C&SD announces results of the 2009/10 Household Expenditure Survey and the Rebasing of the Consumer Price Indices
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) today (April 28) released the results of the 2009/10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) and introduced the newly based Consumer Price Indices (CPIs).

     Speaking at a press conference today, the Acting Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mrs Lily Ou-yang, said that a Household Expenditure Survey (HES) was conducted once every five years to provide up-to-date information for rebasing the CPIs.  Information on expenditure patterns of households collected in the HES is used together with data on price movements collected through the Monthly Retail Price Survey conducted by the C&SD to compile the monthly CPIs.

     The existing series of the CPIs are compiled based on the expenditure patterns obtained from the HES conducted in 2004/05.  With the results of a new round of HES conducted in 2009/10 available, the CPIs have been rebased with reference to these results.  The expenditure ranges and weighting patterns of the CPIs have also been updated.

     The practice to rebase the CPIs once every five years in Hong Kong has been in place for a long time.  This practice conforms to international standards and practices to ensure that up-to-date expenditure patterns of households are adequately and accurately reflected in the compilation of the CPIs.

     "To maintain comparability of the various CPI series, the rebased series of the CPI(A) continues to relate to about 50% of households, in the relatively low expenditure range.  Their average monthly expenditure during the new base period of October 2009 to September 2010 was between $4,500 and $18,499," Mrs Ou-yang said.

     "The rebased series of CPI(B) relates to about 30% of households, in the medium expenditure range.  These households spent between $18,500 and $32,499 a month in the same base period.

     "As for the rebased CPI(C), it relates to about 10% of households, in the relatively high expenditure range.  Their monthly expenditure in the base period was between $32,500 and $65,999," Mrs Ou-yang added.

     The C&SD compiles different CPI series for reflecting the impact of consumer price changes on households in different expenditure groups.  The CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) are compiled based on the consumption patterns of households in the relatively low, medium and relatively high expenditure ranges respectively.  The Composite CPI is compiled based on the aggregate expenditure pattern of all of the households covered by CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) taken together for reflecting the impact of consumer price changes on the overall household sector.

     The expenditure weights of the CPIs, which represent the shares of different commodities/services in total household expenditure, have been updated as shown in Table 1 at Annex.

     Compared with 2004/05, "Housing" showed the largest change in the expenditure weight of the 2009/10-based CPIs.  "The expenditure weight of 'Housing' increased in all the CPIs by 1.7 to 3.7 percentage points, as mainly attributable to the general rise in rentals for private housing over the past five years," explained Mrs Ou-yang.

     Regarding "Food", the share increased in the Composite CPI, CPI(A) and CPI(C) by 0.5 to 1.6 percentage points.  This was due to the increases in both prices of various basic food items and the costs of meals bought away from home.

     The weight of "Transport" decreased by 0.4 to 0.9 percentage point in all the CPIs.

     For "Clothing and footwear", the weight decreased by 0.2 to 0.8 percentage point in all the CPIs.

     As regards "Miscellaneous services", the weight dropped by 0.2 to 0.8 percentage point in the Composite CPI, CPI(A) and CPI(B), as mainly attributable to the decline in the expenditure share of information and communication services.  On the other hand, an increase of 0.1 percentage point in the weight was recorded in the CPI(C), as due mainly to the increased expenditure share of package tours.

     For "Durable goods", the weight dropped by 0.2 percentage point in the Composite CPI.  The weight showed a decline of 0.3 percentage point in the CPI(A), as mainly attributable to the fall in the expenditure share of information technology and telecommunications equipment.  The weight decreased by 0.6 percentage point in the CPI(C), due mainly to the decline in the expenditure share of visual and audio equipment.

     The weight of "Miscellaneous goods" decreased by 0.4 to 0.8 percentage point in all the CPIs.  The drop was mainly attributable to the lesser expenditure spent on newspapers, given the prevalence of online news and free newspapers.

     The weight of "Electricity, gas and water" decreased by 0.4 to 0.5 percentage point in all the CPIs.

     For "Alcoholic drinks and tobacco", the weight decreased by 0.1 to 0.4 percentage point in all the CPIs.  This was mainly attributable to the decline in the expenditure on cigarettes.

     The latest HES was conducted from October 2009 to September 2010.  About 6 000 households participated in the survey, representing a response rate of 77%.

     "The 2009/10 HES has been conducted smoothly with the support and co-operation of the sampled households.  We are very grateful to them and also to the retail outlets and service providers who provide price data to us continuously.  With their support, the quality of the CPIs can be guaranteed," Mrs Ou-yang said.

     The rebased CPI series and their year-on-year rates of changes for the reference months from October 2010 to March 2011 are presented in Table 2 at Annex.  The newly based CPIs for subsequent months will be published in future press releases and CPI monthly reports.

     Compared with the old (2004/05-based) CPI series, the new (2009/10-based) CPI series generally shows smaller year-on-year rates of increase.  This is because when the prices of various goods and services change, households tend to buy more of the goods and services with relatively smaller price increases (or relatively larger price decreases) to substitute those with larger price increases (or smaller price decreases).

     "While the magnitudes of the year-on-year changes in the 2004/05-based and 2009/10-based CPIs are slightly different, the general increasing trend in the consumer prices from the 4th quarter of 2010 to the 1st quarter of 2011 is observed in all the four new CPI series, as is in the old CPI series," Mrs Ou-yang said.

     Concurrent with the 2009/10-based CPI series, the 2004/05-based CPI series will continue to be compiled and published monthly until the reference month of December 2011.

     A detailed report on "2009/10 Household Expenditure Survey and the Rebasing of the Consumer Price Indices" is now available.  Users can download the report free of charge at C&SD's website (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/prices_household_expenditure/index.jsp).

     The print version of the report is available for sale at $230 per issue.  The publication can be purchased at the Publication Unit of the C&SD (Address: 19/F Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, tel: 2582 3025) or through mail order by returning a completed order form which can be downloaded from the C&SD's website (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/other_services/provision_of_stat/mail_ordering_of_publications/index.jsp).  The print version of the report is also available for sale online at the Government Bookstore of the Information Services Department (www.bookstore.gov.hk).

     Enquiries about more detailed statistics can be directed to the department's Price Analysis and Research Section (tel: 2805 6412 or email: hes@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, April 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:30

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Attachments
Annex