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Consumer Price Indices for April 2013
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (May 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for April 2013. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 4.0% in April 2013 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (3.6%) in March 2013. 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 April 2013 was 3.9%, larger than that in March (3.7%), mainly attributable to the increases in the prices of fresh vegetables. The larger magnitude of widening in the year-on-year rate of increase in the Composite CPI (from 3.6% in March to 4.0% in April) as compared with the underlying counterpart (from 3.7% in March to 3.9% in April) was largely due to the lower ceiling of rates concession, from $2,500 per quarter for each rateable property to $1,500 starting from April 2013.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from February to April 2013 was 0.5%, and that for the 3-month period from January to March 2013 was 0.4%. 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 February to April 2013 was 0.5%, and that for the 3-month period from January to March 2013 was 0.4%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.7%, 3.8% and 3.5% respectively in April 2013, which compared to 4.0%, 3.5% and 3.4% respectively in March. 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 4.6%, 3.7% and 3.4% respectively in April 2013, which compared to 4.0%, 3.6% and 3.5% respectively in March.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from February to April 2013, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were all 0.5%. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from January to March 2013 were all 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 February to April 2013 were 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.4% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from January to March 2013 were all 0.4%.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in April 2013 for food (excluding meals bought away from home) (6.6% in the Composite CPI and 7.1% in the CPI(A)); housing (5.9% in the Composite CPI and 6.6% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (4.9% in the Composite CPI and 5.2% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.3% in the Composite CPI and 4.4% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (2.8% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.2% in the Composite CPI and 1.9% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 1.7% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (1.9% in the Composite CPI and 2.8% in the CPI(A)) and clothing and footwear (1.2% in the Composite CPI and 0.8% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices were recorded in April 2013 for durable goods (-5.3% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)).

     Taking the first four months of 2013 together, the Composite CPI rose by 3.8% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.3%, 3.6% and 3.4%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 3.8%, 4.3%, 3.6% and 3.5% respectively in the first four months of 2013 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended April 2013, the Composite CPI rose by 4.0% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.5%, 3.8% and 3.7% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.0%, 4.5%, 3.8% and 3.8% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended April 2013, the Composite CPI was on average 3.6% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.6%, 3.7% and 3.5%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.0%, 4.4%, 4.0% and 3.6% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that the slightly higher underlying consumer price inflation in April was due mainly to the surge in prices of fresh vegetables. The increase in prices for many components in the underlying CPI remained moderate.

     However, looking ahead, the spokesman expected inflation to rise slightly in the coming months as the lagged effects of the rise in private housing rentals during 2012 feed through. Nonetheless, imported inflation stayed tame and the recent softening in housing rentals should help contain the upward pressure on inflation in the latter part of this year. 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 April 2013 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 April 2013 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/Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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