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Hong Kong’s underlying inflation rate eases up

Hong Kong’s underlying inflation rate was 2.1 per cent in January, adversely impacted by increased package tour costs which overshadowed an easing in food price growth.
According to the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) data the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January rose by 1.3 per cent year-on-year – slightly larger than the corresponding increase (1.2%) in December. The underlying inflation rate was marginally higher than December’s 2 per cent.
A Government spokesman said inflation pressure stayed moderate in January, with the visible year-on-year increase in the charges for package tours due mainly to the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in late January this year but in early February last year.
“This largely offset the favourable effects from the downward adjustment in the electricity charge and the smaller year-on-year increase in food prices,” he said.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the three months from November 2016 to January 2017 was 0.1 per cent, half the figure of the preceding quarter.
In retail sectors, the underlying inflation rate rose in meals bought away from home (3.1 per cent), food (excluding meals bought away from home) (2.3 per cent) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1.6 per cent).
Decreases were recorded in durable goods (down 3.9 per cent) as well as clothing and footwear, down 2.9 per cent.
The government spokesman predicted inflation pressure should stay contained in the near term, given soft import prices and moderate local cost increases.

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