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Consumer price inflation remains moderate in March

24
Apr '07
The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released (April 23) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for March 2007. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.4% in March 2007 over a year earlier.

The 2.4% year-on-year increase in March 2007 was larger than the corresponding rate of 0.8% in February and 2.0% in January this year.

Netting out this special factor, the year-on-year increase in the Composite CPI in February 2007 was 3.1%, and the corresponding rate of increase for January and February 2007 taken together was 2.5%. The 2.4% increase in the Composite CPI in March 2007 was close to the 2.5% in the first two months of the year.

It is useful to look at the year-on-year rate of change for January and February taken together because the year-on-year changes in these two months were distorted by the difference in the timing of the Lunar New Year, which occurred in February this year but in January last year.

Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.2%, 2.3% and 2.7% respectively in March 2007, which compared to -3.2%, +2.1% and +3.6% respectively in February. Netting out the effect of the public housing rental waiver in February 2007, the year-on-year rates of increase for the first two months of 2007 in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.2%, 2.5% and 3.0% respectively.

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 ended March 2007, 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 change for the 3-month period ended February 2007 were -0.5%, -1.6%, -0.1% and +0.3%.


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