Issue 16-101: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

May 20, 2016

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) climbed 1.8% (unadjusted) in April, compared to the same month of the previous year. This marks a slight uptick in the year-over-year rate of inflation since March, when it was 1.7%.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 1.8% declines to 1.6% when food is excluded from the index, and increases to 2.3% when energy is excluded.

The overall cost of food rose by 3.5% since April of last year, with the cost of both groceries purchased from stores (+4.0%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+2.3%) increasing. The rise in grocery prices was mainly due to increases in the cost of fresh vegetables (+9.4%), fresh fruit (+8.0%), fish and other seafood (+4.9%), and meat (+4.6%). For consumers making their own caffeinated beverages, the cost of tea and coffee went down (-2.5%) since last April.

The cost of shelter (+1.1%) increased slightly in April, with costs for both renters (+0.9%) and home owners (+1.7%) going up. Within the shelter category, the cost of electricity increased (+4.1%) since April 2015, while the price of both piped gas (-13.2%) and fuel oil and other fuel (-14.4%) fell.

The transportation index (+1.3%) increased since April of last year, with the cost of both private transportation (+1.3%) and public transportation (+1.6%) going up. Within the transportation category, the cost of gasoline fell (-7.2%) in April, marking the third consecutive month in which gasoline prices fell.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear declined (-1.1%) in April, with the cost of both clothing (-1.8%) and footwear (-0.5%) going down.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for recreation, education & reading (+3.0%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+3.0%), health and personal care (+2.6%), and household operations and furnishings (+2.1%). Some notable items with price increases within these categories are alcoholic beverages purchased from stores (+5.3%), reading material and other printed matter (+4.9%), and recreation (+3.5%).

Consumer prices rose in Vancouver (+2.2%), above the rate of inflation for British Columbia as a whole, while in Victoria the increase in prices (+1.6%) in April was lower than that for B.C.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.7% (unadjusted) in April. Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 2.2% in New Brunswick, to a low of 1.0% in Quebec.

Source: Statistics Canada