C&SD announces results of 2014/15 Household Expenditure Survey and Rebasing of Consumer Price Indices
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) today (April 29) released the results of the 2014/15 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) and introduced the newly based Consumer Price Indices (CPIs).

     Speaking at a press conference today, the Deputy Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Stephen Leung, said that a 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 2009/10. With the results of a new round of HES conducted in 2014/15 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 conforms to international standards and practices to ensure that up-to-date expenditure patterns of households are adequately and accurately reflected in the weights for 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 2014 to September 2015 was between $5,500 and $24,499," Mr Leung said.

     "The rebased series of CPI(B) relates to about 30% of households in the medium expenditure range. These households spent between $24,500 and $44,499 a month on average 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 average monthly expenditure in the base period was between $44,500 and $89,999," Mr Leung added.

     The C&SD compiles different CPI series to reflect 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 to reflect 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 2009/10, "Housing" showed the largest change in the expenditure weight of the 2014/15-based CPIs. "The expenditure weight of 'Housing' increased in all the CPIs by 1.6 to 3.8 percentage points, which was mainly attributable to the general rise in rentals for private housing over the past five years," explained Mr Leung.

     Regarding "Food", the weight decreased in the Composite CPI, CPI(B) and CPI(C). This was due to the drop in the expenditure share of basic food items. As for CPI(B), the drop in the weight of "Food" was more apparent, mainly related to the relatively larger increase in the share of "Housing". On the other hand, an increase of 0.7 percentage point in the weight of "Food" noted in the CPI(A) was due mainly to the relatively significant increase in the expenditure share of meals bought away from home.

     The weight of "Transport" decreased by 0.1 to 0.8 percentage point in all the CPIs.

     For "Clothing and footwear", the weight decreased by 0.03 to 0.5 percentage point in all the CPIs.

     As regards "Miscellaneous services", the weight dropped by 0.1 to 0.3 percentage point in the Composite CPI, CPI(A) and CPI(B), which was mainly attributable to the relatively larger decline in the expenditure share of school fees. On the other hand, an increase of 0.3 percentage point in the weight recorded in the CPI(C) was due mainly to the increase of 0.5 percentage point in the expenditure share of package tours.

     For "Durable goods", the weight dropped by 0.3 to 0.9 percentage point in all the CPIs, which was mainly attributable to the decline in the expenditure share of watches, clocks, cameras and optical goods. On the other hand, since technology products such as smartphones and tablet PCs were becoming increasingly popular, the expenditure share of information technology and telecommunications equipment rose significantly in the CPIs.

     The weight of "Miscellaneous goods" decreased by 0.5 to 0.7 percentage point in all the CPIs, with decreases registered in the expenditure weights of various groups of miscellaneous goods. Nevertheless, the expenditure weight of proprietary medicines and supplies under "Miscellaneous goods" increased in all the CPIs. This might be related to the increasing health consciousness of Hong Kong people.

     The weight of "Electricity, gas and water" decreased by 0.3 to 0.5 percentage point in all the CPIs.

     For "Alcoholic drinks and tobacco", the weight decreased by 0.03 to 0.2 percentage point in the Composite CPI, CPI(A) and CPI(C). This was mainly attributable to the decline in the expenditure share of cigarettes. A marginal increase of 0.01 percentage point in weight was recorded in the CPI(B), which was due mainly to the increased expenditure share of foreign-style wines.

     The latest HES was conducted from October 2014 to September 2015. About 6 800 households participated in the survey, representing a response rate of 72%.

     "The 2014/15 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," Mr Leung said.

     The rebased CPI series and their year-on-year rates of change for the reference months from October 2015 to March 2016 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 (2009/10-based) CPI series, the new (2014/15-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 for those with larger price increases (or smaller price decreases).

     "While the magnitudes of the year-on-year changes in the 2009/10-based and 2014/15-based CPIs are slightly different, the general increasing trend in the consumer prices from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016 is observed in all the four new CPI series, as in the old CPI series," Mr Leung said.

     Concurrent with the new 2014/15-based CPI series, the old 2009/10-based CPI series will continue to be compiled and published monthly until the reference month of December 2016.

     A detailed report on the "2014/15 Household Expenditure Survey and the Rebasing of the Consumer Price Indices" is now available. Users can download the report free of charge at the C&SD's website (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp290.jsp?productCode=B1060003).

     For enquiries about more detailed statistics, please call the Price Analysis and Research Section of the C&SD at 3903 7384 or email hes@censtatd.gov.hk.

Ends/Friday, April 29, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:30

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Attachments
Annex