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Consumer Price Index, April 2015

Released: 2015-05-22

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.8% in the 12 months to April, after increasing 1.2% in March. The increase in April was the smallest since October 2013.

The smaller year-over-year increase in the CPI in April compared with March was mostly attributable to lower energy prices. Excluding energy, the CPI increased 2.2% on a year-over-year basis in April, following a 2.3% increase the previous month.

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

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

Lower energy prices moderate the increase in the Consumer Price Index

The energy index decreased 13.5% in the 12 months to April, following a 10.4% year-over-year decline in March.

The natural gas index was down 14.6% on a year-over-year basis in April, following a 0.4% increase the previous month. This deceleration was primarily attributable to a price decline in Ontario.

Gasoline prices were down 21.0% in April compared with the same month a year earlier, after registering a 19.2% year-over-year decline in March. In addition, fuel oil prices decreased 20.0% year over year in April, following a 15.2% decline in March.

12-month change in the major components

Prices rose in seven of the eight major components on a year-over-year basis in April. The rise in the CPI was led by higher prices for food. The shelter index, which includes natural gas and fuel oil, also increased in the 12 months to April, although at a slower pace than in March. The transportation index was the only major component to post a decline.

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

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

Consumers paid 3.6% more for food in April compared with the same month a year earlier. Prices for food purchased from stores were up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis, led by an 11.2% increase in meat prices. A 4.3% rise in prices for fresh vegetables also contributed to the increase in food prices. Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 2.7% year over year in April.

The shelter index posted a 0.5% year-over-year gain in April, following a 1.4% rise the previous month. The increase in April was the lowest since March 2010. The smaller increase in April compared with the previous month was mainly attributable to the decline in the natural gas index. In addition, the mortgage interest cost index was down 0.9% in the 12 months to April, following a 0.7% decrease the previous month.

The transportation index declined 4.2% on a year-over-year basis in April, following a 3.9% decrease in March. For the sixth consecutive month, the year-over-year decrease in the transportation index was mainly attributable to lower gasoline prices. Prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles increased 1.4% year over year in April, following a 1.8% rise the previous month.

Prices for clothing and footwear increased 1.3% in the 12 months to April, after recording a 2.6% gain the previous month. The indexes for women's and men's clothing posted smaller year-over-year increases in April than in March.

12-month change in the provinces

Consumer prices rose in seven provinces in the 12 months to April, with Saskatchewan posting the largest increase. Conversely, three of the Atlantic provinces registered year-over-year declines.

Every province recorded a year-over-year decrease in its energy index.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Consumer prices rise in seven provinces - Description and data table
Consumer prices rise in seven provinces

Chart 3: Consumer prices rise in seven provinces - Description and data table

In Ontario (+0.8%) and British Columbia (+0.5%), the year-over-year consumer price increases in April were half as large as those recorded in March. In both provinces, natural gas prices declined on a year-over-year basis in April, after posting gains in March. Natural gas prices in Ontario declined 16.4% in the 12 months to April, while they decreased 18.1% in British Columbia.

Alberta's CPI increased 0.7% on a year-over-year basis in April, after decreasing 0.1% in March. In Alberta, where natural gas prices tend to be volatile, natural gas prices declined 16.2% in the 12 months to April. This followed a 42.4% year-over-year decrease in March.

Consumer prices declined in Prince Edward Island (-1.2%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.4%) and New Brunswick (-0.1%) in the 12 months to April. In all the Atlantic provinces, prices for fuel oil, which is used extensively for home heating in the region, posted larger year-over-year declines in April than in the previous month. The effect of the decline in fuel oil prices was greatest in Prince Edward Island, where the basket weight of fuel oil is 10 times greater than at the national level.

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index decreases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI decreased 0.1% in April, following a 0.3% rise in March.

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

Of the eight major components, four decreased and four increased on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis in April. The largest decline was recorded by the recreation, education and reading index, which fell 0.6%. The seasonally adjusted index for clothing and footwear (-0.3%) also declined.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the index for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products rose 0.5% in April, while the food index increased 0.3%.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index increased 2.3% in the 12 months to April, after rising 2.4% in March.

The seasonally adjusted core index was unchanged on a monthly basis in April, following a 0.4% increase in March.



  Note to readers

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

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 information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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 report, consult the publication The Consumer Price Index. The April 2015 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 94, no. 4 (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 (CPI) is available in The Canadian Consumer Price Index Reference Paper (Catalogue number62-553-X).

For information on the history of the CPI in Canada, consult the publication Exploring the first century of Canada's Consumer Price Index (Catalogue number62-604-X).

A video providing an overview of the CPI is available on Statistics Canada's YouTube channel.

The CPI for May will be released on June 19.

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; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).

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