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Hong Kong Inflation Slows More Than Expected In January

Hong Kong's consumer price inflation eased for the fourth straight month in January at a faster-than- expected pace, figures from the Census and Statistics Department showed Monday.

The consumer price index rose 4.1 percent year-over-year in January, slower than December's 4.9 percent increase. Economists had forecast the inflation to ease to 4.4 percent.

The latest rate of inflation was the slowest since July last year, when prices had risen 4.0 percent.

Excluding one-off effects, the core inflation eased to 2.3 percent at the start of the year from 3.1 percent in December.

Utility costs surged 21.7 percent annually in January and housing costs grew by 8.3 percent.

"The visible moderation in the year-on-year rate of Composite CPI inflation was also partly due to the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in mid-February this year, but in late January last year," a government spokesman said.

"Looking ahead, inflationary pressures should be contained in the near term, as the soft international commodity prices and lower global inflation should keep imported inflation tame, while local cost pressures will likely stay moderate. "

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