Issue 19-82 Consumer Price Index

May 15, 2019

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) was 2.7% higher (unadjusted) in April 2019 than in the same month of 2018. On a monthly basis, the rate of inflation rose 0.4% from March 2019.

The overall annual inflation rate increases by 2.4% when food and energy are excluded from the index.

The cost of food climbed 3.2% since April of 2018. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+3.4%) and meals purchased from restaurants (+2.9%) were both up from the previous year. Within the food category, the highest rise in prices was for fresh vegetables (+14.1%), followed by coffee and tea (+8.1%), fresh fruit (+4.1%), and meat (+3.3%).

The cost of shelter continued to climb in April (+2.7%), with prices for both renters (+2.7%) and home owners (+2.5%) rising. Within the shelter category, there were increases in the cost of utilities, including piped gas (+10.4%), electricity (+1.6%), and fuel oil and other fuel (+0.4%).

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was also on the rise (+1.9%) compared to April 2018, although the price for footwear (+2.7%) increased at a higher rate than that for clothing (+1.6%).

The transportation index rose 4.2% in April, with the price of both private (+3.5%) and public (+5.1%) transportation going up. The price of gasoline (+6.3%) climbed substantially since April of last year, and public transportation passengers paid more to travel within (+2.5%) and between (+5.7%) cities.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for recreation, education and reading (+3.0%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.6%), health and personal care (+1.6%) and household operations and furnishing (+0.5%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include beer purchased from stores (+5.4%), recreation (+3.7%), and liquour purchased from stores (+2.7%). The only categories to see a price decrease over April 2018 was reading material and other printed matter (‑2.3%) and non-alcoholic beverages (-3.2%).

Consumer prices rose in both Vancouver (+2.5%) and Victoria (+2.7%) in April compared to the same month of 2018.

Canada’s CPI was up 2.0% (unadjusted) in April. The rate of inflation in British Columbia (+2.7%), Manitoba (+2.3%) and Saskatchewan (+2.3%) were highest among the provinces.

Visit the Consumer Price Index page for more information.