A vendor points to fruits at the Yau Ma Tei fruit market in Hong Kong on Nov 22, 2022. (PHOTO / AFP)

HONG KONG – Overall consumer prices in Hong Kong rose 2.4 percent in January year-on-year, a larger increase than 2 percent in December 2022, the Census and Statistics Department announced on Thursday.

Netting out the effects of the government’s one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 2.4 percent, also larger than the previous month’s 2 percent, the department said in a statement.

Compared with last December, price increases were recorded for electricity, gas, and water; basic food; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; miscellaneous services; miscellaneous goods; transport; and alcoholic drinks and tobacco.

READ MORE: Hong Kong's November inflation up 1.8%

On the other hand, a year-on-year decrease in price was recorded for durable goods and housing.

The government said the underlying consumer price inflation rate picked up to 2.4 percent last month partly due to the early arrival of the Lunar New Year this year. 

"It would thus be more meaningful to examine the figures for January and February combined, when available, to assess the underlying inflation situation," said a government spokesman.

The increase in food prices accelerated. Prices of energy-related items soared further and those of clothing and footwear continued to increase visibly.  

Price pressures on other major inflation components remained broadly in check, according to the statement.

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Going forward, domestic cost pressures may increase alongside the economic recovery. External price pressures will likely remain notable, the government said, adding that overall inflation would face some upward pressure, but should remain moderate in the near term.