Hong Kong: Inflation stabilizes in March
Inflation was stable at February’s 2.1% in March. When accounting for the effects of one-off government relief measures, inflation came in at 2.6%, also unchanged compared to February.
However, averaging the January and February prints—in order to better capture the calendar effects of the Lunar New Year holiday which fell earlier this year than in 2018—shows that inflation somewhat softened in March from the 2.3% average logged in the first two months of the year. This mostly reflected a softer year-on-year increase in the prices of package tours and a larger decline in information and communication service prices. Meanwhile, annual average inflation ticked down from 2.4% in February to 2.3% in March.
For the January–March period, the average of the month-on-month variation in consumer prices was 0.2% in seasonally-adjusted terms, unchanged from the three-month period from December to February.
Regarding the inflation outlook, a government spokesperson noted that:
“Looking ahead, inflation will likely stay moderate in the near term. The consolidation of fresh-letting residential rentals earlier on should continue to have a mitigating effect in the period ahead. External price pressures have also shown some easing recently”.