Reference and spot rates are euro foreign exchange rates observed on major foreign exchange trading venues at a certain point in time. In other words, they are the price of one currency in terms of another currency. The rates are usually updated around 16:00 CET on every working day, except on TARGET closing days. Reference rates are based on a regular daily concertation procedure between central banks across Europe, which normally takes place at 14:15 CET.

The purpose of effective exchange rates (EERs) and harmonised competitiveness indicators (HCIs) is to provide meaningful and comparable measures of euro area countries' price and cost competitiveness, which depend not only on exchange rate movements but also on cost and price trends. EERs are geometrically weighted averages of the bilateral exchange rates of the given currency against the currencies of the euro area’s main trading partners. HCIs are constructed using the same methodology and data sources as the euro EERs.

Deflators for the real EERs and real HCIs are:

  • consumer price indices (CPIs)
  • producer price indices (PPIs)
  • GDP deflators
  • unit labour costs - for real EERs both ULCT (for the total economy) and ULCM (for the manufacturing sector), and only ULCT for real HCIs


The methodology used to compute the trade weights on which the ECB nominal and real effective exchange rates (EERs) are based is similar to that underlying the EERs published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

For further information, refer to the methodological details available on the ECB website:

Euro foreign exchange reference rates

Nominal effective exchange rate

Harmonised competitiveness indicators

Technical notes


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