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Consumer Price Indices for November 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (December 20) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for November 2012. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.7% in November 2012 over the same month a year earlier, slightly smaller than the corresponding increase (3.8%) in October 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 November 2012 was 3.8%, same as that in October 2012. The slightly smaller increase in the Composite CPI was mainly due to smaller increases in private housing rentals.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 was 1.3%, and that for the 3-month period from August to October 2012 was 1.2%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 was 0.4%, the same as that for the 3-month period from August to October 2012.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.2%, 3.6% and 3.3% respectively in November 2012, which compared to 4.3%, 3.7% and 3.2% respectively in October. 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 4.2%, 3.7% and 3.4% respectively in November 2012, which compared to 4.3%, 3.8% and 3.3% respectively in October.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from September to November 2012, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.8%, 0.7% and 0.4% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from August to October 2012 were 2.7%, 0.6% and 0.3%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the corresponding average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 were 0.6%, 0.4% and 0.4% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from August to October 2012 were 0.5%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in November 2012 for housing (5.2% in the Composite CPI and 6.3% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.6% in the Composite CPI and 4.7% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (4.6% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.5% in the Composite CPI and 3.6% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (2.8% in the Composite CPI and 1.9% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.2% in the Composite CPI and 1.7% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 3.1% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (2.0% in the Composite CPI and 2.2% in the CPI(A)) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1.1% in the Composite CPI and 1.3% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices were recorded in November 2012 for durable goods (-1.4% in the Composite CPI and -2.1% in the CPI(A)).

     Taking the first eleven months of 2012 together, the Composite CPI rose by 4.1% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.6%, 4.4% and 4.2%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.8%, 4.9%, 4.9% and 4.4% respectively in the first eleven months of 2012 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended November 2012, the Composite CPI rose by 3.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.3%, 3.7% and 3.3% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.8%, 4.3%, 3.8% and 3.4% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended November 2012, the Composite CPI was on average 4.2% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.7%, 4.5% and 4.3%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.9%, 5.0%, 5.0% and 4.6% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that headline inflation receded slightly and underlying inflation held stable in November. While private housing rentals saw a narrower year-on-year increase, the prices of basic foodstuffs picked up somewhat in November.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflation should remain contained in the near term, in view of the muted local economic growth and moderated imported inflation. However, the volatility of international food and commodity prices amid the global liquidity glut, as well as the pick-up in local housing rentals since the early part of 2012, may pose some upside risks to inflation further down the road. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for November 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 November 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/Thursday, December 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30

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