Issue 18-88 Consumer Price Index (CPI)

May 18, 2018

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

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

The overall cost of food climbed 1.8% since April of last year. The cost of groceries purchased from stores went up (+0.9%), with the cost of meals purchased from restaurants also increasing (+3.4%) during the same time period. Within the food category, the highest price increase was for fresh vegetables (+4.8%), followed by non-alcoholic beverages (+4.3%) and fresh fruit (+3.8). Prices fell in April for coffee and tea (‑6.9%), bakery and other cereal products (‑1.5%), and dairy products and eggs (‑0.8%).

The cost of shelter went up in April (+3.8%), with prices for both renters (+1.7%) and home owners (+4.7%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of fuel oil and other fuel (+17.9%), and electricity (+2.8%) in April, while piped gas (‑4.7%) declined.

The transportation index rose 4.3% since April 2017, with the price of both private transportation (+3.6%) and public transportation (+8.3%) going up. There was an increase in the price of gasoline (+12.7%) since the previous April, and travellers paid more for inter-city public transportation (+10.7%) compared to last year.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear rose (+1.1%) compared to April 2017, with an increase in price of clothing (+1.5%) offsetting a decrease for footwear (‑0.8%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+6.7%), household operations and furnishing (+2.3%), and health and personal care (+1.4%), but paid less for recreation, education and reading (‑0.2%). Within these categories, some items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+13.5%), reading material and other printed matter (+3.7%), and beer purchased from stores (+2.7%).  Recreation (‑1.1%) was the only item with a price decrease.

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+3.2%) and Victoria (+2.0%) in April compared to the same month last year.

Canada’s CPI rose 2.2% unadjusted) in April. The rate of inflation in B.C. (+2.7%) ranks third highest amongst the provinces, trailing Manitoba (+2.9%) and Nova Scotia (+2.8%). The inflation rates for the other provinces ranged from a high of 2.5% in Saskatchewan to a low of 1.5% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Visit the Consumer Price Index (CPI) page for for detailed data tables and other resources.