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Consumer Price Indices for August 2014
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (September 22) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for August 2014. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.9% in August 2014 over the same month a year earlier, slightly smaller than the corresponding increase (4.0%) in July 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 August 2014 was 3.2%, also slightly smaller than that in July (3.3%), mainly due to the enlarged decreases in the charges for package tours.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from June to August 2014 was -0.4%, and the corresponding rate of change for the 3-month period from May to July 2014 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 June to August 2014 was 0.2%, the same as that for the 3-month period from May to July 2014.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.8%, 3.8% and 3.2% respectively in August 2014, which compared to 4.6%, 4.0% and 3.5% respectively in July. 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 3.5%, 3.2% and 2.9% respectively in August 2014, which compared to 3.6%, 3.3% and 2.9% respectively in July.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from June to August 2014, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were -1.6%, 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from May to July 2014 were 0.5%, 0.3% 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 June to August 2014 were 0.2%, 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from May to July 2014 were all 0.2%.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in August 2014 for electricity, gas and water (24.3% in the Composite CPI and 29.7% in the CPI(A), mainly because some households had used up the full amount of Government's one-off electricity charge subsidy); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (7.6% in the Composite CPI and 8.2% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the increase of tobacco duty); housing (4.9% in the Composite CPI and 5.6% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.7% in the Composite CPI and 4.8% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.1% in the Composite CPI and 3.0% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (2.4% in the Composite CPI and 2.6% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.2% in the Composite CPI and 2.9% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous services (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 2.0% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in August 2014 for durable goods (-3.6% in the Composite CPI and -3.8% in the CPI(A)).

     As for clothing and footwear, the Composite CPI rose by 0.5% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 0.6%.

     Taking the first eight months of 2014 together, the Composite CPI rose by 3.9% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.2%, 4.0% and 3.6%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 3.5%, 3.8%, 3.6% and 3.2% respectively in the first eight months of 2014 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended August 2014, the Composite CPI rose by 3.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.4%, 3.8% and 3.4% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.3%, 3.6%, 3.3% and 3.0% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended August 2014, 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 4.3%, 4.1% and 3.8%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.7%, 4.0%, 3.8% and 3.3% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflationary pressures stayed on an easing trend, with the underlying Composite CPI showing a slightly slower year-on-year increase in August, reflecting the receding rental cost pressures and the modest rise in import prices.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the relatively mild imported inflation alongside the generally moderate local price pressures should help keep underlying inflation contained in the rest of the year. Nevertheless, headline inflation will likely pick up temporarily in September 2014 on a year-on-year comparison, as the Government's payment of public housing rentals in September last year created a low base of comparison. 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 August 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 August 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, September 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30

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