Consumer Price Indices for December 2013
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for December 2013.  According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 4.3% in December 2013 over the same month a year earlier, same as that in November 2013.  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 2013 was 3.9%, slightly smaller than that in November (4.0%), 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 2013 was 1.1%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2013 was 1.2%.  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 2013 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2013 was 0.4%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.3%, 4.4% and 4.1% respectively in December 2013, which compared to 4.4%, 4.4% and 4.2% 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 4.2%, 4.0% and 3.5% respectively in December 2013, which compared to 4.3%, 4.1% and 3.7% respectively in November.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from October to December 2013, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.5%, 0.6% and 0.3% respectively.  The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2013 were 2.6%, 0.7% 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 October to December 2013 were 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from September to November 2013 were 0.3%, 0.4% and 0.4% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in December 2013 for electricity, gas and water (7.3% in the Composite CPI and 7.7% in the CPI(A)); housing (5.9% in the Composite CPI and 5.3% in the CPI(A)); meals bought away from home (4.7% in the Composite CPI and 5.0% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous services (4.6% in the Composite CPI and 4.0% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (3.3% in the Composite CPI and 3.4% in the CPI(A)); miscellaneous goods (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 4.2% in the CPI(A)); transport (2.6% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (2.2% in the Composite CPI and 2.7% in the CPI(A)) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1.4% in the Composite CPI and 1.1% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in December 2013 for durable goods (-3.8% in the Composite CPI and -3.7% in the CPI(A)).

     In the fourth quarter of 2013, the Composite CPI rose by 4.3% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 4.4%, 4.4% and 4.1% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.0%, 4.3%, 4.0% and 3.6% respectively.

     For 2013 as a whole, the Composite CPI was on average 4.3% higher than in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 5.1%, 4.1% and 3.8%.  The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 4.0%, 4.5%, 3.8% and 3.6% respectively.  

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that underlying consumer price inflation eased slightly to 3.9% in December 2013, due mainly to the slower increases in the prices of basic foodstuffs and the private housing rental component.  For 2013 as a whole, underlying inflation averaged 4.0%, matching the Government's earlier forecast and down from 4.7% in 2012.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the still-low imported inflation and the feed-through of the milder increases in fresh-letting residential rentals in 2013 should help 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 December 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 December 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/Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30

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