Hong Kong's inflation rose to 5.4 per cent last month, the highest in more than a decade. The year-on-year increase was 0.1 of a percentage point higher than the underlying inflation rate in March. 'The pick-up in inflationary pressure in recent months was largely due to the upsurge in food prices ... the sustained strong economic growth also added pressure on prices and costs,' a government spokesman said. Last month's increase in the Consumer Price Index was the highest since January 1998. Food prices recorded the largest year-on-year increase of all CPI components, rising 19.4 per cent, while the cost of dining in restaurants went up 6 per cent. Pork again saw the greatest increase in prices, at 59.3 per cent, followed by beef, which jumped 51.4 per cent. Canned-meat prices were 44.5 per cent higher than a year before, trailed by edible oils, up 29 per cent, and rice, which rose 24.5 per cent. 'The inflation outlook is rather uncertain and will hinge a great deal on food-price movements in international markets, which are expected to be volatile,' the spokesman said. 'The elevated international oil prices, the exchange-rate movements as well as the strength of the local economy are also likely to continue to exert inflationary pressure.' The government said last Friday that it was sticking to its 4.5 per cent inflation forecast for this year, but Standard Chartered Bank regional economist Kelvin Lau Kin-heng estimated that full-year inflation would hit 5.2 per cent. He expected inflation to moderate in the second half of the year because food prices had started going up near the end of last year. Hong Kong Food Council member Lee Kwong-lam said the impact of the Sichuan earthquake on prices of food from the mainland was minimal. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said relief measures proposed in the budget would be implemented in July.