Issue 16-240: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

December 22, 2016

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) climbed 1.6% (unadjusted) in November, compared to the same month of the previous year. This marks a decrease in the year-over-year rate of inflation since October, when it was 2.1%.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 1.6% went up to 2.4% when both food and energy were excluded from the index.

The overall cost of food decreased slightly (-0.9%) since November of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores decreased (-2.6%), while the cost of meals purchased from restaurants increased (+2.6%) during the same time period. Within the food category, the largest drop in prices were observed for fresh vegetables (-8.3%), fresh fruit (-6.1%), and meat (-3.8%), while fish and other seafood (+8.6%) was the only major category to experience a rise in prices compared to November of last year.

The cost of shelter (+2.3%) went up in November, with costs for both renters (+1.2%) and home owners (+2.8%) rising. Within the shelter category, the cost of electricity (+3.9%) increased, while the price of piped gas (‑5.0%) fell since November 2015.

The transportation index (+1.7%) increased since November of last year, with the cost of both private transportation (+1.8%) and public transportation (+0.6%) going up. Within the private transportation category, the cost of gasoline (-3.9%) declined since November 2015.
The overall cost of clothing and footwear decreased (‑0.4%) in November, with the cost of clothing (+0.1%) almost unchanged and footwear (-1.6%) going down.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for household operations and furnishings (+3.2%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.7%), recreation, education and reading (+2.7%), and health and personal care (+1.4%). Within these categories, some items with significant increases include reading material and other printed matter (+10.7%), household furnishings (+5.9%), and beer purchased from stores (+5.1%).

Consumer prices rose in Vancouver (+1.5%) and Victoria (+1.6%) in November, both very close to the rate of inflation for British Columbia as a whole.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.2% (unadjusted) in November. Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 3.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador, to a low of 0.0% in Saskatchewan. The rate of inflation in B.C. ranks fourth highest amongst the provinces.