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Consumer Price Indices for April 2015
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (May 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for April 2015. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.8% in April 2015 over the same month a year earlier, which was significantly smaller than the corresponding increase (4.5%) in March 2015. It was mainly affected by the Government's relief measure of rates concession for April to September 2015 while there was no such measure in March 2015. 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 April 2015 was 2.4%, smaller than that in March (2.8%), mainly due to the enlarged decreases in the prices of fresh vegetables and the smaller increases in the prices of fresh fruit.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from February to April 2015 was -0.2%, and the corresponding rate of change for the 3-month period from January to March 2015 was 0.2%. 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 February to April 2015 was 0.2%, the same as that for the 3-month period from January to March 2015.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.9%, 2.6% and 1.9% respectively in April 2015, which compared to 6.6%, 4.1% and 2.8% respectively in March. 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 3.0%, 2.3% and 1.7% respectively in April 2015, which compared to 3.6%, 2.6% and 1.9% respectively in March.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from February to April 2015, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were -0.5%, -0.2% and virtually nil respectively. The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from January to March 2015 were 0.2%, 0.1% and 0.1%. 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 February to April 2015 were 0.2%, 0.1% and 0.2% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from January to March 2015 were 0.2%, 0.1% and 0.1% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in April 2015 for electricity, gas and water (21.6% in the Composite CPI and 26.9% in the CPI(A), mainly because some households had used up the full amount of Government's one-off electricity charge subsidy); meals bought away from home (4.3% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); housing (4.2% in the Composite CPI and 5.3% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (1.5% in the Composite CPI and 2.0% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (1.4% in the Composite CPI and 1.6% in the CPI(A)) and food (excluding meals bought away from home) (1.4% in the Composite CPI and 1.0% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in April 2015 for durable goods (-5.3% in the Composite CPI and -5.1% in the CPI(A)) as well as clothing and footwear (-2.0% in the Composite CPI and -0.6% in the CPI(A)).

     As for alcoholic drinks and tobacco, both the Composite CPI and CPI(A) remained at the same level as April last year.

     As for transport, the Composite CPI fell by 0.9% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) rose by 0.2%.

     Taking the first four months of 2015 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 5.8%, 3.6% and 2.4%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 2.6%, 3.4%, 2.4% and 1.8% respectively in the first four months of 2015 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended April 2015, the Composite CPI rose by 4.0% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 5.7%, 3.6% and 2.5% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 2.7%, 3.4%, 2.5% and 1.9% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended April 2015, 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 6.1%, 4.0% and 3.1%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.1%, 3.7%, 3.0% and 2.5% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflationary pressures eased further, with the year-on-year increase in the underlying Composite CPI tapering from 2.8% in March to 2.4% in April, mainly reflecting the smaller price increase of basic foodstuffs.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, given the benign global inflation, lower international energy and food prices as well as modest growth pace of the economy, inflation should remain contained in the near term. 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 April 2015 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 April 2015 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, May 21, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:31

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