The EU Agricultural Price Indices (output and input) comprise:
the index of producer prices of agricultural products;
the index of purchase prices of the means of agricultural production.
The purpose of the price indices is to provide information on trends in producer prices of agricultural products and purchase prices of the means of agricultural production. They are intended to permit a comparison of these trends both between the various Member States and the European Union as a whole and between the different products within a Member State or the European Union. They are also intended to facilitate comparisons between trends in producer prices and trends in purchase prices of the means of agricultural production. They cannot, however, express differences between the Member States in terms of absolute agricultural price levels The following points should be borne in mind when interpreting the EU Agricultural Price Indices:
As regards spatial comparisons, the structures of the weights with respect to products and means of production reflect the value of the sales and purchases in each country during the base year. The weights therefore differ from one country to another and this obviously has an effect on trends in the aggregate indices.
In comparing the trends in output prices with those in input prices, the field of observation of the latter does not cover, as will be seen later, the whole of the operating expenditure of the agricultural sector.
The comparison between quarterly price indices can be made only between the corresponding quarters of different years. The reason is the variation of the weights from quarter to quarter for the output products.
In the majority of Member States, national indices of agricultural prices may differ from the EU Agricultural Price Indices in respect of their base, formula or field of observation.