Steps of collecting commodities prices data
The price survey conducted by LMRA Policy Development Department takes a select basket of goods that include in their components foreign labour cost; hence their prices are likely to be affected by the labour market policies.
The survey covers 76 basic products selected with various specifications decided by LMRA so that their number totaled 113 products which are likely to be increased in the future and their choice will be on the basis of diversity, desired use and speed of their market trading. This takes place after asking about their basic sources and recording their information for future pricing. These products’ price data are compiled on the basis of the following 5 categories:
- Food and beverages
- Cleaning items
As part of this operation, a surveyor regularly distributes the goods over the days of the last week of each month and the first week only of the new month, which is the familiar shopping period in the Kingdom. Prices of certain goods are monitored during the weekly holiday such as fruit and vegetables and their price is computed once in every month (On the basis of the weekly holiday). Then, a surveyor visits the sources and markets of the selected group of goods and inquires about the basic prices of each. The data are directly entered in the survey form in which prices are shown according to the names of such goods, date of the visit, item, kind and the source name. Of course, the basic and normal prices are the ones being calculated not the special offer prices.
When a surveyor is unable to obtain the data for any of the goods, the data will be considered missing. The missing information is usually divided into three sections, temporarily missing data, seasonally missing data or permanently missing data. Such data are dealt with on the basis of either replacement or elimination. If the data about a certain commodity is permanently missing, the surveyor will have one of two options, either to replace the commodity by another similar one while taking the details of the other commodity in the current and previous months or to delete the commodity from the survey, hence the data processor will do the needful. If the commodity’s data are temporarily missing, they are changed by changing the source by the surveyor and the previous source will be deleted by the data processor. However, if the commodity’s data are seasonally missing, the survey will continue normally with calculation of the data for the last month without making any changes until the commodity becomes available in the market.
Defining the nature of the missing data as to whether they are temporary, seasonal or permanent is usually on the basis of considering the commodity missing on a seasonal basis if it is not available in all the sources. For a number of indicators it may be considered missing temporarily when the commodity appears once again and its loss is not on a temporary and clear basis. Finally, the commodity will be considered temporarily missing when it continued to be unavailable for a very long period of time with no hope of its return to the market.
For the collection of prices, 84 sources or supermarkets are used with a condition of at least 3 sources for each commodity and some of them having 5 sources. Such sources are based upon their popularity and the customers who usually buy from them taking into account the locations of such sources and their presence throughout the Kingdom. Other factors include accessibility to such locations from the surrounding villages, how fast they are influenced by market policies and how remote they are from the authorities’ control. Such sources varied according to their specialties, types and locations.
Last Update: Tuesday 17 July 2007