24 May 2019
The price increases cover various aspects of a Hongkonger's daily life such as food, utilities, transport, medical expenses and leisure. Photo: Reuters
The price increases cover various aspects of a Hongkonger's daily life such as food, utilities, transport, medical expenses and leisure. Photo: Reuters

New Year starts with price increases

As Hongkongers greeted the New Year with fond hopes of a better life, they also learned that the costs of goods and services affecting various aspects of their daily life have just gone up.

The price increases covered food, utilities, transport, medical expenses and leisure, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the operators’ announcements.

From 4 a.m. Tuesday, McDonald’s raised the prices of some its fast-food offerings, including extra-value breakfasts, extra-value meals, happy meals, and several individual dishes and drinks, by 60 HK cents to HK$1.5. The average increase was 2 percent.

The restaurant chain said rising rents and prices of ingredients have pushed up operating costs, prompting them to adjust prices.

It said it did its best to limit the range of affected food items, noting that it understands well the pressure from inflation faced by the public.

As for utilities, both CLP Holdings (00002.HK) and HK Electric Investments (02638.HK) raised their tariffs by 1.9 percent from Monday, with the former’s new tariff being HK$1.15 per unit of electricity and that charged by the latter being HK$1.125.

Meanwhile, the 30,000 spaces in 151 parking lots managed by the Housing Authority saw their fees rise between 6 and 8 percent from Monday, with the hourly rate up HK$1 and HK$5 for the Day Pass and 24-hour Pass, respectively.

In addition, Hong Kong Tramways is awaiting the Executive Council’s approval of its application to raise its fare to HK$2.6, while both New World First Bus and Citybus are also asking for a 12-percent price hike.

As for medical expenses, some private hospitals raised their maternity charges, including the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital and the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital in Tsuen Wan.

People also have to pay more to enter the Ocean Park from New Year’s Day. The entrance fees for an adult and a child were raised by 9 percent to HK$480 and to HK$240 respectively, following an average 5.8 percent hike by Hong Kong Disneyland last month, although prices for SmartFun annual passes remain unchanged.

Also starting from Monday, the Hongkong Post adjusted the price of stamps for local letters weighing 30 grams or less from HK$1.7 to HK$2.

Lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions urged the government to include more short-term measures, in addition to giveaways, to ease citizens’ financial burden in the 2018-19 budget scheduled to be unveiled next month, such as lowering rents for residents of public rental housing, tax refunds, rental control and support for the elderly and the poor.

Labor representatives made such suggestions to Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po during a meeting two weeks ago, Mak said.

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