24 October 2014

Inflation — Measuring Price But Not Quantity Or Quality?

Some food stall operators selling fresh fish slices in soup weigh the amount of fresh fish that they serve their customers.

Their objective, I suppose, is to ensure that they are not carelessly or overly generous with the fresh fish — the most expensive ingredient of the meal.

To maintain or improve profitability, these and other food stall operators quietly reduce the amount of the more expensive ingredients, serving less meat, skilfully sliced into ultra fine strips; shrink or put less meat into fishballs or meat-balls; place more ice and less fruit juice into the same cups etc.

When determining inflation of cooked-food dishes, it is obvious that we cannot rely on prices only; quantity and quality matter too.

13 October 2014

Understanding Pollutant Standards Index And Air Quality

Last year, when Singapore suffered its worst haze ever, the National Environment Agency ("NEA") issued 24-hour PSI readings and 24-hour PM2.5 concentration levels every hour.

Since 1 April 2014, NEA has changed the way the 24-hour PSI is computed. In addition, it publishes the 3-hour PSI and 1-hour PM2.5 concentration levels every hour.

How much additional value is there really in these data?