An economist says prices in Hong Kong are on track to rise the most this year since the handover to Chinese rule, after consumer price inflation reached 5.7 per cent year on year last month. The composite consumer price index rose 0.3 percentage points in May, from 5.4 per cent in April. 'Full-year inflation will be over 6 per cent because it will continue to go up because of soaring oil prices and global food costs,' warned Raymond So Wai-man, associate professor of finance at Chinese University. Inflation in 1997 was 5.8 per cent. Soon after that, years of deflation set in. Last month's increase in the CPI was the highest since October 1997, when it also rose 5.7 per cent. Food prices recorded the largest year-on-year increase of all CPI components, rising 19.2 per cent. Still, the pace of food price increases slowed 0.2 percentage points from April. The cost of eating at restaurants was up 6.4 per cent year on year. The food items showing the biggest year-on-year increases last month were pork, up by 56.8 per cent, beef, up 50 per cent, and canned meat, up 45.7 per cent. Electricity, gas and water charges were up 6.9 per cent year on year last month, while housing costs were up 6 per cent. 'The inflation outlook is rather uncertain, due to volatile global food prices and the pickup of domestically generated inflationary pressure,' a government spokesman said. Hong Kong's inflation reached 4.9 per cent in the first five months this year, significantly higher than the government's full-year forecast of 4.5 per cent.