Issue 16-160: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

August 19 2016

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

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 2.1% increases to 2.7% when energy is excluded from the index, and decreases to 2.0% when food is excluded.

The overall cost of food rose by 2.2% since July of last year, with the cost of both groceries purchased from stores (+1.8%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+3.1%) increasing. The rise in grocery prices was mainly due to increases in the cost of fish and other seafood (+8.6%), other food products (+3.5%), and fresh fruit (+2.7%).

The cost of shelter went up 1.6% in July, with costs for both renters (+0.9%) and home owners (+2.4%) rising. Within the shelter category, the cost of electricity increased (+4.1%) since July 2015, while the price of both piped gas (‑13.2%) and fuel oil and other fuel (-3.6%) fell.

The transportation index increased 2.1% since July of last year, with the cost of both private transportation (+1.6%) and public transportation (+5.0%) going up. Within the transportation category, the cost of inter-city public transportation went up (+6.4%) in July, while the cost of gasoline fell (-8.6%), marking the sixth consecutive month in which gasoline prices declined on a year-over-year basis.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear increased 3.6% in July, with the cost of both clothing (+3.9%) and footwear (+6.0%) going up.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+3.3%), recreation, education & reading (+3.0%), health & personal care (+1.9%), and household operations & furnishings (+1.4%). Some notable items with price increases within these categories are reading material and other printed matter (+9.6%), and liquor (+5.7%) and beer (+4.1%) purchased from stores.

Consumer prices in Vancouver rose 2.6% in July, above the rate of inflation for British Columbia as a whole, while in Victoria the increase in prices (+2.0%) was slightly less than B.C. as a whole.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.3% (unadjusted) in July. Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 3.4% in Newfoundland and Labrador, to a low of 0.2% in Quebec. The rate of inflation in B.C. ranks third highest amongst the provinces.  

Source: Statistics Canada