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Consumer Price Indices for September 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (October 22) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for September 2012. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.8% in September 2012 over the same month a year earlier, slightly larger than the corresponding increase (3.7%) in August 2012. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of increase in the Composite CPI (i.e. the underlying inflation rate) in September 2012 was 3.9%, also slightly larger than that in August (3.7%), mainly due to the increases in public housing rentals and the charges for household services.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from July to September 2012 was -0.6%, and that for the 3-month period from June to August 2012 was -0.7%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from July to September 2012 was 0.3%, and that for the 3-month period from June to August 2012 was 0.1%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.3%, 3.9% and 3.3% respectively in September 2012, which compared to 4.1%, 3.8% and 3.2% respectively in August. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.4%, 4.0% and 3.4% respectively in September 2012, which compared to 3.8%, 3.9% and 3.3% respectively in August.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from July to September 2012, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were -1.9%, virtually nil and 0.2% respectively. The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from June to August 2012 were -2.1%, -0.2% and 0.1%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the corresponding average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) for the 3-month period from July to September 2012 were 0.4%, 0.3% and 0.2% respectively, and the corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from June to August 2012 were virtually nil, 0.1% and 0.1% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in September 2012 for housing (5.6% in the Composite CPI and 6.9% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (5.1% in the Composite CPI and 5.3% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (3.7% in the Composite CPI and 3.0% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.4% in the Composite CPI and 3.5% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (3.0% in the Composite CPI and 2.1% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 1.5% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (2.0% in the Composite CPI and 3.7% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (1.2% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (0.7% in the Composite CPI and 0.9% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in September 2012 for durable goods (-1.4% in the Composite CPI and -1.9% in the CPI(A)).

     Taking the first nine months of 2012 together, the Composite CPI rose by 4.2% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.4%, 4.6% and 4.4%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 5.0%, 5.0%, 5.1% and 4.6% respectively in the first nine months of 2012 over a year earlier.

     In the third quarter of 2012, the Composite CPI rose by 3.1% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 1.9%, 3.7% and 3.4% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.0%, 4.2%, 4.1% and 3.5% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended September 2012, the Composite CPI was on average 4.6% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.9%, 4.9% and 4.8%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 5.3%, 5.3%, 5.5% and 5.0% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that underlying inflation increased slightly in September, due mainly to the increases in public housing rentals and charges for household services. The prices of many other major CPI components, including food in particular, actually continued to show slower year-on-year increases.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the austere economic environment and more moderate increases in import prices should help to contain inflation in the rest of the year. Nonetheless, the volatility of food and commodity prices amid abundant global liquidity is an area to watch over. The Government will continue to closely monitor the inflation situation, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for September 2012 are shown in Table 1. The time series on the year-on-year rates of change in the CPIs before and after removing the effects of one-off measures are shown in Table 2. For discerning the latest trend in consumer prices, it is also useful to look at the changes in the seasonally adjusted CPIs. The corresponding time series on the average monthly rates of change during the latest 3 months for the seasonally adjusted CPIs are shown in Table 3. The rates of change in the original and the seasonally adjusted Composite CPI and the underlying inflation rate are presented graphically in Chart 1.

     More detailed CPI data (including year-on-year comparison, month-to-month comparison and seasonally adjusted data series) are available in the monthly reports. Users can download the September 2012 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001).

     For enquiries about the CPIs, please contact the Consumer Price Index Section of the C&SD at telephone no. 2805 6403 or email address [email protected]

Ends/Monday, October 22, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30

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