Consumer Price Indices for April 2017
Consumer Price Indices for April 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (May 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for April 2017. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.0% in April 2017 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (0.5%) in March 2017. The larger year-on-year rate of change in the Composite CPI in April was mainly attributable to the low base of comparison resulted from the rates concession implemented as from April 2016, while there was no rates concession in March 2016. 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 April 2017 was also 2.0%, larger than that in March 2017 (1.3%), mainly due to the increases in the charges for package tours. Also relevant was the smaller decreases in the prices of fresh vegetables.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from February to April 2017 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from January to March 2017 was virtually nil. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from February to April 2017 was 0.2%, and that for the 3-month period from January to March 2017 was virtually nil.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.2%, 1.9% and 2.0% respectively in April 2017, as compared to 0.2%, 0.5% and 0.8% respectively in March 2017. 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 2.2%, 1.9% and 2.0% respectively in April 2017, as compared to 1.6%, 1.2% and 1.1% respectively in March 2017.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from February to April 2017, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were all 0.2%. The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from January to March 2017 were virtually nil, virtually nil and 0.1%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the corresponding average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) for the 3-month period from February to April 2017 were all 0.2%, and the corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from January to March 2017 were virtually nil, virtually nil and 0.1% respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in April 2017 for alcoholic drinks and tobacco (3.4% in the Composite CPI and 3.8% in the CPI(A)), transport (3.4% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)), housing (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 3.8% in the CPI(A)), meals bought away from home (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 2.8% in the CPI(A)), miscellaneous services (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 2.3% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous goods (1.9% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in April 2017 for durable goods (-3.0% in the Composite CPI and -3.8% in the CPI(A)); clothing and footwear (-1.7% in the Composite CPI and -1.1% in the CPI(A)) as well as electricity, gas and water (-1.2% in the Composite CPI and -0.3% in the CPI(A)).

     As for food (excluding meals bought away from home), the Composite CPI rose by 0.3% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 0.2%.

     Taking the first four months of 2017 together, the Composite CPI rose by 0.9% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.6%, 0.9% and 1.2%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 1.6%, 1.8%, 1.5% and 1.4% respectively in the first four months of 2017 over a year earlier.

     For the 3 months ended April 2017, the Composite CPI rose by 0.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 1.4%, 1.6%, 1.3% and 1.2% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended April 2017, the Composite CPI was on average 1.8% higher than that in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.0%, 1.7% and 1.7%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 1.9%, 2.2%, 1.9% and 1.7% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflation pressure remained modest in April. The uptick in the underlying inflation rate in April was mainly due to the difference in timing of the Easter holidays, which fell in mid-April this year but in late March last year, resulting in a visible year-on-year rebound in the charges for package tours in that month.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the upside risks to inflation should remain contained in the near term, considering the low imported inflation as well as moderate local cost pressures. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for April 2017 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 Government's one-off relief 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, seasonally adjusted data series and the CPIs by the Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP)) are available in the monthly reports. Users can download the April 2017 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001), the time series of CPIs at detailed level (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600001) and the time series of CPIs at COICOP division level (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600002) free of charge at the website of the C&SD.

     For enquiries about the CPIs, please contact the Consumer Price Index Section of the C&SD at telephone no. 3903 7374 or email address cpi@censtatd.gov.hk.
 
Ends/Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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