Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI)
Detailed information for August 2023
The Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI) measures price changes for raw materials purchased for further processing by manufacturers operating in Canada.
Data release - September 18, 2023
The Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI) measures price changes for raw materials purchased for further processing by manufacturers operating in Canada. As a purchasers' price index, prices include all charges purchasers incur to bring a commodity to the establishment gate. They include transportation charges, net taxes paid, custom duties, as well as subsidies, if applicable.
In 1978 Statistics Canada terminated the General Wholesale Price Index (GWI), which had been produced since 1926. This index, as a whole, had become obsolete as it was no longer showing a clear wholesale level of distribution in the economy. The Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) covered prices of manufactured goods, but there were now no indexes covering unprocessed materials (other than agricultural products). It became apparent at this time that some new indexes were needed. In addition, there was a growing interest in energy prices, which had previously not been included in the GWI. Therefore, series at aggregate levels were developed to ensure continuity with those in the GWI and the Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI) was introduced, effective January 1981.
The RMPI is produced and published together with the IPPI as it meets many of the same interest and needs. The index provides the movement in prices for a group of major input products into goods produced in Canada. It helps cover the spectrum of price changes in the Canadian economy, and is valuable directly and in relation to the price movements of products derived in part from these materials. In addition, the RMPI series supports the Canadian System of Macro-Economic Accounts (CSMA), where it is used in the calculation of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Together, these indicators serve as an important indicator of the health of the economy.
As well, like the IPPI series, the RMPI series is of value in analytical studies of price formation and behaviour. It is frequently used in the process of contract escalation, and often serves as a representative input into other price index series.
Reference period: The time period for which the RMPI equals 100; currently this is January 2020.
Collection period: For most products included in the RMPI, the collection process occurs over a three-week period starting during the third week of the reference month.
- Industrial product price indexes
- Prices and price indexes
Data sources and methodology
The target population of the RMPI consists of those manufacturing establishments residing and producing in Canada.
The geographical universe for the RMPI is all of Canada, while the commodity universe is all industrial goods manufactured in Canada and the industry universe corresponds to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Finally, the price universe is the purchasers' price, that is, the price including all charges purchasers incur to bring a commodity to the establishment gate. Transportation charges, net taxes paid, and custom duties, as well as subsidies, if any are paid to the purchaser are included.
Administrative data is mostly used for raw material price data. Electronic questionnaires are used to collect raw material data and contain technical descriptions or specifications for selected raw materials, originally supplied by the respondent (e.g. Gravel 3/8 inch, round and crushed). In addition to the raw material description, the electronic questionnaire outlines the terms of purchase for which the price applies (e.g. price per ton to manufacturers in lots of 600 tons, f.o.b. by truckloads).
This is a sample survey.
Responding to this survey is mandatory.
Data are collected directly from survey respondents, extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.
The prices of most commodities surveyed for the RMPI are collected monthly, usually over a three-week period. The price information collected relates to the month in question.
In the RMPI, approximately 18% of the data are collected by direct survey, 79% of the data from administrative sources and the remaining 3% from proxy imputation, usually from a similar commodity at the next stage of processing.
Prices for each of the raw materials selected are collected from the respondent based on the raw materials that they purchase, and the different terms of sale under which they purchase them. A detailed description of the raw material purchased and the terms of purchase that apply may also be specified for each price quotation. In most cases, the specific quotation chosen pertains to the purchase of a raw material to a major type of customer.
The importance of obtaining prices for actual transactions is stressed. In the subsequent validation of the regularly supplied price quotations, one of the most important concerns is that the prices quoted are what actually prevail in the market.
Once there is agreement on the price information to be supplied, the price quotations are collected by means of an electronic questionnaire (EQ). This is sent to each respondent who reports the price in effect for the reference month.
In cases where no prices are collected due to an insignificant level of use in Canada or a lack of respondent co-operation, proxy series are constructed. Proxy series may consist of one or several other reported series combined together or use similar representative price indexes from another program or statistical agency.
Business Collection Portal (BCP)
Business Register System (BRS)
Electronic Questionnaire(EQ) v3.2
PPD - Generic Processing System
Cygnus Estimation System
View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .
In the day-to-day collection and processing of these indexes, emphasis is placed on the examination and evaluation of prices. Commodity specialists and industry analysts watch closely developments in the markets. They review the behaviour of the reported price changes, both to validate them directly and to ensure they are representative of the raw material movement as a whole. Outliers and incorrect or suspicious prices are identified during the initial data processing and then, if necessary, follow-ups are carried out with the respondents to ensure the appropriate information has been obtained.
Despite existing rigorous collection processes, there are sometimes missing prices that need to be imputed.
For example, for a given month, prices may be missing because a data provider failed to report on time or because it was impossible to supply them (e.g., if a commodity is out of season). In these cases, parental imputation is utilized and the price movement is imputed by a weighted average of existing survey data from the respondents that did provide prices.
Occasionally, manual imputations are made by commodity specialists for handling quality changes and product replacements. In those cases, the commodity specialist will often seek out additional information and make an evaluation of the change in conjunction with the respondent. However, as the materials priced in the RMPI are raw materials, the specifications do not change often.
Additionally, price indexes remain subject to revision for six months after publication of a given month's data. This is to accommodate late reports, corrections and some price quotations that are supplied quarterly or semi-annually.
The composite indexes are weighted averages of the elemental indexes.
For the RMPI, commodity weights are derived from a combination of the 2016 Supply and Use Tables that closely reflect actual economic transactions by industry and the costs of purchases of raw materials by companies as reported for the 2016 ASML.
This survey collects values of the purchasers' prices of commodities purchased as intermediate inputs. Within individual commodity indexes, the prices are equally weighted unless there is good data from which to weight individual products. Product weights within a commodity index can be changed periodically in order to reflect important changes in production patterns. The entire weighting scheme for the RMPI is generally revised every 5 years.
The current weight base is 2016.
Price indexes for about 90 individual raw materials are aggregated into six major groups and a total is produced and classified according to NAPCS 2017v2.
The current time base is January 2020=100.
The quality of this index is maintained through the expertise of the commodity specialists and analysts who develop a thorough knowledge of the domain, including ongoing market intelligence which is supplemented by outside contacts for particular industries. Much time and effort is devoted to detecting and following up unusual fluctuations over time in the pricing patterns of commodities. Prior to dissemination, the price indexes are analyzed and historic trends reviewed.
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
Collected data are converted to price indexes and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of raw prices.
Revisions and seasonal adjustment
With each release, data for the previous six months may have been revised. The indexes are not seasonally adjusted. Exceptions to this rule are announced.
The RMPI attempts to express, in a single number, price changes that involve a range of raw materials. There is no obvious, let alone absolute, way of perceiving what a composite price movement really is. For the RMPI, the fixed quantities of the commodities are proportional to the purchases made by manufacturing establishments in Canada in the basket reference period, which is, 2016. Consequently, considerations about the quality of the RMPI relate to these concepts of composite price movements.
The statistical accuracy of this index depends on price and shipment value data. Price data are obtained from a sample survey and administrative sources. Shipment value data mainly rests on other sample surveys, such as the ASML.
In addition to sampling errors, raw material price indexes are also subject to errors in price collection and editing. This is particularly true when quality change occurs in the sample with regard to the estimation of pure price change. However, for raw materials priced, the specifications do not change often. Consequently, adjusting for changes in the quality of the product is not an important concern in this index.
Though the RMPI uses a sample survey methodology to obtain the necessary information, confidence intervals are not currently estimated, due to the longitudinal nature of price index series. Indexes for higher and lower levels of aggregation are considered to be statistically reliable.