Issue 18-179 Consumer Price Index

October 19, 2018

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 2.5% higher (unadjusted) in September than in the same month of last year. On a monthly basis, the rate of inflation was down 0.5% from August 2018.

The overall annual inflation rate increases to 2.8% when food is excluded from the index, but declines to 2.4% when energy is also excluded.

The cost of food climbed 1.7% since September of 2017. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+0.7%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+3.6%) were both up from the previous year. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh vegetables (+4.7%), non-alcoholic beverages (+4.7%), and coffee and tea (+2.1%). Food products that saw price decreases were fish and other seafood (‑2.4%) and bakery and other cereal products (‑2.1%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in September (+2.9%), with prices for both renters (+1.9%) and home owners (+3.5%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of some utilities, including fuel oil and other fuel (+20.6%), and electricity (+2.8%). Conversely, the cost of piped gas was lower (-4.7%).

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+2.9%) compared to September 2017, with increases in the prices for clothing (+3.2%) and footwear (+2.5%).

The transportation index rose 3.7% in September, with the price of both private (+3.5%) and public (+5.2%) transportation going up. The price of gasoline (+12.1%) rose since last September, and public transportation passengers paid more to travel between cities (+6.3%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+6.8%), household operations and furnishing (+2.0%), recreation, education and reading (+1.6%), and health and personal care (+1.3%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+14.5%), household furnishings (+2.5%), and education (+2.2%). Reading material and other printed matter (‑3.1%) saw a decrease in price from September of the previous year.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.7%) and Victoria (+2.4%) in September compared to the same month last year.

Canada’s CPI was up 2.2% (unadjusted) in September. The rate of inflation in Alberta (+3.0%), British Columbia (+2.5%), and Manitoba (+2.4%) were highest among the provinces. Inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from 2.2% in Ontario to a low of 1.4% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Statistics Canada