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Inflation stable

Beverage and tobacco prices rose over 12 per cent during the year ended March 2017

The Composite Consumer Price Index in April posted a marginal increase of 0.8 per cent year-on-year, slightly higher than the preceding month, when inflation was up 0.72 per cent, according to the latest data released by the city’s Statistics and Census Services (DSEC) yesterday.
DSEC noted that the minor increment observed was mainly attributable to ‘higher charges for eating out and outpatient services, as well as increase in tuition fees and rising gasoline prices.’
Prices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco have increased 8.44 per cent while those for education hit a 7.42 increase year-on-year.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages, which accounted for the largest share of household expenditure, also went up slightly by 0.69 per cent.
Among the prices for services and goods that registered a decrease are communications, down 5.57 per cent, housing (i.e.) actual and imputed rental, maintenance and repair, and fuels, down 1.41 per cent year-on-year.
The Composite CPI is calculated to reflect the impact of price changes on the general households in Macau. According to DSEC, households are divided into two groups: the CPI-A, which refers to nearly 50 per cent of the households in the city, with an average monthly expenditure of MOP10,000 to MOP29,999, and the CPI-B, which relates to some 30 per cent of local households, with an average monthly expenditure of MOP30,000 to MOP54,999. 
The CPI-A and CPI-B rose 0.77 per cent and 1.05 per cent, respectively, year-on-year. 

Month-to-month breakdown
On a monthly basis, the Composite CPI remained stable in April 2017, recording a minimal increase of 0.1 per cent. The DSEC noted that slightly increased charges for package tours and the new arrival of Summer clothing pushed up price indices for recreation and culture as well as for clothing and footwear, up 1.74 per cent and 1.70 per cent, respectively, month-to-month.
Whereas prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages also increased slightly from the previous month, up 0.1 per cent, the service noted that prices have retreated for various goods and services including communications (down 3.64 per cent), as well as alcoholic beverages and tobacco (down 0.24 per cent), housing and fuel (down 0.14 per cent) plus transport (down 0.1 per cent). Prices of food such as fresh fish, fresh pork, vegetables and fruits have also receded.
When compared to the previous month, the CPI increase for households with an average monthly expenditure of MOP30,000 to MOP54,999 (CPI-B), at 0.18 per cent, was higher than that for households with an average monthly expenditure of up to MOP29,999 (CPI-A), which rose 0.09 per cent. 

Year comparison
For the twelve months ended April 2017, the average Composite CPI rose 1.51 per cent from the previous period. The increase in price indices was driven by higher charges for beverages and tobacco, up 12.65 per cent, education, up 7.87 per cent, and transport, which posted an increase of 6.58 per cent.
The average CPI-A and CPI-B rose 1.40 per cent and 2.42 per cent, respectively, when compared to the previous period. 
Overall, the recent history of consumer price variation in Macau shows that annual inflation rates have gradually fallen since 2012, when the annual inflation rate was estimated at 6.11 per cent. It reached 5.50 per cent in 2013, 6.05 per cent in 2014, 4.56 per cent in 2015, and 2.37 in 2016.