January inflation hits 1.76 pct

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Pedestrians walk along a street in Macau, China, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Macau's casino revenue fell for the 18th straight month in November, as China's moves to curb illicit money flows from the mainland deterred the high-stakes players who rely on junket promoters for betting loans. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The local inflation rate reached 1.76 per cent for the first month of the year, up 0.32 percentage points from 1.44 per cent for the month of December, the latest official data released yesterday by the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) reveals.
According to DSEC, the hike in charges for package tours for Chinese New Year during the month was one of the major factors driving the price increases, as this year’s Chinese New Year fell in January rather than in February as one year ago.
In addition, dearer charges for eating out, rising rentals for parking spaces and higher prices of motor cars and gasoline boosted the city’s consumer prices, said DSEC.
For the month, the composite consumer price index (CPI) reached 109.25.
By sector, the price index of recreation & culture activities increased 9.03 per cent year-on-year for January, while that of transport and education increased year-on-year by 8.12 per cent and 7.38 per cent, respectively.
However, costs for housing & fuel and communications both recorded decreases from one year ago, down 1.79 per cent and 1.73 per cent, respectively. In addition, the average price of clothing & footwear fell 0.88 per cent from one year ago.
Meanwhile, monthly inflation was 0.36 per cent, again boosted by soaring charges for package tours for the Chinese New Year, in addition to rising airfares and gasoline prices.
The price index of recreational & cultural activities and transport thus recorded respective increases of 7.49 per cent and 1.1 per cent month-on-month, while charges for miscellaneous goods & services grew 0.56 per cent month-on-month owing to higher charges for hairdressing services prior to Lunar New Year.
By contrast, the seasonal sale of winter clothing caused the price index of clothing & footwear to fall by 4.71 per cent from one month ago.
For the 12 months ended January 2017, the average composite CPI went up by 2.20 per cent from the previous period. Major price increases were apparent in alcoholic beverages & tobacco, education and transport, up 19.1 per cent, 8.26 per cent and 7.2 per cent period-to-period, respectively.