Issue 18-214 Consumer Price Index (CPI)

December 19, 2018

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 2.4% higher (unadjusted) in November than in the same month of last year. On a monthly basis, the rate of inflation was down 0.4% from October 2018.

The overall annual inflation rate decreases to 2.3% when food is excluded from the index, but increases to 2.5% when energy is also excluded.

The cost of food climbed 2.2% since November of 2017. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+1.5%) 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 (+9.6%), fresh fruit (+3.7%), and dairy products and eggs (+0.8%). Food products that saw price decreases were coffee and tea (‑1.2%), non-alcoholic beverages (‑0.4%), and fish and other seafood (‑0.3%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in November (+2.8%), with prices for both renters (+2.0%) and home owners (+3.3%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of some utilities, including fuel oil and other fuel (+12.2%), and electricity (+2.8%). Conversely, the cost of piped gas was lower (-4.5%).

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+2.5%) compared to November 2017. The price for clothing (+3.5%) increased, while footwear prices (+0.0%) saw no change.

The transportation index rose 2.0% in November, with the price of both private (+1.3%) and public (+6.3%) transportation going up. The price of gasoline (+0.8%) increased slightly since last November, and public transportation passengers paid more to travel between cities (+7.8%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+6.2%), household operations and furnishing (+2.4%), recreation, education and reading (+1.8%), and health and personal care (+1.1%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+12.6%), household operations (+2.8%), education (+2.2%), and recreation (+1.9%). Reading material and other printed matter (‑3.0%) saw a decrease in price from November of the previous year.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.3%) and Victoria (+2.5%) in November compared to the same month last year.

Canada’s CPI was up 1.7% (unadjusted) in November. The rate of inflation in British Columbia (+2.4%), Nova Scotia (+1.8%), and Ontario (+1.8%) were highest among the provinces. Inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from 1.7% in Manitoba and Alberta to a low of 0.8% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Statistics Canada