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1.8% inflation in October

Overall consumer prices rose 1.8% in October year-on-year, smaller than the 4.4% increase in September, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government's one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 1.7%, slightly less than September's 1.8%.   Compared with October last year, price increases were recorded for electricity, gas and water; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; basic food; alcoholic drinks and tobacco; transport; miscellaneous services, miscellaneous goods and housing.   On the other hand, a year-on-year decrease in price was recorded for durable goods.    The Government said that underlying consumer price inflation remained moderate in October.   The year-on-year increase in food prices showed some moderation, though remained relatively fast. Prices of clothing and footwear continued to record a visible increase, while those of energy-related items rose sharply. Price pressur

No fees for loan scheme

Banks participating in the 100% Personal Loan Guarantee Scheme will aid loan applicants without levying any application or handling fee, and borrowers should not make applications via a third party, HKMC Insurance said today.   It made the statement in response to a news report about some people claiming to help those who are unemployed make applications for the scheme using false instruments at a handling fee.   Participating banks will try their best to assist applicants, it said, adding that borrowers who pay any fees to a third party will suffer a direct financial loss.   The statement said banks reviewing loan applications will exercise professional expertise, judgement and care to conduct customer due diligence and verify borrowers' eligibility. HKMC Insurance will also conduct checks and strive to ensure approved applications meet the requirements.   Any suspected illicit behaviour such as producing false declarations or using false instruments will be reported to law enforcement agencies, it noted.   Call participating banks or the loan guarantee scheme hotline at 2536 0392 for enquiries.
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