Dec sees 0.7% deflation

Overall consumer prices in December fell 0.7% year-on-year, larger than the corresponding decrease of 0.2% in November, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of all the Government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of change in December’s underlying inflation rate was 0.0%, smaller than November’s 0.3%.   The department said it was mainly due to the smaller increases in the costs for meals bought away from home and the enlarged decreases in private housing rentals.   December saw year-on-year price drops for electricity, gas and water, clothing and footwear, durable goods, transport and miscellaneous services.     Prices for food, excluding meals bought away from home, alcoholic drinks and tobacco, miscellaneous goods and housing went up.   The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for meals bought away from home remained unchanged.     The Government said the underlying consumer price inflation rate eased to virtually zero, noting that prices of meals bought away from home softened visibly amid the fourth wave of the local COVID-19 epidemic and the resultant social distancing measures.   The year-on-year decline in private housing rentals widened slightly, and price pressures on many other major CPI components receded further. For 2020 as a whole, the underlying consumer price inflation rate averaged 1.3%.   Looking ahead, overall price pressures should remain very mild in the near term as global and local economic conditions are still challenging amid the continued threat of COVID-19, the Government added.
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