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Consumer Price Indices for December 2016
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for December 2016. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 1.2% in December 2016 over the same month a year earlier, remaining virtually unchanged as compared to November 2016. 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 2016 was 2.0%, slightly smaller than that in November (2.1%), mainly due to the smaller 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 October to December 2016 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2016 was 0.3%. 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 2016 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2016 was 0.3%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.1%, 1.2% and 1.3% respectively in December 2016, which compared to 1.2%, 1.2% and 1.3% 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 2.6%, 1.9% and 1.6% respectively in December 2016, which compared to 2.7%, 1.9% and 1.7% respectively in November.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from October to December 2016, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were all 0.2%. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2016 were 0.5%, 0.3% 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 October to December 2016 were all 0.2%, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2016 were 0.5%, 0.2% and 0.2% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in December 2016 for meals bought away from home (3.2% in the Composite CPI and 3.4% in the CPI(A)), food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.0% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)), miscellaneous goods (2.3% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.2% in the Composite CPI and 3.1% in the CPI(A)), miscellaneous services (2.0% in the Composite CPI and 2.2% in the CPI(A)) and transport (2.0% in the Composite CPI and 1.5% in the CPI(A)).
 
     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in December 2016 for durable goods (-5.2% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (-3.6% in the Composite CPI and -3.7% in the CPI(A)) as well as electricity, gas and water (-0.3% in the Composite CPI and -0.2% in the CPI(A)).

     As for housing, the Composite CPI rose by 0.3% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 0.6%.

     In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Composite CPI rose by 1.2% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 1.1%, 1.2% and 1.3% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 2.1%, 2.7%, 1.9% and 1.6% respectively.

     For 2016 as a whole, the Composite CPI was on average 2.4% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.8%, 2.3% and 2.1%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 2.3%, 2.6%, 2.2% and 2.0% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflation pressure held moderate in December 2016. For 2016 as a whole, underlying inflation averaged 2.3%, down slightly from 2.5% in 2015, representing the fifth consecutive year of easing in inflation.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflation risks should remain contained in the near term, given the soft import prices and tame local 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 December 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 December 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) and 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 new 2014/15-based CPI series, as first announced by the C&SD on April 29, 2016, is compiled on the basis of the expenditure patterns obtained from the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) conducted during October 2014 to September 2015. It replaces the old 2009/10-based series for analysing consumer price changes. After the reference month of December 2016 (i.e. the current month), the old 2009/10-based CPI series will cease to be compiled. It is an established practice in Hong Kong for the HES to be conducted and for the CPI series to be rebased once every five years. Both the old and the new series of CPIs have been exhibiting a similar trend in recent months.

     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/Monday, January 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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