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Consumer Price Index, March 2013

Released: 2013-04-19

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.0% in the 12 months to March, following a 1.2% increase in February.

The slower increase in the CPI was mainly the result of gasoline prices, which fell 0.3% on a year-over-year basis in March, after rising 3.9% in February. Provincially, gasoline prices declined year over year in seven provinces.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI increased 1.1% in the 12 months to March, matching the rise in February.

Chart 1  Chart 1: The 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the CPI excluding gasoline - Description and data table
The 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the CPI excluding gasoline

Chart 1: The 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the CPI excluding gasoline - Description and data table

12-month change in the major components

Consumer prices rose in six of the eight major components in the 12 months to March. The exceptions were transportation, and health and personal care, both of which posted no change.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Prices increase in six of eight major components - Description and data table
Prices increase in six of eight major components

Chart 2: Prices increase in six of eight major components - Description and data table

Food prices increased 1.8% on a year-over-year basis in March, following a 1.9% rise in February. Consumers paid 2.2% more for food purchased from restaurants.

Consumers also paid more for food purchased from stores, as prices rose for fresh vegetables (+7.2%) and fresh fruit (+8.7%). In contrast, prices for non-alcoholic beverages declined 3.6%.

Shelter costs rose 1.1% in the 12 months to March, after increasing 0.8% in February. Rent and homeowners' replacement cost advanced on a year-over-year basis, while mortgage interest cost decreased 4.0%.

Prices for transportation posted no change on a year-over-year basis in March, after advancing 2.0% the previous month. Gasoline prices decreased year over year, while prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles rose 0.8% in the 12 months to March, following a 2.5% increase in February.

Prices for recreation, education and reading rose 0.3% in the 12 months to March, following a 1.0% rise in February. Consumers paid 4.8% less for travel tours year over year in March.

12-month change in the provinces

Consumer prices rose in all provinces in the 12 months to March. The largest increase was registered in Manitoba, while the smallest increase occurred in British Columbia.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Prices increase the most in Manitoba, and the least in British Columbia - Description and data table
Prices increase the most in Manitoba, and the least in British Columbia

Chart 3: Prices increase the most in Manitoba, and the least in British Columbia - Description and data table

Gasoline prices were a factor in the year-over-year change in most provincial CPIs.

Consumer prices in Manitoba rose 2.3% on a year-over-year basis in March, after registering a 2.2% increase in February. In Manitoba, gasoline prices increased 4.9% in the 12 months to March, following a 4.8% increase in February.

In British Columbia, consumer prices rose 0.5% in the 12 months to March, after increasing 0.9% in February. Gasoline prices decreased 0.6% year over year in March, following a 5.5% increase the previous month. Of all the provinces, British Columbia posted the largest year-over-year price decrease for homeowners' replacement cost.

Consumer prices in Nova Scotia increased 1.1% in the 12 months to March, following a 1.9% advance in February. Gasoline prices declined 1.0% on a year-over-year basis in March, after rising 3.9% the previous month.

Prices in Alberta rose 1.2% year over year in March, after rising 0.9% the previous month. Smaller year-over-year price decreases for electricity were observed in March compared with February.

Seasonally adjusted monthly CPI increases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.1% in March, after increasing 0.7% in February.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index - Description and data table
Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index

Chart 4: Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index - Description and data table

The seasonally adjusted index for transportation decreased 1.5% in March, following a 2.7% increase in February. The recreation, education and reading index decreased 0.3% in March. Conversely, the index for clothing and footwear increased 0.3% and the index for shelter was up 0.1%.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index rose 1.4% in the 12 months to March, matching the increase in February.

On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted core index increased 0.2% in March, after increasing 0.4% in February.



  Note to readers

A seasonally adjusted series is one from which seasonal movements have been eliminated. Users employing Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for indexation purposes are advised to use the unadjusted indexes. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

The Bank of Canada's core index excludes eight of the CPI'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.

For a more detailed analysis, consult the publication The Consumer Price Index. The March 2013 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 92, no. 3 (Catalogue number62-001-X), is now available from the Browse by 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) from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

The Consumer Price Index for April will be released on May 17.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).

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