Issue 17-131 Consumer Price Index (CPI)

October 20, 2017

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.0% (unadjusted) in September compared to the same month of the previous year. The year-over-year rate of inflation was unchanged from August.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 2.0% climbs to 2.1% when food is excluded from the index, and declines to 1.7% when energy is excluded.

The overall cost of food climbed 1.9% since September of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went up (+1.8%), with the cost of meals purchased from restaurants also increasing (+2.5%) during the same time period. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh fruit (+6.5%), fresh vegetables (+6.4%), and fish and other seafood (+4.8%). Prices fell in September for dairy products and eggs (‑0.2%).

The cost of shelter went up in September (+3.1%), with prices for both renters (+1.2%) and home owners (+3.5%) rising. Within the shelter category, the cost of piped gas (+9.1%), fuel oil and other fuel (+7.2%), and electricity (+3.4%) all increased since September 2016.

The transportation index rose 2.8% since September 2016, with the price of both private transportation (+2.5%) and public transportation (+4.7%) going up. There was an increase in the price of gasoline (+8.9%) since September 2016, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+5.9%) compared to the previous year.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear fell (‑1.5%) in September as the price of clothing (‑2.6%) and footwear (‑1.4%) both saw decreases.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+3.1%), health and personal care (+2.3%), recreation, education and reading (+1.3%), and household operations and furnishing (+0.4). Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include reading material and other printed matter (+8.7%), cigarettes (+4.1%), and liquor (+3.1%) and beer (+2.7%) purchased from stores.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.3%) and Victoria (+1.7%) in September.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.6% (unadjusted) in September. The rate of inflation in B.C. (+2.0%) ranks the second highest amongst the provinces. The inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from a high of 2.4% in Prince Edward Island to a low of 1.0% in Quebec.

Source: Statistics Canada