Issue 16-29: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

February 19, 2016

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) climbed 2.3% (unadjusted) in January, compared to the same month of the previous year. This marks an up-tick in the year-over-year rate of inflation since December, when it was 1.9%.

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

The overall cost of food rose by 5.5% since January of last year, with the cost of both groceries purchased from stores (+7.1%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+2.3%) increasing. The rise in grocery prices was mainly due to significant increases in the cost of fresh vegetables (+26.2%), fresh fruit (+9.0%), and fish and other seafood (+8.5%).

The cost of shelter (+0.4%) increased slightly in January, with costs for both renters (+0.8%) and home owners (+0.6%) going up. Within the shelter category, the cost of electricity increased (+5.9%) since January 2015, while the price of both piped gas ( 17.8%) and fuel oil and other fuel (-14.6%) fell.

The transportation index (+3.4%) increased since January 2015, with the cost of both private transportation (+3.7%) and public transportation (+1.6%) going up. The cost of gasoline increased by 5.3%, marking the second month in a row that gas prices have gone up.
The overall cost of clothing and footwear increased (+1.8%) in January, with the cost of clothing going down (-0.6%) and footwear (+7.0%) increasing.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for recreation, education & reading (+3.1%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.3%), household operations and furnishings (+1.2%), and health & personal care (+0.9%).

Consumer prices rose in Vancouver (+2.5%), above the rate of inflation for British Columbia as a whole, while in Victoria the increase in prices (+1.9%) was lower than that for B.C.

Canada’s CPI rose 2.0% (unadjusted) in January. Provincial inflation rates ranged from a high of 2.4% in both New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, to a low of 1.6% in Quebec.

Source: Statistics Canada