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

Consumer Price Indices for February 2020


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March 23, 2020 - The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government released today the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for February 2020. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.2% in February 2020 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (1.4%) in January 2020. The larger increase in the Composite CPI in February was related to fading out of the effect of 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.

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 February 2020 was 2.5%, smaller than that in January 2020 (3.7%). The smaller increase was mainly due to the decreases in the charges for package tours and the smaller increases in the costs for meals bought away from home after the Lunar New Year. 

It should be noted that consumer prices tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year. As the Lunar New Year fell in late January this year but in early February last year, the year-on-year comparison of the figures for January and February 2020 might have been affected by this factor to a certain extent. Taking the first two months of 2020 together to neutralize the effect of the Lunar New Year, the Composite CPI rose by 1.8% over a year earlier. Netting out the effect of all Government's one-off relief measures, the corresponding rate of increase was 3.1%.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of change in the Composite CPI for the three-month period ending February 2020 was 0.0%, and the corresponding rate of change for the three-month period ending January 2020 was -0.5%. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the corresponding rates of change were 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. 

A Government spokesman said that taking the first two months of 2020 together to neutralize the distortions by the timing of the Lunar New Year, the underlying consumer price inflation rate went up slightly to 3.1% from 2.9% in December 2019, mainly due to larger increases in prices of pork and some other basic foodstuffs. Price pressures on most major CPI components remained modest or moderate.

Looking ahead, inflation should remain largely moderate in the near term. External price pressures have receded amid a weak global economy and the recent strengthening of the Hong Kong dollar along with the US dollar, while the subdued local economic conditions should keep domestic cost pressures at bay. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.

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