Consumer Price Index, April 2012

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Consumer prices rose 2.0% in the 12 months to April, led by increases in transportation costs. This increase followed a 1.9% rise in March.

Energy prices increased 1.1% in the 12 months to April, following a 5.1% rise in March. The slower increase in April was largely attributable to smaller price gains for gasoline and electricity, as well as price declines for natural gas (-13.9%).

Chart 1 
The 12-month change in the CPI and the CPI excluding energy
Chart 1: The 12-month change in the CPI and the CPI excluding energy

Chart description: The 12-month change in the CPI and the CPI excluding energy

CSV version of the chart

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) excluding energy rose 2.1% in the 12 months to April, following a 1.6% increase in March. The upward pressure on the All-items CPI coming from energy has eased over the last year. April marks the first month since October 2009 in which energy prices increased at a slower rate than the All-items CPI.

12-month change

In April, prices rose year over year in all eight major components. Increases in transportation and food were major contributors to the 12-month change in the CPI.

Chart 2 
Prices rise in all eight major components
Chart 2: Prices rise in all eight major components

Chart description: Prices rise in all eight major components

CSV version of the chart

Transportation costs increased 3.2% on a year-over-year basis in April. Prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles went up 3.4% while gasoline prices rose 3.3%. Year-over-year price gains were also recorded for passenger vehicle insurance premiums.

Gasoline prices have been rising in recent months, pushing April's gasoline index to its highest level since July 2008. Nevertheless, the year-over-year increase in gasoline prices in April 2012 was the smallest since September 2010, partly because of near-record prices in April 2011.

Chart 3 
The gasoline index
Chart 3: The gasoline index

Chart description: The gasoline index

CSV version of the chart

Prices for food rose 2.5% in April compared with the same month a year earlier. This rise followed a 2.2% year-over-year increase in March. Consumers paid 2.4% more for food purchased from stores in the 12 months to April and 2.8% more for food purchased from restaurants. Price increases were recorded for most food items, notably for meat and cereal products.

Shelter costs increased 1.1% in the 12 months to April, following a 1.6% rise in March. Prices declined for natural gas, while homeowners' replacement cost and rent increased.

In April, prices for household operations, furnishings and equipment rose 2.6% compared with April 2011. Prices increased for communications services.

Clothing and footwear prices rose 2.4% on a year-over-year basis, as stores continued to offer new spring and summer wear.

The provinces

In April, year-over-year price increases in the Atlantic provinces were among the highest in the country. Newfoundland and Labrador posted the largest increase at 3.0%, while Alberta posted the lowest.

Chart 4 
The provinces
Chart 4: The provinces

Chart description: The provinces

CSV version of the chart

In Alberta, consumer prices rose 0.8% in the 12 months to April, after increasing 1.7% in March. This slower rate of growth was largely attributable to price declines for electricity and natural gas.

Consumer prices rose 2.4% year over year in Quebec, 2.1% in Ontario, and 1.6% in British Columbia. Price increases for food purchased from stores, gasoline and the purchase of passenger vehicles were the main contributors to the increases in these provinces.

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index increases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.2% in April, matching the increase in March. Prices rose in five of the eight major components.

The seasonally adjusted index for transportation rose 0.4% in April, following a 0.3% increase the month before. The clothing and footwear index increased 1.1% in April, after decreasing 0.6% in March.

The indexes for shelter; household operations, furnishings and equipment; and health and personal care were unchanged.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index rose 2.1% in the 12 months to April, led by price increases for the purchase of passenger vehicles. This increase followed a 1.9% gain in the core index in March.

On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted core index increased 0.4% in April, after rising 0.1% the previous month.

Note to readers

The special aggregate "Energy" includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.

The Bank of Canada's core index excludes eight of the Consumer Price Index's most volatile components (fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers' supplies) as well as the effects of changes in indirect taxes on the remaining components.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table326-0009, CANSIM table326-0012, CANSIM table326-0015 and CANSIM table326-0020 to 326-0022.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number2301.

For a more detailed analysis, consult the publication The Consumer Price Index. The April 2012 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 91, no. 4 (Catalogue number62-001-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

More information about the concepts and use of the Consumer Price Index are also available online in Your Guide to the Consumer Price Index (Catalogue number62-557-X, free) from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

The Consumer Price Index for May will be released on June 22.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or the Media Hotline (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).