Overall consumer prices rose by 2.4% in December 2021

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20th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for December 2021. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.4% in December 2021 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (1.8%) in November 2021. 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 December 2021 was 1.4%, also larger than that in November 2021 (1.2%). The larger increase was mainly due to the enlarged increases in costs for meals out and takeaway food as well as electricity charges. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average monthly rate of increase in the Composite CPI for the three-month period ending December 2021 was 1.0%, and that for the three-month period ending November 2021 was 0.2%. Netting out the effects of all Government’s one-off relief measures, the corresponding rates of increase were both 0.1%. 

Analysed by sub-index, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 3.0%, 2.2% and 2.0% respectively in December 2021, as compared to 2.2%, 1.7% and 1.5% respectively in November 2021. Netting out the effects of all Government’s one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rates of increase in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 1.5%, 1.3% and 1.4% respectively in December 2021, as compared to 1.2%, 1.1% and 1.2% respectively in November 2021. 

 On a seasonally adjusted basis, for the three-month period ending December 2021, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.5%, 0.4% and 0.1% respectively. The corresponding rates of increase for the three-month period ending November 2021 were all 0.2%. Netting out the effects of all Government’s one-off relief measures, the average monthly rates of increase in the seasonally adjusted CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) for the three-month period ending December 2021 were 0.1%, 0.1% and 0.0% respectively, and the corresponding rates of increase for the three-month period ending November 2021 were all 0.1%.

 Amongst the various components of the Composite CPI, year-on-year increases in prices were recorded in December 2021 for electricity, gas and water (54.2%); clothing and footwear (8.7%); transport (4.1%); meals out and takeaway food (3.7%); durable goods (2.1%); basic food (1.9%); miscellaneous services (1.0%) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (0.6%).  

On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in the components of the Composite CPI were recorded in December 2021 for miscellaneous goods (-1.1%) and housing (-0.5%).

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the Composite CPI rose by 2.0% over a year earlier, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) rose by 2.5%, 1.8% and 1.7% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government’s one-off relief measures were 1.2%, 1.2%, 1.1% and 1.3% respectively.

For 2021 as a whole, the Composite CPI was 1.6% higher than that in the preceding year. The respective increases in the CPI(A), CPI(B) and CPI(C) were 2.9%, 1.0% and 0.9% respectively. The corresponding increases after netting out the effects of all Government’s one-off relief measures were 0.6%, 0.8%, 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. 

 A Government spokesman said that the underlying consumer price inflation rate went up to 1.4% in December 2021. Prices of meals out and takeaway food showed a widened year-on-year increase against a lower base of comparison a year earlier due to the fourth wave of local epidemic. The increase in prices of energy-related items accelerated further, and those of certain major CPI components such as clothing and footwear and transport were more visible. Nonetheless, price pressures on other major components remained moderate. For 2021 as a whole, the underlying consumer price inflation rate averaged 0.6%.

 Looking ahead, external price pressures may increase further amid elevated global inflation and the pandemic-induced logistic disruptions. Yet, as the latest wave of local epidemic has weighed on some consumption-related activities and domestic cost pressures remain limited, the underlying inflation should stay broadly in check in the near term. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.

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