Issue 17-94: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

August 18, 2017

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.9% (unadjusted) in July compared to the same month of the previous year.  This marks a small increase in the year-over-year rate of inflation since June, when it was 1.7 %.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate of 1.9% 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 went up (0.9%) since July of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went up slightly (0.4%), with the cost of meals purchased from restaurants also increasing (+2.0%) during the same time period.  Within the food category, the highest rise in prices were for fresh fruit (+6.4%), fresh vegetables (+6.3%), and fish and other seafood (+6.1%).  Prices fell in July for dairy products and eggs (‑1.4%) and bakery and other cereal products (‑0.4%).

The cost of shelter (+2.6%) went up in July, with prices for both renters (+1.3%) and home owners (+2.7%) rising.  Within the shelter category, the cost of piped gas (+9.1%) and electricity (+3.4%) increased since July 2016, while fuel oil and other fuel (‑1.3%) saw a decrease.

The transportation index (+1.4%) increased since July 2016, with the price of both private transportation (+1.2%) and public transportation (+4.2%) going up.  There was an increase in the price of gasoline (+3.4%) since July 2016, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+5.3%) compared to the previous year.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear went down slightly (‑0.4%) in July, with prices decreasing for both clothing (‑0.7%) and footwear (‑0.5%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for health and personal care (+3.0%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.8%), recreation, education and reading (+2.1%), and household operations and furnishing (+1.4).  Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include reading material and other printed matter (+7.1%), cigarettes (+4.0%), health care (+4.0%), and beer purchased from stores (+3.8%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+1.9%) and Victoria (+1.8%) in July.

Canada’s CPI rose 1.2% (unadjusted) in July.  The rate of inflation in B.C. (+1.9%) ranks the highest among the provinces. The inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from a high of 1.8% in Prince Edward Island to a low of 0.8% in Saskatchewan. 

Source: Statistics Canda