Issue 20-138: Consumer Price Index

July 22, 2020

British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) in June 2020 was 0.5% higher (unadjusted) than in June 2019. On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.8% from May 2020.

The overall annual inflation rate increased 0.6% when food and energy were excluded from the index.

The cost of food climbed 3.7% since June of 2019. Prices for groceries purchased from stores (+4.0%) 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 meat (+8.8%), followed by dairy products and eggs (+5.3%), non-alcoholic beverages (+4.4%), and bakery and other cereal products (+3.6%). The price of fresh fruit (‑0.9%) and coffee and tea (‑0.5%) decreased from the previous year.

The cost of shelter continued to climb in June (+0.8%), as the price for renters (+1.6%) and homeowners (+0.8%) increased. Within the shelter category, the cost of fuel oil and other fuel (‑19.5%), piped gas (‑1.8%), and electricity (‑0.4%) all  decreased.

The overall cost of clothing and footwear was down (‑2.5%) compared to June 2019, with decreases in the price of clothing (‑2.6%) and footwear (‑1.4%).

The transportation index decreased 0.3% in June, as the low price of gasoline (‑15.5%) resulted in the cost of private transportation (‑1.3%) decreasing. Conversely, public transportation (+5.9%) saw an increase over June of last year, and public transportation passengers paid more to travel within (+2.1%) and between (+7.2%) cities.

Compared to a year ago, consumers paid more for health and personal care (+2.4%) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (+2.1%), but less for recreation, education and reading (‑2.6%) and household operations and furnishing (‑0.4%). Within these categories, items with significant price increases include cigarettes (+8.8%), reading material and other printed matter (+6.0%), and personal care (+3.3%). In June, there were price decreases for recreation (‑4.5%) and household operations (‑0.4%), while the price for household furnishings (+0.0%) remained the same.

Consumer prices increased in Vancouver (+0.2%) and Victoria (+0.7%) in June compared to the same month of 2019.

Canada’s CPI was up 0.7% (unadjusted) in June, with Alberta (+1.6%) having the largest increase in the rate of inflation.

The COVID-19 outbreak continued to have a visible impact on consumer prices in June. Increased demand for food and household cleaning supplies were reflected in rising prices, while travel limitations and temporary business closures resulted in lower prices for gasoline, clothing and footwear.