Inspired by the Big Mac Index of the Economist magazine and the Khachapuri Index of ISET Policy Institute, the Palaw Index tracks inflation by using the most popular Turkmen dish, palaw. This index does not calculate inflation based on a standard basket of goods, rather on a single meal (palaw) for a family of four (two adults and two children). The index aims to highlight the changes in purchasing power of manat with respect to cooking palaw with its main five ingredients – beef, rice, oil, carrot, and onion. The index includes the price of flour as well, which is used to make bread (çörek) as it is consumed with almost every meal in Turkmenistan.
The Palaw Index is calculated and published once a month. In order to standardize our calculations across time, we will keep using the same brands from the same locations to collect prices for palaw ingredients. We calculate Palaw Index by gathering data in the five largest cities of the five regions of Turkmenistan. The locations include local bazaars and grocery stores. The index includes average prices for all ingredients and an average cost of electricity and/or gas for one hour, which is needed to prepare palaw.
Prices of ingredients in Palaw Index are collected for 1 kg of onion, carrot, beef, rice, and flour, and 1 liter of cooking oil. We started collecting prices from January 2020. In order to cook palaw for a family of four, we will use 0.3 liters of cooking oil, 0.5 kg of onion, 1 kg of carrots, 0.6 kg of beef, 1 kg of rice, and 0.5 kg of flour in our formula. The following brands are included in the basket: “Oleyna” for cooking oil, “Elenga Dashoguz” for rice, “Dashoguz” or “Kazakhstan” flour, beef is not branded, but rather defined as a beef with bones.