Year-on-year, prices eased for housing (2.9 percent compared to 3.0 percent in November); food (2.9 percent compared to 3.0 percent); electricity, gas & water (3.8 percent compared to 4.0 percent); transport (1.8 percent compared to 1.6 percent); and miscellaneous services (1.2 percent compared to 3.1 percent). Also, cost declined further for clothing & footwear (-1.5 percent compared to -0.2 percent) and durable goods (-2.3 percent compared to -1.8 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.4 percent after a 0.2 percent gain in the prior month.
Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures - such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants; etc. -, was at 2.9 percent, unchanged from the previous month.
A Government spokesman said that the underlying inflation rate held largely stable at 2.9 percent in December 2018. For 2018 as a whole, the underlying inflation rate averaged 2.6 percent. In the near term, the upside risks to inflation should be contained, as imported inflation has stayed moderate and as pressures on local rentals have weakened somewhat of late. The Government will monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.