Issue 18-199 Consumer Price Index (CPI)

November 23, 2018

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 3.0% higher (unadjusted) in October than in the same month of last year. On a monthly basis, the rate of inflation was up 0.4% from September 2018.

The overall annual inflation rate increases to 3.2% when food is excluded from the index, but declines to 2.8% when energy is also excluded.

The cost of food climbed 1.9% since October of 2017. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+1.0%) 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 (+6.1%), fresh fruit (+1.9%), and meat (+0.8%). Food products that saw price decreases were coffee and tea (‑1.7%), fish and other seafood (‑1.5%) and non-alcoholic beverages (‑0.7%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in October (+2.9%), with prices for both renters (+2.1%) and home owners (+3.4%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of some utilities, including fuel oil and other fuel (+19.7%), 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 (+1.8%) compared to October 2017. An increase in the price for clothing (+2.3%) offset a decrease for footwear (‑0.2%).

The transportation index rose 4.9% in October, with the price of both private (+4.6%) and public (+6.6%) transportation going up. The price of gasoline (+15.9%) rose since last October, and public transportation passengers paid more to travel between cities (+8.1%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+6.6%), recreation, education and reading (+3.0%), household operations and furnishing (+2.4%), and health and personal care (+1.1%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+13.8%), recreation (+3.4%), household operations (+2.6%), and education (+2.2%). Reading material and other printed matter (‑3.0%) saw a decrease in price from October of the previous year.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.7%) and Victoria (+3.0%) in October compared to the same month last year.

Canada’s CPI was up 2.4% (unadjusted) in October. The rate of inflation in British Columbia (+3.0%), Nova Scotia (+2.9%), Alberta (+2.8%), and New Brunswick (+2.8%) were highest among the provinces. Inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from 2.7% in Manitoba to a low of 1.7% in Quebec.

Source: Statistics Canada