WPI vs CPI: Definition, Differences, Items, Base Year

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WPI and CPI are measures of changes in price of goods and services in economy. WPI vs CPI: the key difference is that WPI tracks inflation at wholesale market level and CPI tracks inflation at retail level.


Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

WPI is average price changes of goods that are traded in the wholesale market. It is a weekly measure of wholesale price movement of the economy. It includes only the prices of goods and does not include items pertaining to services. In India, WPI is published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry weekly. It has a time lag of two weeks.

Items Included in Wholesale Price Index

There are 697 items are included in the index. These items are further divided into three categories:

  • Primary articles: The Primary articles are food items, non-food items and minerals. There are 117 items for Primary Articles.
  • Fuel and Power: It includes power, light and lubricants, electricity, coal mining and mineral oil. There are 16 items for Fuel & Power.
  • Manufactured Goods: It includes food products, beverages, tobacco and tobacco products, wood and wood products, textiles, paper and paper products, basic metals, alloys, rubber and rubber products etc. There are 564 items for Manufactured Products.

Weights of items in WPI

The weights of items in WPI are:

  • Primary articles: 22.62%
  • Fuel and Power: 13.15%
  • Manufactured Goods: 64.23%

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the changes over time in general level of prices of goods and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption. It tracks inflation at retail level. RBI sets the target of CPI for controlling the inflation in its monetary policy. There are four CPI in India for four different set of workers:

  1. CPI (Industrial Workers)
  2. CPI (Urban Non- Manual Employees)
  3. CPI (Agricultural Labour)
  4. CPI (Rural Worker)

In India, CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined) is published by the Central Statistics Office (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation) and CPI (IW/AL) is published by Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. It is published on monthly basis

Items Included in Consumer Price Index

The items covered in CPI are divided into eight categories viz. Education, communication, transportation, recreation, apparel, foods and beverages, housing and medical care. The number of items in CPI basket include 448 in rural and 460 in urban

Base Year of CPI

The current base year of CPI is 2012.

Difference between WPI and CPI (WPI vs CPI)

The main difference between WPI vs CPI are:

Meaning It tracks price changes as wholesale level It tracks price changes as retail level
Published by Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Central Statistics Office and Labour Bureau
Frequency Weekly basis Monthly basis
Base year 2011-12 2012
Items 697 items 448 items in rural and 460 items in urban
Item Groups Three groups:  Primary articles, Fuel and Power, Manufactured Goods Eight groups: Education, communication, transportation, recreation, apparel, foods and beverages, housing and medical care

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