Issue 19-50 Consumer Price Index

March 22, 2019

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 2.2% higher (unadjusted) in February 2019 than in the same month of 2018. On a monthly basis, the rate of inflation rose 0.5% from January 2019.

The overall annual inflation rate increases by 2.3% when food and energy are excluded from the index.

The cost of food climbed 2.9% since February of 2018. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+3.0%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+3.0%) were both up from the previous year. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh vegetables (+8.4%), fish and other seafood (+6.6%), fresh fruit (+5.4%), and coffee and tea (+3.2%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in February (+3.2%), with prices for both renters (+3.4%) and home owners (+2.9%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of utilities, including piped gas (+10.5%), fuel oil and other fuel (+3.3%), and electricity (+2.8%).

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+2.6%) compared to February 2018. The price for clothing (+2.3%) and footwear (+3.8%) increased.

The transportation index rose 1.4% in February, with the price of both private (+0.7%) and public (+3.3%) transportation going up. The price of gasoline (‑4.4%) decreased since February 2018, and public transportation passengers paid more to travel between cities (+3.3%).

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+5.6%), household operations and furnishing (+1.7%), and health and personal care (+1.7%), and recreation, education and reading (+1.2%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+11.8%), beer purchased from stores (+5.4%), education (+2.2%), and personal care (+2.0%). The only category to see a price decrease over February 2018 was reading material and other printed matter (‑0.8%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.2%) and Victoria (+2.3%) compared to February 2018.

Canada’s CPI was up 1.5% (unadjusted) in February. The rate of inflation in British Columbia (+2.2%), Manitoba (+2.0%), Alberta (+1.6%), and Ontario (+1.5%) were highest among the provinces.

Visit the Consumer Price Index page for more information