CPI inches up on dining, utilities

Finance | Karen Ng 21 Sep 2021

The local core consumer price index inched up by 0.2 percentage points last month from July.

As more people dined out and the electricity charges increased, the latest figure of the local inflation gauge climbed after netting out the effects of all government's one-off relief measures.

Overall consumer prices rose by 1.6 percent year on year but smaller than the 3.7 percent seen in July.

The larger increase in July was because of the low base effect arising from the government's payment of public housing rentals, as well as the waiver of two thirds of rent for tenants of Group B estates by the Hong Kong Housing Society last July, said the Census and Statistics Department.

For the first eight months, core CPI rose by 1.4 percent over a year earlier.

Of all the components of the core CPI, prices for electricity, gas and water saw a substantial increase of 20.1 percent last month from a year ago.

Prices of transport rose 6 percent. That of clothing and footwear, and meals out and takeaway food rose between 4 to 5 percent.

A modest rise of 0.5 to 2.8 percent was recorded in the prices of durable goods and basic food.

On the other hand, prices of miscellaneous goods fell 3 percent from last year. Housing prices dipped 0.7 percent. The prices of alcoholic drinks and tobacco dropped a mere 0.1 percent.

A government spokesman said the increase in prices of some CPI components such as dining out and takeaways, as well as clothing and footwear widened somewhat amid the stabilized local epidemic situation.

However, pressures on many other components remained modest.

Looking ahead, while domestic and external price pressures may build up further in the near term alongside the economic recovery, the underlying inflation should remain largely moderate as the local economy is still operating below capacity, the spokesman said.

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