Consumer Price Indices for September 2017
Consumer Price Indices for September 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (October 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for September 2017. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 1.4% in September 2017 over the same month a year earlier, smaller than the corresponding increase (1.9%) in August 2017. 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 2017 was also 1.4%, smaller than that in August 2017 (1.9%), mainly due to the decreases in school fees arising from the new subsidy schemes launched by the Government in this academic year and dissipation of the effect of upward adjustment in public housing rentals by the Housing Authority in September 2016. 

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from July to September 2017 was 0.1%, the same as that for the 3-month period from June to August 2017. 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 2017 was 0.1%, the same as that for the 3-month period from June to August 2017. 

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.5%, 1.3% and 1.4% respectively in September 2017, as compared to 2.4%, 1.7% and 1.8% respectively in August 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 1.5%, 1.3% and 1.4% respectively in September 2017, as compared to 2.4%, 1.7% and 1.8% respectively in August 2017. 

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from July to September 2017, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.1%, 0.1% and virtually nil respectively, same as those for the 3-month period from June to August 2017. 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 July to September 2017 were 0.1%, 0.1% and virtually nil respectively, same as those for the 3-month period from June to August 2017. 

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in September 2017 for meals bought away from home (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 2.8% in the CPI(A)), housing (2.3% in the Composite CPI and 2.2% in the CPI(A)), food (excluding meals bought away from home) (1.9% in the Composite CPI and 1.6% in the CPI(A)), transport (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 1.0% in the CPI(A)), miscellaneous goods (0.5% in the Composite CPI and 1.2% in the CPI(A)) as well as alcoholic drinks and tobacco (0.5% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)). 

     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in September 2017 for durable goods (-3.3% in the Composite CPI and -3.6% in the CPI(A)) and miscellaneous services (-0.6% in the Composite CPI and -1.1% in the CPI(A)). 

     As for clothing and footwear, the Composite CPI rose by 0.4% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 0.5%. However, for electricity, gas and water, the Composite CPI fell by 0.2% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) rose by 0.8%. 

     Taking the first 9 months of 2017 together, the Composite CPI rose by 1.4% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.5%, 1.3% and 1.5%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 1.7%, 2.0%, 1.6% and 1.6% respectively in the first 9 months of 2017 over a year earlier. 

     In the third quarter of 2017, the Composite CPI rose by 1.8% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 2.1%, 1.6% and 1.6% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 1.7%, 2.1%, 1.5% and 1.6% respectively. 

     For the 12 months ended September 2017, the Composite CPI was on average 1.4% higher than that in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.4%, 1.3% and 1.4%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 1.8%, 2.1%, 1.6% and 1.6% respectively. 

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that inflation pressure remained generally contained in September, thanks to slow increases in import prices and moderate local cost pressures. The easing of the underlying inflation rate from 1.9% in August to 1.4% in September was mainly attributable to dissipation of the effect from upward adjustment in public housing rentals in September last year and the decreases in school fees arising from the launch of new government subsidy schemes in the 2017/18 academic year.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflation pressure is likely to remain limited in the near term. 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 September 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 September 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 a 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 (Tel: 3903 7374 or email: cpi@censtatd.gov.hk).
 
Ends/Monday, October 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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