Issue 18-128 Consumer Price Index

July 20, 2018

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.7% (unadjusted) in June compared to the same month of the previous year. The rate of inflation was up 0.2% from May 2018.

According to Statistics Canada, the overall annual inflation rate increases to 3.0% when food is excluded from the index, but declines to 2.4% when energy is excluded.

The overall cost of food climbed 1.0% since June of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went down (‑0.2%), while the cost of meals purchased from restaurants increased (+3.4%) during the same time period. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fish and other seafood (+1.8%) and fresh vegetables (+1.0%). In June, the largest decrease in price was for fresh fruit (‑2.1%), followed by bakery and other cereal products (‑2.0%), coffee and tea (‑1.2%), and dairy products and eggs (‑0.8%).

The cost of shelter went up in June (+3.5%), with prices for both renters (+1.8%) and home owners (+4.3%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of fuel oil and other fuel (+27.0%), and electricity (+2.8%), while piped gas (‑4.7%) decreased in June.

The transportation index rose 5.8% since June 2017, with the price of both private transportation (+5.3%) and public transportation (+8.7%) going up. There was an increase in the price of gasoline (+21.3%) over the twelve month period, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+11.2%) compared to last year.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear rose (+1.9%) compared to June 2017, with an increase in price of clothing (+2.2%) and a decrease for footwear (‑0.9%)

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+6.8%), recreation, education and reading (+1.9%), and health and personal care (+1.0%), while household operations and furnishing (+0.0%) saw no change. Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+14.6%), beer purchased from stores (+2.1%), recreation (+1.9%), and education (+1.9%).  Household furnishings (‑0.5%) was the only item with a price decrease.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+3.0%) and Victoria (+2.1%) in June compared to the same month last year.

Canada’s CPI rose 2.5% (unadjusted) in June. The rate of inflation in B.C. (+2.7%) was tied with Manitoba (+2.7%) and Saskatchewan (+2.7%) for third highest amongst the provinces, trailing only Prince Edward Island (+2.9%) and Alberta (+2.8%). The inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from a high of 2.4% in Ontario to a low of 2.0% in Quebec.