Food prices soared 14.2% in August.

Overall consumer prices rose 3.5% YoY in August than the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase of 3.3% YoY in July 2019, reported the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD).

Netting out the effects of the government’s one-off relief measures, inflation was at 3.4% YoY in August, larger than the 3.2% YoY recorded in July, mainly due to the enlarged increases in the prices of pork and the increases in inbound and outbound transport fares.

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Excluding meals bought away from home, food prices soared 14.2% YoY in August. Other components that recorded price increases include housing (3.9%), transport (2.9%), miscellaneous goods (2.8%), meals bought away from home (2.1%) and miscellaneous services (1.3%).

In contrast, the prices of electricity, gas and water (-5.2%); durable goods (-1.5%) as well as clothing and footwear (-0.6%) decreased in August.

The composite prices of alcoholic drinks and tobacco for August remained unchanged over a year earlier.

Taking the first eight months of 2019 together, prices climbed by 2.8% YoY over a year earlier; whilst for three months ending in August, prices recorded a 3.3% YoY climb.

A government spokesman said that the rise in the underlying consumer price inflation rate to 3.4% in August was mainly due to an accelerated increase in pork prices amidst continued disruptions to the supply of fresh pork. Price pressures on other major consumer price index components remained largely moderate.

“Looking ahead, modest global inflation and sluggish local economic growth should continue to help contain overall inflation. Yet, food inflation will probably stay elevated in the near term due to high prices of fresh pork,” the report added.