Issue 17-72: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

June 23, 2017

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) climbed 1.9% (unadjusted) in May compared to the same month of the previous year.  This marks a small decrease in the year-over-year rate of inflation since April, when it was 2.1 %.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 1.9% rises to 2.2% when food is excluded from the index, and declines to 1.5% when energy is excluded.

The overall cost of food went up slightly (0.3%) since May of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went down (-0.6%), while the cost of meals purchased from restaurants increased (+2.4%) during the same time period.  Within the food category, the highest rise in prices were for fish and other seafood (+4.1%), fresh fruit (+3.4%), and coffee and tea (+3.3%).  Prices fell in May for bakery and other cereal products (-1.8%), dairy products and eggs (-1.6%), and meat (‑0.5%).

The cost of shelter (+2.2%) went up in May, with prices for both renters (+1.3%) and home owners (+2.1%) rising.  Within the shelter category, the cost of piped gas (+9.1%), fuel oil and other fuel (+8.1%), and electricity (+3.4%) all increased since May 2016.

The transportation index (+2.5%) increased since May 2016, with the price of both private transportation (+2.2%) and public transportation (+4.4%) going up.  There was a large increase in the price of gasoline (+10.2%) since May 2016, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+5.8%) compared to a year ago.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear went up (+0.6%) in May, with prices increasing for both clothing (+0.8%) and footwear (+0.3%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for recreation, education and reading (+3.3%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.6%), health and personal care (+2.3%), and household operations and furnishing (+0.9).  Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include reading material and other printed matter (+13.0%), cigarettes (+3.5%), and recreation (+3.0%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+1.8%) and Victoria (+2.0%) in May.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.3% (unadjusted) in May.  Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 3.0% in Newfoundland and Labrador to a low of 0.5% in Nova Scotia.  The rate of inflation in B.C. ranks third highest amongst the provinces.

Note:  Statistics Canada will release the June Consumer Price Index on July 21, 2017.

Data source: Statistics Canada