Issue 16-118: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

June 17, 2016

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

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 1.7% declines to 1.6% when food is excluded from the index, and increases to 2.3% when energy is excluded as well.

The overall cost of food rose by 2.5% since May of last year, with the cost of both groceries purchased from stores (+2.5%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+2.3%) increasing. The rise in grocery prices was mainly due to increases in the cost of fish and other seafood (+7.1%), fresh fruit (+3.9%), and meat (+3.3%). For consumers making their own caffeinated beverages, the cost of tea and coffee went down (-2.9%) since last May.

The cost of shelter (+1.1%) increased slightly in May, 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 May 2015, while the price of both piped gas (‑13.2%) and fuel oil and other fuel (-9.7%) fell.

The transportation index (+1.7%) increased since May of last year, with the cost of both private transportation (+1.3%) and public transportation (+3.8%) going up. Within the transportation category, the cost of gasoline fell (-8.6%) in May, marking the fourth consecutive month in which gasoline prices fell on a year-over-year basis.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear increased (+1.0%) in May, with the cost of both clothing (+0.3%) and footwear (+2.6%) going up.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.7%), recreation, education & reading (+2.6%), household operations & furnishings (+2.3%), and health & personal care (+1.3%). Some notable items with price increases within these categories are beer purchased from stores (+5.7%), reading material and other printed matter (+4.9%), and recreation (+3.0%).

Consumer prices rose in Vancouver (+2.0%), above the rate of inflation for all of British Columbia, while in Victoria the increase in prices (+1.7%) in May was in line with B.C. as a whole.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.5% (unadjusted) in May. Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 1.9% in Ontario, to a low of 0.7% in Quebec.

Source: Statistics Canada