Year-on-year, cost of electricity, gas and water declined further (-4.7 percent compared to -4.6 percent in January), mainly due to a Government electricity subsidy introduced in January and prices of clothing & footwear fell (-1.5 percent compared to 0.3 percent). Additionally, cost eased for food (3.0 percent compared to 3.3 percent), of which meals bought away from home (2.0 percent compared to 2.7 percent) while food excluding meals bought away from home (4.9 percent compared to 4.2 percent); transport (1.4 percent compared to 2.3 percent); and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.6 percent compared to 3.1 percent).
On the other hand, prices rose at a faster pace for miscellaneous goods (1.4 percent compared to 1.3 percent) and inflation was steady for housing (3.0 percent, the same as in January) and miscellaneous services (1.6 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went down 0.2 percent, the same pace as in the previous 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 2.6 percent, lower than 3.0 percent in January.
A Government spokesman commented that, in the near term, the upside risks to inflation should remain contained. “The earlier moderation in fresh-letting residential rentals could have a mitigating effect in the period ahead, and external price pressures have also stayed moderate recently. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people”