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Consumer Price Indices for December 2014
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 22) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for December 2014. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 4.9% in December 2014 over the same month a year earlier, smaller than the corresponding increase (5.1%) in November 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 December 2014 was 3.1%, also smaller than that in November (3.3%), mainly due to the smaller increases in the costs for meals bought away from home. Also relevant were the enlarged decreases in the prices of motor fuel and 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 October to December 2014 was 0.5%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2014 was 1.6%. 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 October to December 2014 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2014 was 0.4%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 6.9%, 4.4% and 3.2% respectively in December 2014, which compared to 7.2%, 4.6% and 3.4% respectively in November. 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 3.9%, 2.9% and 2.4% respectively in December 2014, which compared to 4.1%, 3.1% and 2.6% respectively in November.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from October to December 2014, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.8%, 0.5% and 0.3% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2014 were 3.4%, 0.9% and 0.4%. 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 October to December 2014 were 0.2%, 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2014 were 0.6%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in December 2014 for electricity, gas and water (24.9% in the Composite CPI and 30.3% 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 11.8% in the CPI(A), due mainly to dissipation of effect of rates concession since October); 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); meals bought away from home (4.4% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.1% in the Composite CPI and 3.2% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (2.5% in the Composite CPI and 2.6% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (1.3% in the Composite CPI and 1.5% in the CPI(A)) and transport (1.1% in the Composite CPI and 2.8% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices were recorded in December 2014 for durable goods (-4.9% in the Composite CPI and -5.0% in the CPI(A)) and clothing and footwear (-2.7% in the Composite CPI and -2.1% in the CPI(A)).

     In the fourth quarter of 2014, the Composite CPI rose by 5.1% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 7.0%, 4.6% and 3.4% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.3%, 4.0%, 3.1% and 2.6% respectively.

     For 2014 as a whole, the Composite CPI was 4.4% higher than in 2013. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.6%, 4.2% and 3.5%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.5%, 3.9%, 3.5% and 3.0% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflation eased further in December, mainly reflecting the benign global inflation, with slower year-on-year increases in food prices and enlarged declines in the prices of clothing and footwear, durable goods as well as motor fuel. For 2014 as a whole, underlying inflation averaged 3.5%, down from 4.0% in 2013.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, upside risks to inflation should be limited in the near term, as the softening trend in global food and commodity prices should keep external price pressures in check. Moreover, local cost pressures will likely stay moderate. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for December 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 December 2014 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001), the time series of CPIs at detailed level (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600001) as well as the time series of CPIs at COICOP division level (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600002) 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, January 22, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:30

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