the overall consumption.

3. Accessing data       

NSO news releases and further information on HICP and RPI may be accessed from here.

Eurostat news releases on HICP may be accessed from Eurostat’s website.

4. Differences between RPI and HICP

Both indices are compiled using a large and representative selection of more than 500 different goods and services, for which price movements are regularly monitored. More than 19,000 separate price quotations are used each month to compile the index.

The methodology underlying RPI and HICP is similar, yet they differ by the following:

i. The RPI captures private households only, whereas the HICP covers private households, institutional households (such as retirement homes) and foreign visitors to Malta.

ii. The two indices have different base years. The RPI is a fixed-base index, whose weights are updated periodically using relevant sources. Being a fixed-based index, its weights are reviewed every time the base year is changed. 

The HICP is a chain-linked index, a statistical technique for linking two indices by relating the values of one index to the value of the other index in the previous period. This makes possible the introduction of newly significant goods and services into the HICP on an annual basis.

iii. The coverage of the HICP is based on an international classification system, ECOICOP (European Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose), whereas the RPI has a different set of codes for each group of items, as listed in the table below.

ECOICOP division Weight
(out of 1000)
RPI group Weight
(out of 100)
1 Food and non-alcoholic beverages 180.18 1 Food (including restaurant services and take-aways) 21.49
2 Alcoholic beverages and tobacco 35.25 2 Beverages and tobacco 5.56
3 Clothing and footwear 41.38 3 Clothing and footwear 6.62
4 Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 101.77 4 Housing 7.90
5 Furniture, household equipment and routine household maintenance 83.88 5 Water, electricity, gas and fuels 3.31
6 Health 46.88 6 Furnishing and household equipment 6.97
7 Transport 123.69 7 Transport and communication 22.10
8 Communication 38.56 8 Personal care and health 8.81
9 Recreation and culture 83.95 9 Recreation and culture (including education) 9.90
10 Education 27.32 10 Other goods and services 7.34
11 Restaurants and hotels 158.11
12 Miscellaneous goods and services 79.03
Total 1000.00 Total 100.00

Apart from the disparities identified above, both the RPI and the HICP:

i. have the same geographic coverage, implying that both indices refer to the whole country;
ii. utilise the same price collection methodologies; and,
iii. utilise the same outlet sample (with some exceptions).

5. Explaining divergences between RPI and HICP inflation

The HICP and RPI price indices bear several similarities and often produce similar inflation estimates. However, in some cases, inherent methodological differences between the two indices, particularly differences in the consumption basket and in the weights given to these products, cause the inflation rates reported by these two measures to diverge.

6. Further information

Price quotations for the new items introduced in the latest RPI index series started being collected in December 2016. 

From January 2017, the RPI started being published with December 2016 as its base. All RPI indices pertaining to the years prior to 2017 were re-based to December 2016=100. This latest index series may be linked to the previous one by using a linking coefficient of 1.1199.  

The basket of consumption items considered for the RPI is reviewed periodically, in line with the HBS, during which, information about household consumption is collected over a 12-month period, in order to obtain an estimate of the average household expenditure. New products are included in the basket of items when achieving a sales volume of over one part per thousand of total consumer expenditure covered by the RPI. The information collected through the HBS exercise is then further supplemented by additional data sources to obtain the final RPI weights.                                    

The HICP is published with 2015 as its base year. The previous series with reference 2005=100 has been discontinued. Commission Regulation (EU) No 2015/2010 provides the legal basis for updating the HICP reference year from 2005=100 to 2015=100. It should be noted that the re-basing operation was conducted after rounding all past indices to one decimal place. Therefore, there might be slight differences when comparing this series with past data due to rounding. 

The HICP largely follows National Accounts (NA) concepts of what constitutes household consumption in determining the index scope, and mainly uses NA data to weight the items in the basket.

The HICP weighting scheme is annually updated in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 1114/2010. The treatment of seasonal items is in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 330/2009.

Figures in Table 3 may not add up mainly due to additivity and the change in weights and basket of items in January 2017. 

Users are advised to consult the NSO before comparing the results of the RPI and the HICP.

More information on the metadata behind HICP and RPI news releases may be accessed from:                     

Sources and methods
Statistical concepts 
Metadata (RPI)
ECOICOP division classification 
RPI and HICP manual 
NSO statistical database  
ECB digital publication on inflation

7. Reassessments / revisions                                  

Note that the RPI series is published with reference base December 2016, whereas the HICP series is published with base year 2015, in line with Eurostat base year revisions.   

8. Time series

Data from 1946 onwards is accessible through the following link in the selected indicators section (Index of Inflation).

9. A detailed news release calendar is available online.

10. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately. For guidance on access and re-use of data please visit our dedicated webpage.

11. For further assistance send your request through our online request form.

Retail Price Index (RPI): March 2024
NR 072/2024
Release Date: 23 April 2024
  • In March 2024, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the RPI was 1.9 per cent, down from 2.3 per cent in February 2024.
  • The 12-month moving average rate for March stood at 4.0 per cent.
  • The largest contribution to the annual inflation was measured in the Food Index (+1.10 percentage points), while the largest downward contribution was recorded in the Transport and Communication Index (-0.58 percentage points).
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