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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Price hikes leave middle class feeling the pinch
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, June 16, 2008

Rampant inflation is causing middle- income families to scramble for bargains at supermarkets and eat out less, a survey has found.

Concern group Middle Class Power said 433 of the 792 people it surveyed from May 23 to May 30 did more comparison shopping in recent months to cope with price hikes, while 393 said they dined out less.

Group chairman Andrew Fung Wai-kwong said 47.6 percent of the respondents were concerned their assets and salary rise would fall short of inflation, with only 5 percent confident their investments and wage increases would keep pace.

"Middle class families with children have a relatively larger fixed spending and they are worried that if their pay rise falls short of inflation they would have to tighten their spending," Fung said. "They are more affected by high inflation."

Another hope expressed by almost half of the middle class is for the government to take the lead in reigning in surging utility charges.

More than 300 respondents suggested the government follow Macau's example by giving direct cash-back handouts.

The survey also proposed other options including cutting the duty on petrol to reduce travel costs, abolishing the foreign domestic helper's levy and a fair competition law to stabilize prices.

Eastern District councillor and Middle Class Power member Andrew Chiu Ka-yin said most commodities were imported, leaving the government little room for price control.

Introducing the fair competition law, he said, "is vital for breaking monopolies and reinforcing Hong Kong's laissez-faire economic policies."
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wet weather keeps driving prices of vegetables higher
18 June 2008
South China Morning Post

Vegetable prices are expected to stay high for at least two more weeks because of bad weather, the Vegetable Marketing Organisation said yesterday.

The retail price of vegetables rose an average of 25 per cent in the past two days, while the wholesale price went up 10 per cent yesterday.

The wholesale price of Chinese spinach saw the biggest increase yesterday, up 80 per cent from HK$4 a catty (604 grams) to HK$7.50 (HK$12.40 a kilogram). Baby cabbage costs 40 per cent more, up from HK$4.50 to HK$6.30 a catty.

At Quarry Bay Market, the price of flowering cabbage rose as much as 50 per cent, from HK$6 to HK$9 a catty.

Vegetable Marketing Organisation general manager Edward Lai Kwok-yan said the supply of vegetables from Guangdong - where days of heavy rain have spoiled the harvest of leafy vegetables - was reduced at least by half yesterday.

But the city had imported more vegetables from regions such as Beijing, Yunnan and Jiangxi , Mr Lai said, so total imports dropped only 6 per cent yesterday.

"Until it stops raining, seeds cannot be sown because they will be washed away," he said. "It will then take at least two weeks for supply to get back to normal and the price to fall gradually."

Beef and pork traders said the bad weather had not affected supplies or prices so far, although a government official in Qiaotou, Dongguan , confirmed that some pigs had drowned.

Media reports said at least 1,000 pigs had drowned in Qiaotou.

"We don't see a huge impact at this stage and I believe only a small number of pigs that come to Hong Kong are from Dongguan," Pork Trader General Association vice-president Hui Wai-kin said.

"But if the floods affect more regions and further deter transport, it will affect pork supplies and prices."

Hong Kong Observatory senior scientific officer Steven Ng Ping-wing said a low-pressure trough would continue to bring rainy weather to the city and the southern mainland for the next day or so but sunny skies would return with a ridge of high pressure by tomorrow or Friday.

Downpours saw a section of Gloucester Road near the Wan Chai Sports Ground collapse at 11.30am, causing serious traffic jams in the busy area.

The Transport Department said workers managed to fix the cave-in, which was about 4 square metres in area and 40cm deep, just before 3.30pm.

At about noon, a 3-metre tree fell along the Fanling Highway near Hong Lok Yuen, also causing long traffic delays. Traffic returned to normal 90 minutes later when the tree was removed.

The Highways Department said workers were trying to fix a 2-metre-deep cave-in in Hunghom Road that happened during a deluge on Monday. It said the repairs could take three weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hong Kong will not adjust peg to fight inflation

BASEL, June 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong will not adjust its currency peg with the U.S. dollar to combat rising inflation, the territory's central bank chief said on Monday.

Joseph Yam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said the territory would not consider widening the Hong Kong dollar trading band to fight inflation, which is running above 5 percent.

"No, No," Yam told reporters during a meeting of central bankers in Basel, Switzerland. "The exchange rate has nothing to do with it. That's the wrong answer.

"When you have a fixed exchange rate...the rest of the economy has to accommodate that.

"We've looked at the exchange rate pass-through to consumer prices. It's actually quite small, so that's not the answer."

However, Yam said inflation would probably keep rising.

"Inflation is going up everywhere. Hong Kong is not immune."

The currency peg with the U.S. dollar forces Hong Kong to track U.S. monetary policy. The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate on hold at a policy meeting last week, ending a series of rate cuts since last September.

Some economists expect U.S. interest rates, and thereby Hong Kong rates, to rise by the end of the year.

That, and forecasts for an economic slowdown this year, should help keep inflation in Hong Kong in check although rising food prices and housing rents -- the main drivers of inflation -- would continue to create price pressure, economists say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hong Kong govt plans to scrap fuel tax for public transport
23 June 2008
Agence France Presse

Hong Kong's government announced on Monday a plan to waive fuel taxes for public and commercial transport, following days of demonstrations by truck and bus drivers over surging oil prices.

The authorities hoped to get an approval from the legislature on scrapping taxes on Euro-five diesel by the end of next month, secretary for transport Eva Cheng told the city's lawmakers Monday.

The environmentally friendly Euro-five is used by public transport vehicles such as buses, taxis and trucks.

"Our decision is based on the principle of fairness. At present, all fuel taxes for sea and air commercial transport have been waived," she said.

But there would be no change to the levies on the more polluting ultra-low sulphur diesel or petrol, commonly used in private cars, she said.

Prices for petrol, at about 2 US dollars a litre, were generally higher than Euro-five diesel to encourage people to use public transport, a government spokesman told AFP.

Mirroring the action of their European counterparts, Hong Kong drivers staged marches and slow-drive protests earlier this month as their earnings were substantially reduced by surging oil prices.
 

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Was back in HK march this year. Can't believe a simple meal in 茶餐廳 was something like $50!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
LCQ20: Computation of CPI
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, in the Legislative Council today (July 9):

Question:

According to the Monthly Report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the Census and Statistics Department, "the expenditure weights for compiling the 2004-2005-based CPI series are based on the household expenditure patterns obtained from the Household Expenditure Survey conducted during October 2004 to September 2005". Current weight for food items (excluding meals away from home) is 10.08%. Using the 2004-2005 weights, between May 2004 and May 2008, the prices of food items have increased by 30.5% while the Composite CPI has increased by only 10%. There are concerns that there is a potential underestimation of the current Composite CPI using the 2004-2005 weights. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it has taken into account the above potential underestimation in its current calculation of CPIs; if it has, of the details of the methodology and whether adjustment has been made to its calculation; if adjustment has not been made, whether the Government has conducted any study to estimate the degree of underestimation; if it has conducted such a study, of the results?

Reply:

Madam President,

The accuracy of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and its rate of change are not affected by changes in expenditure weights caused by price changes in individual items (e.g. food) because the CPI compilation formula has already taken this into account. In fact, the expenditure weights of food items have correspondingly been increased to account for the recent increase in food prices. Therefore, there is no underestimation of the Composite CPI.

According to the existing computation formula, the CPI in a specific month is computed by comparing the total cost of a basket of consumption items in that month with that of the same basket in the base period. The expenditure weights used in compiling the month-to-month rate of change of the CPI are updated to the price level in the preceding month. Moreover, the Census and Statistics Department will, in conformity with international statistical standards, update the basket of consumption items and the expenditure weights every five years to take into account changes in consumption patterns of households over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
$5b inflation relief on way
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, July 14, 2008

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen is to announce a HK$5 billion inflation relief package for the grassroots that will include free rent, an extra month's dole for the needy and more fruit money for the elderly.

The relief measures, to be announced on Wednesday, will also include lowering or abolishing the HK$400 domestic helper levy, increasing the School Textbook Assistance Scheme, freezing government fees and increasing electricity and water bill subsidies, according to a source.

Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance will receive an extra month's allowance while people in public housing will be exempt from rent for one month. The Old Age Allowance will also be increased.

The package follows a promise by Vice President Xi Jinping during his visit last week that the mainland will help Hong Kong tackle the challenges of inflation, which stood at 5.7 percent in May.

The source said the subsidy for electricity bills is not likely to be as much as the HK$1,800 for each household, or HK$4.3 billion, that was handed out in the budget. The subsidy for water bills is also not expected to be high.

The measures, which will be capped at HK$5 billion, are aimed at cushioning the effects of inflation before Tsang's policy address in October.

In recent days there have been several demonstrations from various groups calling for immediate help. Two such demonstrations occurred yesterday with more than 100 protesters in total from the Savantas Policy Institute and Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's livelihood marching on Government House. The Savantas group carried black balloons, symbolizing the problems faced by the grassroots.

Its chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk- yee accused the government of being sluggish in response to inflation. She advocated abolishing the levy on hiring foreign domestic helpers and giving out food coupons to the needy.

The Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood urged the government to do more to cope with inflation.

Meanwhile, a bulk-buying scheme to bargain for lower prices for daily goods has kicked off. Among the organizations taking part is the Grassroots Family Joint Council which comprises 40-50 low-income earners. They deal with suppliers to get goods close to cost price.

Kei Cheung Industries and Trading Ltd is the pilot supplier of the Mutual Help Bulk Purchase Scheme, selling China-made "Goodlife" tissue paper for HK$18 against the market rate of HK$30.

"We only charge the cost for production and transportation. Our aim is to help the community, not to make profit," company director Kitty Lau Kit-ling said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
HK's poorest battle on despite inflation relief boost

HONG KONG, July 16 (Reuters) - Hong Kong on Wednesday announced a $1.4 billion inflation relief package for low-income groups, but for the city's downtrodden "cage-men" living in tiny cubicles, the measures gave little comfort.

A financial hub of multi-millionaires, luxury cars, swanky malls and hilltop mansions and apartments, Hong Kong is also home to an estimated 420,000 working poor, living on less than HK$5,000 ($641) a month in some of its grittier neighbourhoods and sprawling public housing estates.

In older districts such as Tai Kok Tsui, hundreds of elderly men still reside in caged cubicles in cramped, old tenement flats which house up to 12 individuals in often squalid conditions.

"It's not very comfortable but what can I do?" said Kong Siu-kau, 62, a former hawker, who rents a modest bedspace bound in a rusty wire mesh for HK$1,200 a month.

"It's better than sleeping on the streets and rents are too expensive elsewhere," added Kong as his neighbours clattered tiles on a mahjong table hemmed in by caged bunkbeds three-high.

While Hong Kong's economy is on a roll, rising food and rental prices have added an extra burden to the city's poor.

Inflation in Hong Kong hit 5.7 percent in May and, while not as pronounced as other Asian countries, it still prompted a warning from visiting Chinese Vice-president Xi Jinping this month.

Partly to address this, Hong Kong's leader announced on Wednesday the government would set aside HK$11 billion for short-term measures to help the poor cope.

These include extending free rent for public housing tenants, subsidies for students, food assistance for the elderly and an extra month's payout for the city's social welfare recipients.

But Chan Kong, a cageman owning little more than a few items of clothing, a toothbrush and threadbare sheets said the measures wouldn't ease his longer term plight.

"Having HK$1,000 extra isn't going to help much, it's hardly enough to buy food to eat. I'd rather they increase the (welfare) payouts," said Chan, who receives HK$1,650 in social welfare each month and has lived in his cage for more than a decade.

Income inequality in Hong Kong has worsened over the past decade since the city reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997 with around 490,000 social welfare recipients, and one in six of Hong Kong's seven million people living in poverty in 2006, according to an Oxfam report.

Despite the sharp inflationary climate, Donald Tsang, whose popularity ratings have plunged recently, has opted largely for stop-gap relief measures rather than implementing longer term policies, including increasing social welfare payouts, which were slashed by 11 percent in 2003.

He's also resisted longstanding calls for a minimum wage.

"These window-dressing policies try to show the government cares about the problem, but in fact they're not real solutions for the root causes," said Wong Hung, a social welfare academic at Hong Kong's Chinese University, of the new measures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Inflation could sink HK into worse slump than 1997: Bernard Chan
21 July 2008
South China Morning Post

Worsening inflation could mean the return of a recession to Hong Kong more severe than during the Asian financial crisis a decade ago, Executive Councillor Bernard Chan has warned.

He said the city had not suffered much yet. "Inflation has pushed up commodity prices, but the business sector in general has not been hit severely. If overseas economies get worse, and we are in turn affected, we will probably see what we saw during 1997 [financial crisis]," he said.

"We do not yet know if the problem is only because of, say, the subprime issue, or property price issues, or if it has spread to the credit card business, causing bad debt problems. But one thing that is certain is that this time could probably be worse than the financial crisis {hellip} [It] only affected Asia. But this time it is a global problem."

Mr Chan said Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was trying to address the problem. He acknowledged during a Commercial Radio show that the appointment of deputy ministers and political assistants might have caused some public discontent with the Tsang administration, but he believed Mr Tsang's falling popularity was largely due to the worsening economy.

Mr Chan, who has decided to stand down after representing the insurance sector in the Legislative Council for 10 years, said he wanted to spend more time with his family. But he stressed he was not quitting community service. As chairman of the Council of Social Service, he said he wanted to help the sector understand more about the hardships of the grass roots.

He also urged the sector to take part more in politics. "If we agree that 2020 is the right time to have universal suffrage [for Legco], {hellip} we should allow some room for professionals to take part [in elections]. If you ask the professionals to take part {hellip} their chances [of winning] are slim. Functional constituencies are a good means, but it is not a perfect system."

Mr Chan belongs to The Alliance group of pro-Beijing legislators with no party affiliation.
 

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Consumer prices rise 6.1%



On the rise: Consumer prices in June rose 6.1% over the same month last year.


Consumer prices in June rose 6.1% over the same month last year, and were up on May's 5.7% rise, the Census & Statistics Department says. The rise was mainly due to increases in private-housing rentals, package-tour charges, rice prices and bus fares.



The headline inflation rate of 6.1% in June was the same as the underlying rate because the effect of the rates concession was offset by a similar relief measure in June last year.



The pick-up in inflationary pressure was mainly due to the sustained surge in food and energy costs as well as the strength of the local economy which exerted greater upward pressures on housing rents and, to a lesser extent, on prices of various goods and services.



Uncertain outlook

The department said the inflation outlook for the rest of the year remains uncertain, due to the volatile international food and energy prices.



The pace of economic expansion in the period ahead will also affect the extent of the domestically generated inflationary pressure. Nevertheless, the relief measures the Chief Executive announced last week and in the 2008-09 Budget will help to lower the headline inflation, notably in the latter part of the year.



June saw year-on-year increases in the price of food (excluding meals bought away from home) rise 18.9%. Foods with large price hikes were rice (64%), beef (50.8%), pork (48.2%), canned meat (39.2%), edible oils (32.2%), freshwater fish (27.7%) and other meat (26.8%).



Year-on-year increases were also recorded in electricity, gas and water (7.4%), meals bought away from home (6.4%), housing (6.3%), miscellaneous goods (5.6%), transport (3.3%), miscellaneous services (1.8%), clothing and footwear (1.4%), and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1.1%). A year-on-year fall was recorded for durable goods (1.9%).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Eating up your cash
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The hole in your pocket just got bigger.

Hong Kong's consumer prices rose 6.1 percent in June over a year earlier - the most in almost 11 years - as higher fuel and food costs continued to raise the cost of basic necessities, the government announced yesterday.

Last month's inflation figure was the highest since August 1997, eclipsing May's 5.7 percent rise in prices.

It was also higher than the 5.8 percent expected by analysts.

Hong Kong families had to pay 18.9 percent more for food last month than they did in June last year, the government said.

Food prices were mainly affected by floods in Guangdong province, a main source of Hong Kong's fresh food, said Citi economist Joe Lo.

Price increases for rice and freshwater fish accelerated the most out of all the major food items.

Rice prices last month surged 64 percent compared with June last year, while freshwater fish cost households 27.7 percent more.

"Prices have gone up crazily," lamented 78-year-old grandmother Chiu Ah-hing. "Last year I could use HK$5 to buy two catties of choi sum. It now costs me HK$12 for only one catty."

In order to cope, Chiu said she bargained with the vegetable stall seller, who agreed to give her a HK$1 discount if she buys two catties at a time.

"But that doesn't help much," she said.

The inflation scourge is also taking a heavy toll on transportation companies, with bus operators and airlines feeling the pinch of soaring fuel costs.

Transport International (0062), parent company of Kowloon Motor Bus, issued a profit warning yesterday, saying it expects KMB to report a loss in the first half because diesel-fuel prices have more than doubled since the last time it applied for a fare increase.

Cathay Pacific Airways (0293) and three other carriers also asked the Civil Aviation Department for permission to raise their fuel surcharges.

Transport prices rose 3.3 percent last month compared with June last year, after bus-fare hikes took effect on June 8. Housing costs rose by 6.3 percent, while costs for electricity, gas and water increased by 7.4 percent.

JPMorgan economist Qian Wang expects Hong Kong's inflation to accelerate further in the coming months. Housing inflation rates are expected to keep rising, Wang said, as private housing rents continue to go up.

Sherman Chan, an economist with Moodys Economy.com, said: "Skyrocketing food prices, especially for rice ... have weighed heavily on household budgets."

Consumer sentiment is expected to further weaken amid persistently high inflation. The recently announced government relief measures will do little to buoy consumers' appetite for spending, Chan added.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Squeeze on public with more price hikes likely
The Standard
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The rise in electricity fees will likely be the first of several by public utilities and transportation firms as inflation bites into people's pockets.

Taxi, tram, bus and minibus operators argue that they need to raise fares to cover rising fuel prices and higher operating costs.

In August, Hong Kong Tramways, which runs the cheapest mode of public transport locally, said it was seeking government approval to raise fares by 25 percent, the first increase by the tram operator in 12 years. Some of the extra income is to be used to improve services.

The government, meanwhile, is consulting the public on tunnel tolls.

This followed a hike in August by the Western Harbour Tunnel while the Eastern tunnel is also looking at raising tolls. A consultancy has proposed several options to improve traffic flow, including increasing the toll of the Cross- Harbour Tunnel while decreasing those at the Eastern and Western tunnels.

Transport operators have said the toll rises are one of the factors forcing them to funnel some of the costs to passengers.

Taxi associations recently proposed a 4 to 8 percent fare adjustment. If approved, the flagfall and charge for the first two kilometers will go up to HK$20 for urban taxis while for taxis in the New Territories and Lantau it will go up to HK$16.50 and HK$15, respectively.

Kowloon Motor Bus has proposed a fare hike of 8.6 percent while license holders for green minibuses have threatened to increase fares if the government does not allow them to expand passenger capacity from 16 to 20 seats. The Legislative Council will discuss fare proposals for trams and taxis on Friday.

The government has vowed to counter the impact of rising fares, and other living costs, with a series of measures, including the minimum wage, which comes into effect on May 1, and expansion of the HK$600 transportation monthly subsidy to include all low- income workers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Home cooking in new towns hard hit by inflation
The Standard
Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tung Chung residents are the worst hit by inflation when compared with three other new towns.

According to a poll by the Federation of Trade Unions, a home-cooked meal of two dishes and a soup costs HK$88.50 in Tung Chung as against HK$80 in Tin Shui Wai, Ma On Shan and Tseung Kwan O.

The FTU blames this on the corporations that control the food stores and wet markets.

The federation's social policies committee visited 28 wet markets in the four new towns, none of which has wet markets run by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

The committee said the price in June for two dishes and a soup in Tung Chung was 6.6 percent higher than the average price in the 18 districts.

The federation's Tung Chung district councillor Tang Ka-piu said the two wet markets in Tung Chung are run by The Link.

"Tung Chung is quite far from other towns. Residents cannot afford to travel to other towns to buy food," he said. However, while prices in the other three new towns were lower, their district councillors still had complaints. For instance, Tseung Kwan O residents have 11 wet markets from which to choose. However, getting to them can be difficult.

"There are three larger wet markets in Tseung Kwan O but they are scattered around and there's a 15-minute walk between any of them," FTU Tseung Kwan O district councillor Kan Siu-kei said.

He also suggested district planning at Tseung Kwan O is not sufficiently diverse to meet the needs of different classes of residents.

The rent rises at wet markets in Ma On Shan are the cause of the rise in food prices, according to district councillor Leung Yiu-choi.

"Larger wet markets at Sunshine City and Heng On are run by the same corporation so the prices are easily controlled. It is not easy for the smaller wet markets to compete," he said.

Rents and air-conditioning bills have gone up 20 to 30 percent since wet markets were taken over by The Link, according to some of the stall tenants.

The FTU's social policies committee vice chairman Mak Mei-kuen urged the government to develop more wet markets to give more choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
$88.5整兩餸一湯東涌最貴
2011年08月11日(四)


【本報訊】柴米油鹽樣樣加,家庭主婦想盡辦法左慳右慳。有團體調查東涌、馬鞍山、天水圍、將軍澳四區共二十八個街市,結果發現,東涌街市的價格最貴,買兩餸一湯需要八十八元五角,比今年初高百分之八點六。馬鞍山、天水圍及將軍澳三區的食物價格相近,平均約為八十一元。

在尚德邨居住十四年的陳太說,將軍澳區街市價格貴得離譜:「一塊豆腐要三元,豬肉又比其他區貴幾蚊,有時真係寧願搭車跨區去觀塘買餸。」陳太謂,在觀塘買餸比將軍澳便宜約兩成,她每星期去觀塘區街市掃貨兩次,買齊所需餸菜。

大財團壟斷 小市民難捱

工聯會社會事務委員會副主任麥美娟指,通脹逼人,家庭主婦買餸要多走幾間街市格價。她批評政府對新市鎮的規劃不當,間接令區內物價上升:「好多街市被大財團壟斷,附近又無街邊舖抗衡大財團街市,小市民根本揀無可揀。」她促請政府在上述四區興建食環署街市,讓市民有更多選擇。

「兩餸一湯指數」是指買齊作料烹煮梅菜蒸鯇魚、菜心炒牛肉及番茄薯仔瘦肉湯的買餸錢,用以反映基層家庭受通脹影響的每月開支變化。
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tougher times loom
The Standard Excerpt
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hong Kong's inflation rate for July has just been released. It's a whopping 7.9 percent - the highest year-over-year increase in the past 16 years.

I'm sure everyone can tell even without the help of figures. Many are also asking whether inflation has peaked.

Let's keep our fingers crossed as we bite our lips. While the inflation immediately before us appears to be very high, it'll all hinge on the global economic situation in the medium and longer term, and how commodity prices move in a low-interest environment.

One will have to watch the mainland. We'll know soon if its inflation already peaked, or will hit the apex in August after seeing the CPI jump to 6.5 percent in July from a year earlier.

Despite the rise, a weaker-than-expected gain in industrial production may signal a moderated growth that will help cool price pressure.

The situation in the United States also bears close scrutiny. Its inflation has been modest so far compared to other countries. That's because America has exported inflation to trading partners with its rounds of quantitative easing.

***

The SAR's high July inflation rate is blamed mainly on soaring private housing rents, pork prices, and charges for package tours.

Flat rents surged 16.4 percent year-on-year last month. According to Centaline, the average rent at major private estates was HK$20.30 per square foot - only 10 HK cents lower than the 1997 peak of HK$20.40 psf.

Will rents continue climbing? Property prices will have a bearing on this. Judging from recent signs, it seems a correction is occurring in the property sector, with owners slashing asking prices to facilitate sales, while prices at land auctions fall below market expectations.

***

In hindsight, the launch of the SAR government's iBond couldn't have been more timely. Holders stand to gain as inflation hits new highs.

As I've said, the iBond is generous by design, and there is no match elsewhere. Compared to equity markets - which are still undergoing correction - the iBond is surely a winner.

Maybe there are now people who regret not subscribing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Inflation pressure eases
The Standard
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hongkongers can breathe a sigh of relief as inflation continues to ease and economists expect prices to dip further in the first half next year.

The consumer price index rose 5.7 percent in November from a year earlier, down 0.1 percentage point from October, but sharply lower than July's peak of 7.9 percent, Census and Statistics Department data showed.

"Price pressures on both the external and domestic fronts are likely to ease in the coming quarters, alongside the recent retreat of global food and commodity prices and a slower growth of the local economy," a department spokesman said.

Underlying inflation - which excludes government subsidies such as public housing rent waiver, power subsidy and rates concessions of HK$1,500 - stood at 6.4 percent for the third consecutive month.

Earlier hikes in private housing rents and food prices continued to be the largest contributors to inflation.

Home food prices jumped 11.5 percent in November year on year, while rents climbed 9.6 percent.

"With China now shifting toward disinflation and global food and commodity prices off the boil, consumer prices in Hong Kong are finally trending down," said Donna Kwok, greater China economist at HSBC. "As volatility in global trade continues to spill over ... cyclical price pressures should decline through most of the first half in 2012."

Analysts also believe a slower appreciation of the yuan will ease the upward pressure on food prices.

Utilities costs fell 16 percent last month thanks to the subsidies. The SAR's two power companies, however, are seeking to drastically raise electricity fees next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
超市狂加價 豆豉鯪魚貴34%
超通脹加後難減 大罐午餐肉30元

2012年04月17日 星期二
經濟日報







食物通脹高企,消委會抽查3大超市42類貨品發現,逾半去年平均售價升幅超去年通脹,其中罐頭魚和罐頭肉加幅逾一成,一款豆豉鯪魚較前年貴34.4%。

有入口商直言罐頭價格加後難減,指超市大罐裝午餐肉正試闖30元一罐大關。

消委會比較3大超市200項貨品過去兩年的平均價格,整體上升5.1%,表面上升幅與綜合消費物價指數5.3%的升幅相若,但逾8成貨品去年售價較前年貴,42類貨品中,罐頭魚及牛油的升幅最高,達15%,其中鷹金錢豆豉鯪魚及珠江橋牌豆豉鯪魚,分別按年貴34.4%及21.8%。

加價未企穩 不時做特價

本報定期監察惠康及百佳兩大超市的罐頭食品價格(見表),其中水仙花牌五香肉丁自前年至今,已分別加價75.8%及40%,珠江橋牌豆豉鯪魚的加幅亦達33.5及44.7%。

有罐頭入口商坦言,午餐肉和豆豉鯪魚罐頭入口價過去半年僅升一成,豆豉鯪魚和大罐裝火腿豬肉一箱48罐,由730元加至800元,平均每罐批發價16.6 元。不過,大罐裝火腿豬肉超市價正逼近30元大關,該入口商指,超市現已試售正價29.9元,但「暫未能企穩」,所以不時都做特價22.9元。

他指,豆豉鯪魚零售由每罐12.9至13.9元,加至19.9元,現已企穩21.9元,毋須頻做特價,所以不排除之後會進一步彈上正價24.9元,特價時才售21.9元。

港九罐頭洋酒伙食行商會副理事長李廣林預計,內地放棄「保八」(GDP年增長率8%),經濟增長放緩,通脹壓力減,料罐頭價格已大致企穩,但難望掉頭回落。

事實上,消委會的調查顯示,超市貨品售價去年加多減少。在42組貨品當中,僅家居清潔用品及葡萄酒分別減價1.9%及0.5%,其餘的平均售價上升1.2%至15%。

工資租金上漲 加價主因

除了牛油及罐頭魚的平均價升幅達15%,消委會特別點出成人奶粉總平均售價亦錄得顯著升幅,達12.3%,其他錄得逾一成升幅的貨品,包括雞蛋(14.2%)、包裝蛋糕(13.4%)、罐頭肉(11.9%)及牙膏(10.3%)等。

浸大財務及決策學系副教授麥萃才表示,中央今年目標將內地通脹控制在4%以內,有助紓緩因內地進口食品造成的加價壓力,而人民幣今年升值步伐將較去年緩慢,估計超市今年的加價壓力主要來自營運成本上漲,如工資及租金等。

惠康及百佳發言人均表示,受人民幣持續升值、原材料價格上升等因素影響,造成價格上調壓力。惠康指出,調查證明穩定貨品價格措施有效。百佳亦指,調查反映超市已盡量承擔部分上漲成本。
 

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If I could be anyone...
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An inflation rate of 8% is far beyond normal, and the rates exemplified by the article on food are even more ridiculous.

What are the reasons HK is experience so much inflation (I have an idea, but would rather not say)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Much of our food is imported, and with the USD being devalued, it costs more to import. The Chinese yuan has appreciated quite a lot in recent years, which will hit a lot of things hard.

Asset inflation is also spurred by the USD devaluation. With interest rates being so low, there is little incentive to earn 0.01% interest by keeping it in the bank. So people with money go buy assets, such as property.
 
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