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Consumer Price Indices for October 2014
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (November 20) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for October 2014. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 5.2% in October 2014 over the same month a year earlier, smaller than the corresponding increase (6.6%) in September 2014. The larger increase in September 2014 was attributable to the low base of comparison arising from the Government's payment of public housing rentals in September 2013, and such effect did not come into play in October 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 October 2014 was 3.4%, slightly larger than that in September (3.3%), mainly due to the smaller 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 August to October 2014 was 0.7%, and that for the 3-month period from July to September 2014 was 0.5%. 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 August to October 2014 was 0.3%, the same as that for the 3-month period from July to September 2014.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 7.1%, 4.7% and 3.6% respectively in October 2014, which compared to 12.3%, 4.7% and 3.1% respectively in September. 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 4.1%, 3.2% and 2.7% respectively in October 2014, which compared to 4.0%, 3.2% and 2.8% respectively in September.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from August to October 2014, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.1%, 0.6% and 0.4% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from July to September 2014 were 0.9%, 0.5% 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 August to October 2014 were 0.5%, 0.3% and 0.2% respectively, same as those rates of increase for the 3-month period from July to September 2014.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in October 2014 for electricity, gas and water (26.1% in the Composite CPI and 31.4% in the CPI(A), mainly because some households had used up the full amount of Government's one-off electricity charge subsidy); housing (8.5% in the Composite CPI and 11.9% in the CPI(A), due mainly to dissipation of effect of rates concession in October); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (7.5% in the Composite CPI and 8.2% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the increase of tobacco duty); meals bought away from home (4.6% in the Composite CPI and 4.7% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.6% in the Composite CPI and 3.5% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (2.1% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); transport (1.9% in the Composite CPI and 2.9% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous goods (1.9% in the Composite CPI and 2.0% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices were recorded in October 2014 for durable goods (-3.6% in the Composite CPI and -3.9% in the CPI(A)) and clothing and footwear (-0.6% in the Composite CPI and -1.0% in the CPI(A)).

     Taking the first ten months of 2014 together, the Composite CPI rose by 4.3% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.3%, 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%, 3.5% and 3.1% respectively in the first ten months of 2014 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended October 2014, the Composite CPI rose by 5.2% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 8.1%, 4.4% and 3.3% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.3%, 3.9%, 3.2% and 2.8% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended October 2014, the Composite CPI was on average 4.3% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.1%, 4.2% and 3.6%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.6%, 4.0%, 3.6% and 3.2% respectively.

Commentary

     A government spokesman said that underlying inflation held largely stable in recent period, having eased successively since late 2013. The headline inflation rate was higher than the underlying rate in October, because the Government's rates concession ended in October and some households had used up the full amount of the Government's one-off electricity charge subsidy.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, upside inflation risks should remain contained in the near term, given the benign global inflation and moderate local cost pressures. 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 October 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 October 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, November 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:31

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