Consumer Price Indices for March 2017


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (April 21) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for March 2017. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 0.5% in March 2017 over the same month a year earlier, slightly smaller than the average rate of increase in January and February 2017 (0.6%). The comparison to the average rate of increase in January and February is to neutralise the effect caused by different timing of the Lunar New Year between two years.

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 March 2017 was 1.3%, also smaller than the average rate of increase in January and February 2017 (1.5%), mainly due to the larger decreases in the charges for package tours.

     The year-on-year rate of increase in the Composite CPI in March 2017 was 0.5%, after a decrease of 0.1% in February 2017. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of increase in the Composite CPI in March 2017 was 1.3%, larger than that in February 2017 (0.7%).

Nonetheless, the February inflation figure was affected by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which occurred in late January this year but in early February last year.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from January to March 2017 was virtually nil, and the corresponding rate of change for the 3-month period from December 2016 to February 2017 was -0.1%. 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 January to March 2017 was virtually nil, and the corresponding rate of change for the 3-month period from December 2016 to February 2017 was -0.1%.

     Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of change in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 0.2%, 0.5% and 0.8% respectively in March 2017, as compared to the average rates of change of 0.1%, 0.7% and 1.0% respectively in January and February 2017, and -0.6%, virtually nil and 0.3% respectively in February 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%, 1.2% and 1.1% respectively in March 2017, as compared to the average rates of increase of 1.6%, 1.4% and 1.3% respectively in January and February 2017, and 0.9%, 0.7% and 0.6% respectively in February 2017.

     On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the 3-month period from January to March 2017, the average monthly rates of change in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were virtually nil, virtually nil and 0.1% respectively.

The corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from December 2016 to February 2017 were -0.1%, -0.1% and virtually nil. 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 January to March 2017 were virtually nil, virtually nil and 0.1% respectively, and the corresponding rates of change for the 3-month period from December 2016 to February 2017 were -0.1%, -0.1% and virtually nil respectively.

     Amongst the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in March 2017 for transport (3.1% in the Composite CPI and 2.4% in the CPI(A)), meals bought away from home (2.7% in the Composite CPI and 2.8% in the CPI(A)), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.5% in the Composite CPI and 3.0% in the CPI(A)), miscellaneous goods (2.0% in the Composite CPI and 2.5% in the CPI(A)) as well as clothing and footwear (0.4% in the Composite CPI and 0.9% in the CPI(A)).

     On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in prices were recorded in March 2017 for durable goods (-3.1% in the Composite CPI and -3.7% in the CPI(A)); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (-1.6% in the Composite CPI and -2.3% in the CPI(A)); electricity, gas and water (-1.2% in the Composite CPI and -0.3% in the CPI(A)) as well as miscellaneous services (-0.5% in the Composite CPI and -0.1% in the CPI(A)).

     As for housing, the Composite CPI rose by 0.2% over a year earlier but the CPI(A) fell by 0.7%.

     In the first quarter of 2017, the Composite CPI rose by 0.5% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 0.1%, 0.6% and 0.9% 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 1.3% respectively.

     For the 12 months ended March 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 2.1%, 1.8% and 1.7%. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures were 2.0%, 2.2%, 1.9% and 1.7% respectively.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman said that consumer price inflation stayed modest in March, as imported inflation was low and domestic cost pressure was contained. The lower inflation rate in March compared with the average rate in January and February was mainly attributable to the slower increase in food prices and to the timing of the Easter holidays, which fell in mid-April this year but in late March last year, resulting in a notable year-on-year decrease in the charges for package tours in March.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, inflation pressure should stay moderate 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 March 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 March 2017 issue of the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001">www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=B1060001), the time series of CPIs at detailed level (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600001">www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600001) and the time series of CPIs at COICOP division level (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp270.jsp?productCode=D5600002">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.



Published on: 2017-04-21

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