Hong Kong CPI rises 3.7% in February

Updated: 2011-03-23 11:19
Large Medium Small

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's overall consumer prices in February rose by 3.7 percent over the same month a year earlier, slightly higher than the 3.6 percent increase in January, the Census and Statistics Department of the HKSAR government said Tuesday in a statement.

Netting out the effects of the city government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of increase in the composite consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of the inflation, in February was 3.6 percent. It was also slightly higher than that in January, mainly due to the increases in private housing rentals, said the statement.

Among the various CPI components, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in February for food, electricity, gas and water, clothing and footwear, alcoholic drinks and tobacco, as well as housing.

Year-on-year decreases in prices, however, were recorded in February for durable goods, according to the statement.

Taking the first two months together, Hong Kong's CPI rose by 3.7 percent over a year earlier.

A government spokesman said that taking the first two months together to remove any potential distortion due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the underlying consumer price inflation went up further to 3.6 percent, amid the notable increases in import prices and the robust local economic conditions.

The spokesman added that inflationary pressure on the economy was likely to increase in the coming months, as global food and commodity prices remained elevated and as the feed-through from the earlier rapid increases in private housing rentals continued.

Related readings:
Hong Kong CPI rises 3.7% in February Hong Kong's 2010 GDP up 6.8%
Hong Kong CPI rises 3.7% in February Hong Kong sees lowest unemployment rate in over two years
Hong Kong CPI rises 3.7% in February China targets 4% CPI rise, price stability top priority
Hong Kong CPI rises 3.7% in February February inflation exceeded estimates

Hong Kong's government would closely monitor the impacts on inflation by global events, including the natural disasters and nuclear crisis in Japan and the political unrest in the Middle East, he said.

Donna Kwok, HSBC's China Economist, maintained that Hong Kong's February CPI growth was fuelled by a spill-over impact from Mainland food price inflation, Lunar New Year's festive consumption, and global energy prices running high on the back of unfolding events in the Middle East.

"For the rest of this year, we expect excessively loose monetary conditions, wage inflation, the weakness of the US dollar, global food price inflation and strong aggregate demand to continue stoking both headline and underlying CPI pressures in the territory," she added.