Issue 19-195 Consumer Price Index

December 18, 2019

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 2.2% higher (unadjusted) in November 2019 than in the same month of 2018. On a monthly basis, the CPI dropped 0.3% from October 2019.

The overall annual inflation rate dropped to 1.9% when food and energy were excluded from the index.

The cost of food climbed 4.8% since November of 2018. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+5.4%) 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 (+10.9%), followed by non-alcoholic beverages (+8.3%), meat (+7.4%), dairy products and eggs (+5.1%), and coffee and tea (+4.0%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in November (+1.8%), with prices for both renters (+4.3%) and home owners (+0.5%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of utilities, including piped gas (+10.1%) and electricity (+1.8%), while fuel oil and other fuel (‑2.4%) saw a price decrease in November.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+4.3%) compared to November 2018, with the price for clothing (+5.5%) increasing and footwear remaining stable (+0.0%).

The transportation index rose 2.5% in November, with the price of both private (+2.0%) and public (+3.4%) transportation going up. While the price of gasoline (‑1.4%) dropped since November of last year, public transportation passengers paid more to travel within (+1.9%) and between (+3.7%) cities.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for health and personal care (+3.0%), recreation, education and reading (+2.2%), and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+1.3%), while paying less for household operations and furnishing (‑0.7%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include beer purchased from stores (+6.3%), health care (+3.1%), personal care (+2.9%), and cigarettes (+2.9%). The only categories to see a price decrease over November 2018 was reading material and other printed matter (‑2.1%) and household operations (‑1.0%), while household furnishings remained unchanged (+0.0%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.3%) and Victoria (+2.1%) in November compared to the same month of 2018.

Canada’s CPI was up 2.2% (unadjusted) in November. The rate of inflation in Quebec (+2.7%), Manitoba (+2.5%), New Brunswick (+2.4%), and British Columbia (+2.2%) were highest among the provinces.

Visit the Consumer Price Index page for more resources.