Costlier food, housing drive CPI higher

Business | Samantha Wong 24 Oct 2018

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for September rose by 2.7 percent over the same month a year earlier, led by an increase in the prices of food and housing.

The Census and Statistics Department said food prices increased the most by 5.1 percent, followed by electricity, gas and water at 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent in housing.

The underlying inflation rate went up to 3.1 percent in September, mainly on account of special factors including the upward adjustment in public housing rentals and increase in school fees, as the effects of the government subsidy schemes introduced a year earlier dissipated.

A government spokesman said the inflation rate may still be subject to some mild upward pressure in the rest of the year, as local costs have increased along with the sustained economic expansion, adding "the earlier rises in fresh-letting residential rentals would also continue to feed through."

Meanwhile, local retailers recorded substantial growth despite market uncertainties from the ongoing trade war and volatility in the global stock markets.

Yata department store recorded a 26.7 percent growth in its supermarket business in the first three quarters.

Chief executive Susanna Wong Sze-lai said an overall 5 to 10 percent increase in sales is expected for the department store for the year.

Wong added that the ongoing trade war has yet to reflect on local consumption, but she remains cautious over the retail market.

Meanwhile, L'occitane International (0973), an international retailer of body-care products, reported a 19 percent growth in sales in the Hong Kong market for the half year.

The group's net sales grew by 8.6 percent for the six months ended September 30, with the United States leading the growth with 65.8 percent and China and Russia posting double-digit growth at 14.1 percent and 11.8 percent respectively.

Overall same stores sales growth accelerated by 2 percent, from 0.6 percent in the first quarter this year.

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