Year-on-year, prices were higher for electricity, gas and water (10.9 percent vs 10.2 percent in January); food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.9 percent vs 2.3 percent), particularly food excluding meals bought away from home (4.6 percent vs 1.9 percent) and transport (2.1 percent vs 1.4 percent). In addition, cost rebounded significantly for miscellaneous services (4 percent vs -1.5 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 1.3 percent, after decreasing 0.1 percent in January.
Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures rose to 3.1 percent from 1.7 percent in January. The larger increase was mainly attributable to the difference in the timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in mid-February this year but in late January last year, resulting in a notable year-on-year increase in the charges for package tours in February 2018.
A Government spokesman said that inflation pressure in early 2018 remained moderate and added that with the continued expansion in global and local economies, underlying inflation pressure may increase somewhat over the course of 2018. In spite of this, the inflation rate is expected to be contained at a moderate level.