Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release

Consumer Price Indices for January 2020


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Melissa Ng in New York City: (212) 752 3320
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Daniel McAtee in Washington, D.C.: (202) 238 6360

February 20, 2020 - The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government released today the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for January 2020.

According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 1.4% in January 2020 over the same month a year earlier, smaller than the corresponding increase (2.9%) in December 2019. The smaller increase in the Composite CPI in January was mainly due to the Government’s payment of public housing rentals and waiver of two-thirds of rent for tenants of Group B estates by Hong Kong Housing Society in January 2020, as well as the additional Government’s provision of electricity charge subsidy starting from January 2020. 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 January 2020 was 3.7%, larger than that in December 2019 (2.9%). The increase was mainly due to the enlarged increases in the charges for package tours and prices of pork around the Lunar New Year.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period ending January 2020 was -0.5%, and the corresponding rate of change for the 3-month period ending December 2019 was 0.1%.  Netting out the effects of all Government’s one-off relief measures, the corresponding rates of increase were 0.3% and 0.1%.

 A Government spokesman said that the underlying consumer price inflation rate went up to 3.7% in January, distorted by enlarged year-on-year increases in charges for package tours and prices of basic foodstuffs around the Lunar New Year (which fell in late January this year but early February last year). It would thus be more meaningful to examine the figures for January and February combined, when available, to assess the underlying inflation situation. On the other hand, the headline consumer price inflation rate eased to 1.4% in January, reflecting the impacts of the Government’s one-off relief measures.

Looking ahead, overall inflationary pressures will likely be contained in the near term, given the mild external price pressures and subdued local economic conditions. While the threat of the novel coronavirus infection may cause prices of certain daily necessities to rise, any disruption should only be temporary. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.

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