Consumer Price Indices for September 2013
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (October 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for September 2013. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 4.6% in September 2013 over the same month a year earlier, slightly larger than the corresponding increase (4.5%) in August 2013, mainly due to the enlarged increases in the prices of fresh vegetables. 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 September 2013 was 4.2%, slightly smaller than that in August (4.3%), as the upward adjustment of public housing rentals by the Housing Authority in September 2012 faded out. As the public housing rents had been waived in the same month of rental adjustment (i.e. September 2012) by Housing Authority, the year-on-year rate of change in the Composite CPI for September 2013 before netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures was not affected by this factor.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from July to September 2013 was -0.4%, and that for the 3-month period from June to August 2013 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 3-month period from July to September 2013 was 0.4%, and that for the 3-month period from June to August 2013 was 0.3%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.1%, 4.5% and 4.2% respectively in September 2013, which compared to 4.9%, 4.4% and 4.3% respectively in August. 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 4.8%, 4.2% and 3.7% respectively in September 2013, which compared to 5.0%, 4.1% and 3.8% respectively in August.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from July to September 2013, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were -1.8%, 0.2% and 0.4% respectively. The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from June to August 2013 were -1.9%, virtually nil and 0.3%. 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 July to September 2013 were 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.3% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from June to August 2013 were 0.3%, 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in September 2013 for electricity, gas and water (9.2% in the Composite CPI and 10.0% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (6.7% in the Composite CPI and 7.5% in the CPI(A)); housing (6.4% in the Composite CPI and 6.2% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.5% in the Composite CPI and 4.6% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (3.5% in the Composite CPI and 3.4% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.9% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (2.8% in the Composite CPI and 4.0% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1.0% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices were recorded in September 2013 for durable goods (-4.8% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)).

     Taking the first nine months of 2013 together, the Composite CPI rose by 4.3% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.3%, 4.0% and 3.7%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.0%, 4.5%, 3.8% and 3.6% respectively in the first nine months of 2013 over a year earlier.

     In the third quarter of 2013, the Composite CPI rose by 5.3% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 7.3%, 4.6% and 4.2% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.3%, 4.9%, 4.1% and 3.8% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended September 2013, the Composite CPI was on average 4.2% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.1%, 3.9% and 3.6%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 3.9%, 4.5%, 3.8% and 3.5% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that underlying consumer price inflation eased slightly to 4.2% year-on-year in September, mainly because the impact of the public housing rentals upward adjustment a year earlier by the Housing Authority faded out, offsetting the temporary surge in food prices in that month caused by the typhoon. Also, the increase in the private housing rental component of the underlying Composite CPI stabilised in September.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the subdued imported inflation and the moderated increases in fresh-letting residential rentals since early 2013 should help to contain the upside risks to inflation in the near term. The Government will monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for September 2013 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 and seasonally adjusted data series) are available in the monthly reports. Users can download the September 2013 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001).

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

Ends/Monday, October 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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