Issue 16-181: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

September 23, 2016

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) climbed 2.0% (unadjusted) in August, compared to the same month of the previous year. This marks a small decrease in the year-over-year rate of inflation since July, when it was 2.1%.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 2.0% increases to 2.5% when energy is excluded from the index, and remains unchanged at 2.0% when food is excluded.

The overall cost of food rose by 2.2% since August of last year, with the cost of both groceries purchased from stores (+1.7%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+2.9%) increasing. Within the food category, the largest price increases were for fish and other seafood (+8.1%), fresh vegetables (+3.1%), and bakery and other cereal products (+2.7%), while the cost of coffee and tea (-4.9%) and meat (-0.3%) fell.

The cost of shelter (+1.7%) went up in August, with costs for both renters (+0.9%) and home owners (+2.4%) rising. Within the shelter category, the cost of electricity increased (+3.9%) since August 2015, while the price of both piped gas (‑13.3%) and fuel oil and other fuel (-3.3%) fell.

The transportation index (+1.7%) increased since August of last year, with the cost of both private transportation (+1.4%) and public transportation (+3.9%) going up. Within the transportation category, the cost of inter-city public transportation went up (+5.1%) in August, while the cost of gasoline fell (‑9.2%), marking the seventh consecutive month in which gasoline prices declined on a year-over-year basis.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear increased (+1.5%) in August, with the cost of both clothing (+0.3%) and footwear (+5.9%) going up.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.8%), health & personal care (+2.5%), recreation, education & reading (+2.4%), and household operations & furnishings (+2.4%). Some notable items with price increases within these categories are reading material and other printed matter (+9.6%), household furnishings (+4.8%), and liquor (+3.4%) and beer (+5.2%) purchased from stores.

Consumer prices rose in Vancouver (+2.4%) in August, above the rate of inflation for British Columbia as a whole, while in Victoria the increase in prices (+2.0%) was the same as for B.C. as a whole.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.1% (unadjusted) in August. Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 3.0% in Newfoundland and Labrador, to a low of 0.1% in Quebec. The rate of inflation in B.C. ranks third highest amongst the provinces.

Source: Statistics Canada