Thursday, Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department announced that the consumer price index or CPI rose 1.2% year-over-year in March, bigger than a 0.8% increase in February. The consumer price inflation came in line with economists' expectations. A year ago, consumer prices were up 4.2%.

The statistical office said the year-on-year change in the composite consumer prices in March was affected by the government's one-off relief measures, especially the implementation of electricity subsidy. After adjusting for these effects, the underlying inflation rate stood at 2.6% in March, up from 2.1% in February.

In March, alcoholic beverages and drinks showed the fastest rise in prices of 22%. However, utilities showed the steepest fall in prices, by 42.9%.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, average monthly consumer prices were almost unchanged during the January to March period.

In the first quarter, the Composite CPI rose 1.7% compared to the same period of the previous year.

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