Friday, July 10, 2020
 
Columnist
Martin Hennecke

Workers fear for jobs as inflation dips
 
22/05/2020
 
More than one-fifth of employees worry that the coronavirus pandemic would impact their work in the future, pension consultant Gain Miles found, while overall consumer prices rose 1.9 percent year-on-year in April. The agency interviewed 513 staff with Mandatory Provident Fund accounts and found 43 percent of them have been worrying about a drop in their companies' business, while 29 percent were concerned they may need to take pay cuts or unpaid leaves. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they worried about losing their jobs, and around 40 percent hoped their companies would offer them emergency financial support, said Gain Miles. Employees have become more active when managing their MPF portfolios and returns from half of the funds under MPF portfolios have started to recover last month, the agency said. The Composite Consumer Price Index grew 1.9 percent year-on-year in April, compared with a 2.3 percent increase in March. This is partly due to the higher base of comparison caused by the lowering of the rates concession ceiling starting from April 2019, from HK$2,500 per quarter for each rateable tenement in earlier periods to HK$1,500, said the government. Netting out the effects of the government's one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate grew 2.3 percent from a year before in April, smaller than the 2.6 percent rise March, mainly due to the smaller increases in private housing rentals and decreases in the fuel cost variation charge for Towngas, government data showed. "Inflationary pressure is likely to ease further in the near term. Domestic cost pressures should continue to abate amid the severe economic recession," said a government spokesman.
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