Issue 19-163 Consumer Price Index

October 16, 2019

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 2.4% higher (unadjusted) in September 2019 than in the same month of 2018. On a monthly basis, the CPI dropped 0.2% from August 2019.

The overall annual inflation rate dropped to 2.1% when food and energy are excluded from the index.

The cost of food climbed 4.6% since September of 2018. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+5.3%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+3.4%) were both up from the previous year. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh vegetables (+15.9%), followed by meat (+6.9%), dairy products and eggs (+4.2%), and bakery and other cereal products (+3.6%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in September (+2.0%), with prices for both renters (+3.1%) and home owners (+1.3%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of utilities, including piped gas (+10.4%) and electricity (+1.8%), while fuel oil and other fuel (‑7.0%) saw a price decrease in September.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+1.4%) compared to September 2018, with an increase in the price for clothing (+2.0%) offsetting a decrease for footwear (‑2.2%).

The transportation index rose 2.7% in September, with the price of both private (+1.8%) and public (+4.9%) transportation going up. While the price of gasoline (‑2.2%) dropped since September of last year, public transportation passengers paid more to travel within (+1.9%) and between (+5.6%) cities.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for recreation, education and reading (+3.2%), health and personal care (+2.0%), household operations and furnishing (+0.9%), and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+0.4%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include recreation (+4.9%), beer purchased from stores (+4.3%), personal care (+2.8%), and household furnishings (+2.3%). The only category to see a price decrease over September 2018 was reading material and other printed matter (‑2.0%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.3%) and Victoria (+2.4%) in September compared to the same month of 2018.

Canada’s CPI was up 1.9% (unadjusted) in September. The rate of inflation in British Columbia (+2.4%), Manitoba (+2.2%), Quebec (+2.2%), and Nova Scotia (+2.1%) were highest among the provinces.

Visit the Consumer Price Index page for more resources.