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Consumer Price Indices for January 2016
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (February 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for January 2016. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.7% in January 2016 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (2.5%) in December 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 January 2016 was 2.6%, also larger than that in December 2015 (2.4%), mainly due to the smaller decreases in the charges for package tours and the enlarged increases 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 November 2015 to January 2016 was 0.1%, and that for the 3-month period from October to December 2015 was 0.7%. 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 November 2015 to January 2016 was 0.1%, and that for the 3-month period from October to December 2015 was 0.3%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.9%, 2.6% and 2.4% respectively in January 2016, which compared to 2.7%, 2.5% and 2.1% respectively in December 2015. 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 2.8%, 2.6% and 2.4% respectively in January 2016, which compared to 2.6%, 2.5% and 2.1% respectively in December 2015.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from November 2015 to January 2016, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.2%, 0.1% and 0.1% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from October to December 2015 were 1.0%, 0.6% 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 November 2015 to January 2016 were 0.2%, 0.1% and 0.1% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from October to December 2015 were 0.3%, 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in January 2016 for food (excluding meals bought away from home) (4.8% in the Composite CPI and 5.0% in the CPI(A)), meals bought away from home (4.1% in the Composite CPI and 4.2% in the CPI(A)), housing (3.8% in the Composite CPI and 3.5% in the CPI(A)), miscellaneous services (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 1.5% in the CPI(A)), transport (1.2% in the Composite CPI and 1.9% in the CPI(A)), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (0.7% in the Composite CPI and 0.6% in the CPI(A)) as well as miscellaneous goods (0.4% in the Composite CPI and 1.0% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in January 2016 for durable goods (-5.3% in the Composite CPI and -4.8% in the CPI(A)) as well as clothing and footwear (-2.5% in the Composite CPI and -4.0% in the CPI(A)).

     As for electricity, gas and water, the Composite CPI fell by 0.2% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) rose by 0.5%.

     For the 3 months ended January 2016, the Composite CPI rose by 2.5% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 2.8%, 2.5% and 2.2% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 2.5%, 2.7%, 2.5% and 2.2% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended January 2016, the Composite CPI was on average 2.9% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.7%, 2.8% and 2.1%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 2.5%, 3.0%, 2.5% and 2.0% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflation stayed moderate in January 2016. The slight uptick in the year-on-year rate of CPI inflation was due partly to faster increases in food prices amid exceptionally cold weather during the month, and partly due to the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 8 this year, but on February 19 last year. Indeed, the price pressures of many major CPI components remained benign.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the upside risks to inflation should remain limited in the near term, given the muted global inflation and soft international commodity prices, while local cost increases will likely be restrained by the subpar economic conditions and the retreat in rental cost pressures. 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 January 2016 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 January 2016 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.

     The current CPI series are compiled based on the expenditure patterns obtained from the 2009/10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES). The 2014/15 HES is being conducted to collect information for updating the expenditure weights of the CPI series and the new 2014/15-based CPI series will be available around April/May 2016. As a result of the rebasing exercise, the year-on-year changes of the new 2014/15-based CPI series will be compiled from October 2015 onwards. The year-on-year changes compiled from the new 2014/15-based CPI series may be different from those compiled from the current 2009/10-based CPI series. To facilitate data users, the 2009/10-based CPI series will continue to be compiled and published until the reference month of December 2016.

     For enquiries about the CPIs, please contact the Consumer Price Index Section of the C&SD at telephone no. 3903 7374 or email address [email protected]

Ends/Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:32

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