Issue 17-176 Consumer Price Index (CPI)

December 21, 2017

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.6% (unadjusted) in November compared to the same month of the previous year. The year-over-year rate of inflation was up 0.2% from October.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 2.6% increases to 2.7% when food is excluded from the index, and declines to 2.1% when energy is excluded.

The overall cost of food climbed 2.1% since November of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went up (+1.7%), with the cost of meals purchased from restaurants also increasing (+2.8%) during the same time period. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh vegetables (+5.6%), followed by fish and other seafood (+4.8%) and meat (+4.7). Prices fell in November for bakery and other cereal products (‑0.9%) and dairy products and eggs (‑0.5%).

The cost of shelter went up in November (+3.0%), with prices for both renters (+1.2%) and home owners (+3.8%) rising. Within the shelter category, there was a large increase in the cost of fuel oil and other fuel (+14.5%), while electricity (+3.4%) also increased over November 2016. Piped gas (‑0.4%) decreased.

The transportation index rose 5.6% since November 2016, with the price of both private transportation (+5.4%) and public transportation (+7.2%) going up. There was a jump in the price of gasoline (+19.2%) since November 2016, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+9.2%) compared to the previous year.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear fell (‑0.9%) in November as the price of clothing (‑1.8%) and footwear (‑0.7%) both saw decreases.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.9%), health and personal care (+1.5%), recreation, education and reading (+1.4%), and household operations and furnishing (+0.7). Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include reading material and other printed matter (+8.5%), cigarettes (+3.9%), and health care (+3.0%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+3.0%) and Victoria (+2.1%) in November.

Canada’s CPI rose 2.1% (unadjusted) in November. The rate of inflation in B.C. (+2.6%) ranks fourth highest amongst the provinces, trailing Saskatchewan (+3.7%), Manitoba (+3.2%), and New Brunswick (+2.7%). The inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from a high of 2.5% in Alberta to a low of 1.8% in Nova Scotia.