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Consumer Price Indices for September 2014
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (October 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for September 2014. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 6.6% in September 2014 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (3.9%) in August 2014. The larger year-on-year rate of change in the Composite CPI in September was mainly due to the low base of comparison resulted from the Government's payment of public housing rentals in September last year. 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 September 2014 was 3.3%, slightly larger than that in August (3.2%), mainly due to the upward adjustment in public housing rentals.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from July to September 2014 was 0.5%, and the corresponding rate of change for the 3-month period from June to August 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 July to September 2014 was 0.3%, and that for the 3-month period from June to August 2014 was 0.2%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 12.3%, 4.7% and 3.1% respectively in September 2014, which compared to 4.8%, 3.8% and 3.2% respectively in August. 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 4.0%, 3.2% and 2.8% respectively in September 2014, which compared to 3.5%, 3.2% and 2.9% respectively in August.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from July to September 2014, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.9%, 0.5% and 0.3% respectively. The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from June to August 2014 were -1.6%, 0.1% 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 July to September 2014 were 0.5%, 0.3% and 0.2% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from June to August 2014 were 0.2%, 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in September 2014 for electricity, gas and water (25.7% in the Composite CPI and 31.6% in the CPI(A), mainly because some households had used up the full amount of Government's one-off electricity charge subsidy); housing (13.5% in the Composite CPI and 30.9% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the low base of comparison resulted from the Government's payment of public housing rentals in September last year); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (7.7% in the Composite CPI and 8.3% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the increase of tobacco duty); meals bought away from home (4.6% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (2.1% in the Composite CPI and 1.8% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (1.9% in the Composite CPI and 2.0% in the CPI(A)) and transport (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 2.7% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in September 2014 for durable goods (-3.1% in the Composite CPI and -3.3% in the CPI(A)).

     As for clothing and footwear, the Composite CPI rose by 0.1% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 0.4%.

     Taking the first nine months of 2014 together, the Composite CPI rose by 4.2% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.1%, 4.1% 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%, 3.9%, 3.6% and 3.1% respectively in the first nine months of 2014 over a year earlier.

     In the third quarter of 2014, the Composite CPI rose by 4.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 7.2%, 4.1% and 3.3% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.3%, 3.7%, 3.3% and 2.9% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended September 2014, the Composite CPI was on average 4.2% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.9%, 4.1% and 3.7%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.6%, 4.0%, 3.7% and 3.2% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that the spike in headline inflation in September on a year-on-year comparison was due to the temporary low base effect created by the Government's payment of public housing rentals in September last year. Excluding the effect of the Government's one-off relief measures, underlying inflation went up only marginally in September, on account of the upward adjustment in public housing rentals. Prices of basic foodstuffs and private housing rentals actually showed slower increases, while price increases for most other components remained moderate. For the third quarter as a whole, underlying inflation receded further from the second quarter.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflation should remain contained in the near term, given the moderate local cost pressures and modest rise in import prices. 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 September 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 September 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/Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30

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