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Consumer price inflation goes up in January
Feb '08
The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released February 22 the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for January 2008. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 3.2% in January 2008 over a year earlier.

The policy measure of rates concession for January to March 2008 has lowered the year-on-year rates of change in the CPIs in January 2008 and would continue to carry impact on the CPIs until March this year. Netting out this one-off factor, the year-on-year increase in the Composite CPI in January 2008 (i.e. the underlying inflation rate) was 4.3%, larger than the corresponding inflation rate in December 2007 (3.8%).

The larger increase in the underlying inflation rate in January 2008 (4.3%) than in December 2007 (3.8%) was due mainly to the enlarged increases in cost of meals bought away from home, prices of fresh vegetables, electricity charge and prices of fresh-water fish.

Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.9%, 3.3% and 3.5% respectively in January 2008, which compared to 3.4%, 3.9% and 4.0% in December 2007. Netting out the one-off effect of the rates concession, the year-on-year increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 4.2%, 4.4% and 4.3% respectively in January 2008.

For discerning the latest trend in consumer prices, it is also useful to look at the changes in the seasonally adjusted CPIs. For the 3-month period from November 2007 to January 2008, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted Composite CPI, CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were all 0.2%. The corresponding rates of increase for the 3-month period from October to December 2007 were 0.9%, 1.0%, 0.9% and 0.8% respectively.

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