Consumer prices decreased slightly for Hong Kong households with less spending power in May, providing a modicum of relief amid broader economic malaise.

The territory’s headline consumer price index rose 2.6 per cent year-on-year, according to the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. That’s down from growth of 2.7 per cent in April and matching a consensus forecast from economists surveyed.

A breakdown of households by spending bracket suggests that those with lower expenditures saw price pressures ease last month: for the 50 per cent of all households that spend just HK$4,500-18,499 every month, growth in prices fell to 2.7 per cent year-on-year, down from growth of 3 per cent the month prior.

That matched another reading of 2.7 per cent inflation for households that spend HK$18,500-32,499 each month, about 30 per cent of the total. For the ten per cent of households with higher monthly expenditures of HK$32,500-65,999, inflation also held steady from April at 2.4 per cent growth year-on-year.

While the of cost of housing, dining out, food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco, transport and miscellaneous goods and services rose for all households, composite indices for durable goods, clothing and utilities all fell. Housing prices rose most for middle-expenditure households (5 per cent), but rents rose fastest for those with low spending power (5.1 per cent.)

Broadly speaking, though, prices for key categories of goods tended to rise more quickly for the lower 80 per cent of households covered by the survey and more slowly for households in the top 10 per cent. Whether in relative or absolute terms, it’s good to be rich in Hong Kong.

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