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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Use of Daily CPI in IAS 29 compliant with IFRS

IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies has been implemented since its authorization in 1989 in terms of the monthly published CPI. This has consistently resulted in IAS 29 not being effective in implementing capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power which is, in fact, the objective of IAS 29. For example: IAS 29 had no positive effect during the 8 years it was implemented in Zimbabwe´s hyperinflationary economy which imploded on 20 November, 2008 despite the full implementation of IAS 29 during the final 8 years of hyperinflation in that country.

Accountants generally realize that it is common sense that IAS 29 had no positive effect in Zimbabwe.

The requirement that financial statements shall be stated at the "measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period" has - until very recently - always been interpreted by users and auditors as meaning that items like, for example, daily sales, daily cost of sales, daily expenses, daily costs, all daily items accounted from day one till the last day of every month have to be measured in units of constant purchasing power in terms of ONE, SINGLE, monthly published Consumer Price Index at the end of the reporting period (end of the month, for example for the preparation of monthly accounts during hyperinflation) while, in fact, the general price level during hyperinflation can change by 10% to 100% to 100 million per cent (see Zimbabwe during 2008) every day of the month.

During low and high inflation and deflation the general price level also changes at least daily as indicated by the official Daily CPI which is based on the official monthly published CPI.

Monthly accounts have in practice thus been prepared (and audited) over the last 25 years by users (and auditors approving those accounts) who implemented IAS 29 during hyperinflation when they used the respective single, monthly published CPI during the financial year when it was a very well known fact - acknowledged by everyone in the hyperinflationary economy - that the general price level changed at least DAILY.  This resulted in ever more meaningless monthly and annual profit or loss results and consequent wrong retained earnings and ever higher erosion of the real value of shareholders' equity (capital) the higher the rate of hyperinflation. It also resulted in the completely unnecessary destruction of tens of billions of US Dollars in real value in shareholders´ equity (see Zimbabwe) and all constant real value non-monetary items, for example, salaries, wages, rents, etc. never updated in terms of every - at least DAILY - change in the general price level during hyperinflation.

It is abundantly clear that IAS 29 does not REQUIRE the use of the monthly published CPI. It simply requires that financial statements "shall be stated in terms of the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period.Users and auditors developed the practice of using the monthly published CPI  over the 25 years since IAS 29 had been required in IFRS during hyperinflation as from April, 1989 because Daily CPIs were only used and are currently only used for the daily pricing (valuation) of government inflation-indexed bonds in many different countries. The use of daily indices from 1960 till the late 1990's in especially South American countries was seen as fundamentally a monetary and not an accounting measure because of the mistaken belief that inflation affects the real value of both monetary and non-monetary items. Inflation only affects the real value of monetary items. It has no effect on the real value of non-monetary items. The implementation of the stable measuring unit assumption affects the real value of constant real value non-monetary items not updated daily in terms of the Daily CPI.

The reason for this practice was and is that users over the last 25 years generally did not and still generally do not understand that ONLY measurement in units of constant purchasing power in terms of ALL - at least DAILY - changes in the general price level is necessary to achieve actual capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power (as was achieved in Brazil in 1994 with the Unidade Real de Valor Daily Index) that is required in IAS 29, but is not achieved as a result of the use of the monthly CPI instead of the DAILY CPI.

The Daily CPI was very successfully used in Brazil from 1964 till 1994 with the application of various government supplied indices during that period and especially with the final very successful Unidade Real de Valor DAILY INDEX that Brazil used together with their Real Plan monetary reform to stop hyperinflation overnight with a totally free accounting cum monetary practice at no cost.

Unfortunately daily indexing was never recognized in the many - mostly Latin American -  countries that widely implemented monetary correction or "correcção monetária" from the 1960's to the 1990's, as the underlying basis of a fundamental accounting model, namely capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power in terms of the Daily CPI. All those countries saw daily indexing as only a monetary measure and never as an accounting model. This accounts for the lack of understanding of capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power in terms of the Daily CPI today.

IAS 29 states the following:

"The financial statements of an entity whose functional currency is the currency of a hyperinflationary economy, whether they are based on a historical cost approach or a current cost approach, shall be stated in terms of the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period."

IAS 29, Par. 8

IAS 29 does not REQUIRE the use of the monthly published CPI.

Using the DAILY CPI would also result in "financial statements stated in terms of the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period."

However, using the DAILY CPI would result in ACTUAL capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power since it is - in general - the ONLY way it can be achieved during inflation and deflation (and especially during hyperinflation) in a non-dollarized economy.

The use of the Daily CPI in IAS 29 is thus compliant with IFRS. The use of the Daily CPI in IAS 29 during hyperinflation would result in stabilizing the non-monetary or real economy during hyperinflation over a short period of time as it was done in Brazil in 1994.

What happened in Brazil in 1994 with respect to the use of the very successful Unidade Real de Valor DAILY INDEX is often ignored. The reason for this is the fact that very few people understand the economy-wide stabilizing effect of implementing capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power - as required in IAS 29 - in terms of the DAILY CPI. IAS 29 is and always has been implemented in terms of the monthly published CPI.

 The IASB has stated in 2013 that IAS 29 gives guidance on the implementation of capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power.

IAS 29 can thus correctly be implemented in terms of the Daily CPI which would result in "financial statements stated in terms of the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period" during hyperinflation since the DAILY CPI on the last day of every month or year would also be "the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period" when the Daily CPI is chosen as the measuring unit during hyperinflation. IAS 29 does not state which measuring unit must be used. The user has full discretion regarding the choice of measuring unit during hyperinflation.

The Daily CPI is a valid measuring unit since it is based on the official CPI. The Daily CPI is used by all (many) governments issuing sovereign inflation-indexed bonds, for example Treasury Inflation-Index Securities (TIPS) in the United States and the CER in Argentina.



Click in sequence: "Estadísticas e Indicadores"
"Monetarias y Financieras"
"Descarga de paquetes estandarizados de series estadísticas":

At the bottom of the page you will see: "Coeficiente de estabilización de referencia (CER), serie diaria", then choose a year and open the excel file.


The very simple formula to calculate the Daily CPI based on the official monthly published CPI is widely available on the internet in the few cases where a government does not issue inflation-indexed bonds. All government inflation-indexed bonds are currently priced DAILY in terms of an already existing official Daily CPI.

Links to some Daily CPIs appear on the right of this blog.

Nicolaas Smith Copyright (c) 2005-2014 Nicolaas J Smith. All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.