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Consumer Price Indices for April 2014
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (May 22) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for April 2014. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.7% in April 2014 over the same month a year earlier, smaller than the corresponding increase (3.9%) in March 2014. 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 2014 was 3.5%, slightly smaller than that in March (3.6%), mainly due to the decreases in the prices of fresh vegetables.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from February to April 2014 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from January to March 2014 was 0.3%. 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 February to April 2014 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from January to March 2014 was 0.3%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.9%, 3.8% and 3.5% respectively in April 2014, which compared to 4.3%, 3.9% and 3.5% 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 3.8%, 3.6% and 3.1% respectively in April 2014, which compared to 4.1%, 3.6% and 3.0% respectively in March.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from February to April 2014, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.3%, 0.2% and 0.2% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from January to March 2014 were 0.3%, 0.3% and 0.2%. 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 2014 were 0.4%, 0.2% and 0.2% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from January to March 2014 were 0.3%, 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in April 2014 for alcoholic drinks and tobacco (7.1% in the Composite CPI and 7.9% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the increase of tobacco duty); housing (5.1% in the Composite CPI and 4.9% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.7% in the Composite CPI and 4.9% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (4.4% in the Composite CPI and 4.8% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (3.7% in the Composite CPI and 3.5% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (2.4% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (2.3% in the Composite CPI and 3.2% in the CPI(A)); transport (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)) and clothing and footwear (1.7% in the Composite CPI and 0.7% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in April 2014 for durable goods (-2.5% in the Composite CPI and -3.0% in the CPI(A)).

     Taking the first four months of 2014 together, the Composite CPI rose by 4.0% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.2%, 4.2% and 3.8%. 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%, 4.1%, 3.9% and 3.3% respectively in the first four months of 2014 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended April 2014, the Composite CPI rose by 3.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.1%, 3.9% and 3.5% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.6%, 4.0%, 3.7% and 3.1% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended April 2014, the Composite CPI was on average 4.4% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.0%, 4.3% and 3.9%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.0%, 4.4%, 3.9% and 3.5% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that the underlying inflation rate on a year-on-year basis was 3.5% in April, moderating further from 3.6% in March and 4.0% in January-February combined. The latest figures pointed to continued easing in inflationary pressures, as the slower private rental increase continued to feed through while external price pressures stayed tame. The temporary decreases in the prices of fresh vegetables against a high base of comparison in the same month last year was an additional contributing factor relevant in April, which outweighed the boosting effect on prices due to the difference in the timing of Easter holidays in 2013 and 2014.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the upside risks to inflation should remain limited in the coming months, with rentals easing on a broad front, wage rise staying steady, and imported inflation being modest. 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 2014 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, seasonally adjusted data series and the CPIs by the Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP)) are available in the monthly reports. Users can download the April 2014 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001) as well as the time series of CPIs at detailed level (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600001) free of charge at the website of the C&SD.

     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, May 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30

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