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Consumer Price Indices for May 2014
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (June 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for May 2014. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.7% in May 2014 over the same month a year earlier, the same as that in April 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 May 2014 was 3.5%, also the same as that in April 2014.

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

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.9%, 3.7% and 3.5% respectively in May 2014, which compared to 3.9%, 3.8% and 3.5% respectively in April. 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%, 3.5% and 3.1% respectively in May 2014, which compared to 3.8%, 3.6% and 3.1% respectively in April.

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

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in May 2014 for alcoholic drinks and tobacco (8.1% in the Composite CPI and 8.5% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the increase of tobacco duty); housing (5.0% in the Composite CPI and 4.8% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.7% in the Composite CPI and 4.8% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (3.4% in the Composite CPI and 3.9% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.4% in the Composite CPI and 3.6% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (3.1% in the Composite CPI and 2.9% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (2.9% in the Composite CPI and 1.4% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous goods (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in May 2014 for durable goods (-2.9% in the Composite CPI and -3.4% in the CPI(A)).

     Taking the first five 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 4.1%, 4.1% and 3.7%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 3.7%, 4.0%, 3.8% and 3.3% respectively in the first five months of 2014 over a year earlier.

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

     For the 12 months ended May 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 3.9%, 4.4%, 3.9% and 3.5% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflation held largely stable in May. The underlying inflation rate in May, at 3.5%, was the same as in April but lower than that of 3.8% in the first quarter, indicating that inflationary pressures were contained.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the upside risks to inflation should remain limited in the near term, given the modest rise in import prices, easing rental pressures and steady wage growth. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely and stay vigilant to their impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for May 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 May 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/Monday, June 23, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30

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