Consumer Price Indices for December 2017
Consumer Price Indices for December 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for December 2017. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 1.7% in December 2017 over the same month a year earlier, slightly larger than the corresponding increase (1.6%) in November 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 December 2017 was also 1.7%, slightly larger than that in November 2017 (1.6%), mainly due to the smaller decreases in the prices of fresh vegetables. Also relevant was the enlarged increases in the costs for meals bought away from home.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the three-month period from October to December 2017 was 0.3%, and that for the three-month period from September to November 2017 was 0.2%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the three-month period from October to December 2017 was 0.3%, and that for the three-month period from September to November 2017 was 0.2%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.7%, 1.6% and 1.9% respectively in December 2017, as compared to 1.5%, 1.5% and 1.7% respectively in November 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 1.6%, 1.6% and 1.9% respectively in December 2017, as compared to 1.5%, 1.5% and 1.7% respectively in November 2017.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the three-month period from October to December 2017, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the three-month period from September to November 2017 were all 0.2%. 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 three-month period from October to December 2017 were 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.3% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the three-month period from September to November 2017 were all 0.2%.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in December 2017 for meals bought away from home (2.8% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)), housing (2.5% in both the Composite CPI and CPI(A)), food (excluding meals bought away from home) (1.8% in the Composite CPI and 1.3% in the CPI(A)), transport (1.7% in the Composite CPI and 0.8% in the CPI(A)), clothing and footwear (1.4% in the Composite CPI and 1.2% in the CPI(A)) as well as miscellaneous goods (1.3% in the Composite CPI and 1.9% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in December 2017 for durable goods (-1.4% in the Composite CPI and -2.0% in the CPI(A)) as well as alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-0.3% in the Composite CPI and -0.1% in the CPI(A)).

     As for miscellaneous services, the Composite CPI rose by 0.1% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 1.0%. However, for electricity, gas and water, the Composite CPI remained unchanged over a year earlier but the CPI(A) rose by 1.0%.

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

     For 2017 as a whole, the Composite CPI was on average 1.5% higher than that in the preceding 12-month period. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.5%, 1.4% and 1.5%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 1.7%, 1.9%, 1.6% and 1.6% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that consumer price inflation remained moderate in December 2017, though being slightly higher than in the previous month. For 2017 as a whole, the underlying inflation rate averaged 1.7%, down from 2.3% in 2016, representing the sixth consecutive year of easing in inflation.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflation pressure should remain moderate in the near term, considering the still-modest global inflation and steady rises in local costs. Nevertheless, going further ahead, inflation pressure may increase somewhat if the global economic upturn continues and the local economy sustains notable growth. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.

Further information

     The CPIs and year-on-year rates of change at section level for December 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 three 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 December 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 (Tel: 3903 7374 or email: cpi@censtatd.gov.hk).
 
Ends/Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:30
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