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Consumer Price Indices for December 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for December 2012. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.7% in December 2012 over the same month a year earlier, same as that in November 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 December 2012 was 3.8%, also same as that in November 2012.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from October to December 2012 was 1.2%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 was 1.3%. 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 October to December 2012 was 0.3%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 was 0.4%.

     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 December 2012, which compared to 4.2%, 3.6% and 3.3% respectively in November. 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 4.3%, 3.6% and 3.4% respectively in December 2012, which compared to 4.2%, 3.7% and 3.4% respectively in November.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from October to December 2012, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.7%, 0.6% and 0.3% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 were 2.8%, 0.7% and 0.4%. 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 October to December 2012 were 0.4%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 were 0.6%, 0.4% and 0.4% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in December 2012 for housing (5.1% in the Composite CPI and 6.2% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (4.3% in the Composite CPI and 4.6% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.3% in the Composite CPI and 4.4% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (4.1% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (3.0% in the Composite CPI and 3.4% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (3.0% in the Composite CPI and 2.0% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 1.5% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous goods (1.5% in the Composite CPI and 2.3% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in December 2012 for durable goods (-2.0% in the Composite CPI and -2.6% in the CPI(A)).

     As for alcoholic drinks and tobacco, the Composite CPI remained unchanged over a year earlier but the CPI(A) rose slightly by 0.7%.

     In the fourth quarter of 2012, the Composite CPI rose by 3.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.2%, 3.6% 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 3.5% respectively.

     For 2012 as a whole, the Composite CPI was on average 4.1% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.6%, 4.3% and 4.1%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.7%, 4.8%, 4.8% and 4.3% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that underlying inflation held steady at a year-on-year rate of 3.8% for the third consecutive month in December 2012. For 2012 as a whole, underlying inflation averaged at 4.7%, down from 5.3% in 2011.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflationary pressures are still likely to be largely contained in the near term, given the recent moderate increase in import prices and the subpar performance of the economy. Nevertheless, further down the road, the volatility of international food and commodity prices amid the global liquidity glut, coupled with the pick-up in local housing rentals since the early part of 2012, may pose some upside risks to inflation. 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 December 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 December 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, January 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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