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HK consumer prices up 3.7pc in December

Overall consumer prices rose by 3.7 percent in December 2012 compared to prices a month earlier, the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) reported.

According to the Composite Consumer Price Index (CPI), the average monthly rate of increase for the 3-month period from October to December 2012 was 1.2 percent, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 was 1.3 percent.

However, netting out the effects of all government’s one-off relief measures, C&SD said the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the 3-month period from October to December 2012 was 0.3 percent, and that for the 3-month period from September to November 2012 was 0.4 percent.

In December 2012, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded for housing (5.1 percent); food, excluding meals bought away from home (4.3 percent), meals bought away from home (4.3 percent); electricity, gas and water (4.1 percent), clothing and footwear (3 percent); miscellaneous services (3 percent); transport (2.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods (1.5 percent).

On the other hand, year-on-year decrease in prices was recorded in December 2012 for durable goods (-2 percent). As for alcoholic drinks and tobacco, the Composite CPI remained unchanged over a year earlier but the CPI rose slightly by 0.7 percent.

"For 2012 as a whole, the Composite CPI was on average 4.1 percent higher than in the preceding 12-month period," the C&SD report said.

A government spokesman was quoted as saying that underlying inflation held steady at a year-on-year rate of 3.8 percent for the third consecutive month in December 2012. But for 2012 as a whole, underlying inflation averaged at 4.7 percent, down from 5.3 percent in 2011.