ECONOMY, RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Inflation up 2.9% in April

Higher prices for food, housing and transport offset declines in utilities.

Hong Kong’s inflation picked up at a faster pace at 2.9% YoY in April from March’s 2.1% increase, the Census & Statistics Department (C&SD) revealed.

The larger YoY rate of change in the composite consumer price index (CPI) figures for April was mainly attributable to the lower ceiling of rates concession, from $2,500 per quarter for each rateable tenement to $1,500 starting from April 2019.

Netting out the effects of all government’s one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate also stood at 2.9%, compared to the 2.6% average rate of increase in March. This was due to the enlarged increases in the charge for package tours, and the increases in inbound and outbound transport fares, C&SD explained.

Amongst the various components of the composite CPI, YoY increases in prices were recorded in April 2019 for food (4.6%), housing (4.3%), miscellaneous services (3.1%), transport (2.7%), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.3%), meals bought away from home (2.2%) and miscellaneous goods (1.9%).

On the other hand, YoY decreases in the components of the composite CPI were recorded in April 2019 for electricity, gas and water (-4.3%), durable goods (-2.1%), as well as clothing and footwear (-1%).

“Looking ahead, inflation will likely stay moderate in the near term. The earlier easing in fresh-letting residential rentals should have a mitigating effect in the coming months,” C&SD noted. “External price pressures have also eased recently. The government will continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.” 

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