Bloomberg News

Hong Kong’s November Inflation Slows to 5.7% on Food Costs

December 20, 2011

(Updates with economist’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s inflation slowed in November on reduced gains in pork prices and the city’s moderating economic growth.

Consumer prices rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier, the government said on its website today. That compares with the 5.8 percent gain in October and the median 5.6 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 economists.

Inflation will “gradually recede” because of a decline in global food prices and moderating growth, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the de-facto central bank, said in a report last week. An increase in consumer costs may remain “notable in the near term” from an earlier surge in private rentals, the government said last month.

“With food and commodity prices continuing to moderate, and the volatility in global trade starting to spill over into the economy, price pressures in Hong Kong are finally starting to ease,” Donna Kwok, an economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, said before the data.

Global food costs fell for a fifth month in November, according to the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Hong Kong’s government said today that pork prices rose at at a slower pace in November.

Average private housing rentals slid 2 percent in the three months ended November from the previous period to HK$20.1 ($2.58) per square foot, down from a record high of HK$20.6 in the period ended September, Centaline Property Agency, the city’s biggest closely held real estate broker, said today, citing a survey of 85 major residential estates.

Underlying CPI

Excluding distortions from temporary government subsidies, the underlying inflation rate was 6.4 percent last month, unchanged from the October’s record level, the government said.

Hong Kong’s economic growth is expected to slow to 4 percent in 2012 from an estimate of 5.7 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“The slowing economy and waning food prices on the mainland should take some of the impetus out of inflation,” the IMF said Dec. 8 in a report on Hong Kong.

--With assistance from Ailing Tan in Singapore, Sandi Liu and Marco Lui in Hong Kong. Editors: Iain Wilson, Paul Panckhurst

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophie Leung in Hong Kong at sleung59@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst in Hong Kong at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net


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