Consumer Price Indices for November 2011
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (December 20) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for November 2011.  According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 5.7% in November 2011 over the same month a year earlier, slightly smaller than the corresponding increase (5.8%) in October 2011.  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 November 2011 was 6.4%, same as that in October.  The slightly lower year-on-year increases in the overall consumer prices in November as compared with that in October was mainly due to the smaller increases in the prices of pork.  

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the three-month period from September to November 2011 was 1.2%, and that for the three-month period from August to October 2011 was 0.5%.  Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the three-month period from September to November 2011 was 0.4%, and that for the three-month period from August to October 2011 was 0.5%.  

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.3%, 6.0% and 5.9% respectively in November 2011, which compared to 5.2%, 6.0% and 6.2% respectively in October.  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 6.3%, 6.5% and 6.2% respectively in November 2011, which compared to 6.2%, 6.5% and 6.5% respectively in October.  

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the three-month period from September to November 2011, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.7%, 0.7% and 0.3% respectively.  The corresponding rates of increase for the three-month period from August to October 2011 were 0.4%, 0.5% and 0.5%.  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 three-month period from September to November 2011 were 0.4%, 0.4% and 0.3% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the three-month period from August to October 2011 were 0.4%, 0.5% and 0.5% respectively.  

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in November 2011 for alcoholic drinks and tobacco (19.8% in the Composite CPI and 22.1% in the CPI(A), mainly due to the increase in tobacco duty by 41.5%); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (11.5% in the Composite CPI and 11.8% in the CPI(A)); housing (8.4% in the Composite CPI and 7.0% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (6.7% in the Composite CPI and 7.4% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (6.3% in the Composite CPI and 6.5% in the CPI(A)); transport (4.4% in the Composite CPI and 3.7% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (3.7% in the Composite CPI and 2.0% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous goods (3.3% in the Composite CPI and 2.2% in the CPI(A)).  

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices were recorded in November 2011 for electricity, gas and water (-16.0% in the Composite CPI and -18.7% in the CPI(A), largely as a result of the Government's electricity charge subsidy) and durable goods (-3.4% in the Composite CPI and -3.6% in the CPI(A)).  

     Taking the first eleven months of 2011 together, the Composite CPI rose by 5.2% over a year earlier.  The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.6%, 5.1% and 5.0%.  Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 5.2%, 5.3%, 5.2% and 5.2% respectively in the first eleven months of 2011 over a year earlier.  

     For the three months ended November 2011, the Composite CPI rose by 5.7% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 5.2%, 6.0% and 6.1% respectively.  The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 6.3%, 6.2%, 6.5% and 6.4% respectively.  

     For the 12 months ended November 2011, the Composite CPI was on average 5.0% higher than in the preceding 12-month period.  The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.4%, 4.9% and 4.9%.  The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 5.0%, 5.1%, 5.0% and 5.0% respectively.  

     The new 2009/10-based CPI series, as was first announced by the C&SD on April 28, 2011, is compiled on the basis of the expenditure patterns obtained from the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) conducted during October 2009 to September 2010.  It replaces the old 2004/05-based series for analysing consumer price changes.  The old series will continue to be compiled in parallel with the new series until the reference month of December 2011.  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.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that underlying inflation held stable at a year-on-year rate of 6.4% for the third consecutive month in November.  The pass-through of the earlier increases in private housing rentals and the still-elevated food prices continued to be the largest contributors to inflation.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, price pressures on both the external and domestic fronts are likely to ease in the coming quarters, alongside the recent retreat of global food and commodity prices and a slower growth of the local economy.  The Government will closely monitor the local inflation situation, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for November 2011 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 three 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 and seasonally adjusted data series) are available in the monthly reports.  Users can download the November 2011 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/prices_household_expenditure/index.jsp).  

     For enquiries about the CPIs, please contact the Consumer Price Index Section of the C&SD at telephone No. 2805 6403 or e-mail address cpi@censtatd.gov.hk.

Ends/Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:34

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