Issue 18-144 Consumer Price Index

August 17, 2018

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 3.3% higher (unadjusted) in July than in the same month of last year. On a monthly basis, the rate of inflation was up 0.9% from June 2018.

The overall annual inflation rate increases to 3.7% when food is excluded from the index, but declines to 3.0% when energy is also excluded.

The cost of food climbed 1.0% since July of 2017. Prices for groceries purchased from stores eased slightly (‑0.3%), while the cost of meals purchased from restaurants was up notably (+3.6%) over the same time period. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fish and other seafood (+2.8%) and meat (+1.7%). Meanwhile, among food products that saw price decreases were bakery and other cereal products (‑2.4%) and dairy products and eggs (‑1.5%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in July (+3.3%), with prices for both renters (+1.9%) and home owners (+4.0%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of some utilities, including fuel oil and other fuel (+25.6%), and electricity (+2.8%). The cost of piped gas, on the other hand, was lower (-4.7%).

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+1.2%) compared to July 2017, with an increase in price of clothing offsetting a decrease for footwear.

The transportation index rose 7.9% between July 2017 and the same month of this year, with the price of both private (+5.9%) and public (+19.1%) transportation going up. There was a significant increase in the price of gasoline (+23.5%) since last July, and public transportation passengers paid substantially more to travel between cities (+24.7%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+6.7%), recreation, education and reading (+3.1%), health and personal care (+0.6%), and household operations and furnishing (+0.3%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+14.3%), recreation (+3.6%), and education (+2.0%).  Household furnishings (‑0.4%) and liquor purchased from stores (-0.6%) were among the only items with price drops.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+3.3%) and Victoria (+2.6%) in July compared to the same month last year.

Canada’s CPI was up 3.0% (unadjusted) in July. The rate of inflation in Alberta (+3.5%), P.E.I. (+3.4%), Manitoba (+3.3%) and B.C. (+3.3%) were highest among the provinces. Inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from 3.1% in both Ontario and Saskatchewan to a low of 2.4% in Quebec.

Go to the Consumer Price Index page for more information.