Hong Kong’s consumer prices rose for a third month after government subsidies for power and housing costs expired and as the city’s economic recovery encouraged consumer spending.
Prices climbed 0.5 percent in November from a year earlier, the government said today on its Web site, after gaining 2.2 percent in October. The median estimate of seven economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.8 percent increase.
Inflation is likely to be restrained in the first half of 2010 by excess global capacity, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in a Dec. 16 report. The city’s central bank cautioned that rents have rebounded along with real-estate prices and inflation may pick up “more notably” in the second half of next year.
“Through the first half of next year, inflation should be mild,” said Kelvin Lau, a Hong Kong-based economist at Standard Chartered Plc. “It may start to pick up in the second half due to rising rentals.” Lau forecasts consumer prices will rise 2 percent in 2010.
Lower inflation in November compared with October was partly because of changes to government rental concessions in those months in 2008, Lau said.
Hong Kong snapped three months of deflation in September. Prices are climbing partly because the government ended subsidies for electricity in August and public housing rentals in September. The economy has expanded for two quarters after a yearlong recession and the jobless rate fell to a nine-month low in the three months ended Nov. 30.
The Hong Kong Housing Society, which manages 33,000 flats, said Dec. 18 that it will raise rents 3 percent for the fiscal year starting in April, the first increase in 12 years. The society is a non-profit organization providing subsidized housing.