Issue 17-150 Consumer Price Index (CPI)

November 17, 2017

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.0% (unadjusted) in October compared to the same month of the previous year. The year-over-year rate of inflation was down 0.1% from September.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 2.0% drops to 1.9% when food is excluded from the index, and declines to 1.9% when energy is excluded.

The overall cost of food climbed 2.5% since October of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went up (+2.5%), with the cost of meals purchased from restaurants also increasing (+2.6%) during the same time period. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh vegetables (+12.1%) and fish and other seafood (+5.7%). Prices fell in October for coffee and tea (‑1.7%).

The cost of shelter went up in October (+3.0%), with prices for both renters (+1.1%) and home owners (+3.7%) rising. Within the shelter category, the cost of fuel oil and other fuel (+3.8%) and electricity (+3.4%) increased since October 2016, while piped gas (‑0.4%) decreased.

The transportation index rose 2.7% since October 2016, with the price of both private transportation (+1.8%) and public transportation (+7.6%) going up. There was an increase in the price of gasoline (+5.0%) since October 2016, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+9.8%) compared to the previous year.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear fell (‑0.3%) in October as the price of clothing (‑1.0%) and footwear (‑0.8%) both saw decreases.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.7%), health and personal care (+2.5%), household operations and furnishing (+0.6), and recreation, education and reading (+0.3%). Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include reading material and other printed matter (+8.5%), beer (+3.9%) purchased from stores, and cigarettes (+3.8%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.4%) and Victoria (+1.6%) in October.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.4% (unadjusted) in October. The rate of inflation in B.C. (+2.0%), along with Saskatchewan (+2.0%), ranks the highest amongst the provinces. The inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from a high of 1.5% in Manitoba and New Brunswick to a low of 0.9% in Nova Scotia. 


Note:  Statistics Canada will release the November Consumer Price Index on December 21, 2017.