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Consumer Price Index, December 2015

Released: 2016-01-22

Consumer Price Index

December 2015

1.6% 

(12-month change)

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.6% in the 12 months to December, after increasing 1.4% in November.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 1.9% year over year in December, matching the increase in November.

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

12-month change in the major components

Prices were up in all eight major components on a year-over-year basis in December, with the food and shelter indexes contributing the most to the rise in the CPI. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, registered its first year-over-year increase since October 2014.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Consumer prices increase in all major components
Consumer prices increase in all major components

Consumers paid 3.7% more for food in December compared with the same month a year earlier. Prices for food purchased from stores were up 4.1% year over year in December, following a 3.7% increase the previous month. The acceleration was mainly attributable to the fresh vegetables and fresh fruit indexes, which rose more on a year-over-year basis in December than in the previous month. In contrast, the meat index increased less in the 12 months to December (+2.4%) than in November (+3.9%). Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 2.8% year over year in December, matching the increase in November.

The transportation index was up 0.6% on a year-over-year basis in December, after recording 13 consecutive year-over-year declines. This turnaround was mainly attributable to the gasoline index, which recorded a smaller year-over-year decrease in December (-4.8%) than in November (-10.6%). In addition, the purchase of passenger vehicles index rose 3.1% year over year in December, following a 1.9% increase the previous month.

The clothing and footwear index was up 0.7% year over year in December, after rising 2.1% in November. The men's clothing index registered a smaller year-over-year increase in December than in November, while prices for women's clothing declined in the 12 months to December, after increasing in November.

12-month change in the provinces

Consumer prices rose in all provinces in the 12 months to December, with British Columbia posting the largest gain. In the Prairie provinces, consumer prices were up less on a year-over-year basis in December than in November.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Consumer prices rise in all provinces
Consumer prices rise in all provinces

The CPI in British Columbia was up 1.9% year over year in December, after increasing 1.7% in November. This acceleration was led by the gasoline index, which posted its first year-over-year gain (+4.4%) since June 2014. The traveller accommodation index was also up more on a year-over-year basis in December (+9.6%) than in November (+8.4%).

In Ontario, the CPI rose 1.7% on a year-over-year basis in December, the largest gain since December 2014. Electricity prices increased 8.9% in December compared with the same month a year earlier, partly as a result of new winter electricity prices introduced in November 2015. In addition, the purchase of passenger vehicles index was up 2.8% year over year in December, after increasing 1.3% the previous month.

The CPI in Alberta was up 1.5% in the 12 months to December, after increasing 2.0% in November. This deceleration was mainly attributable to the natural gas index, which was down more on a year-over-year basis in December (-14.5%) than in November (-8.0%).

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index increases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.1% in December, after rising 0.2% in November.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index
Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index

In December, four of the eight major components increased on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, three decreased, while the recreation, education and reading index posted no change.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the largest increase in December was recorded in the food index (+0.6%), while the clothing and footwear index (-0.9%) registered the largest decline.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index was up 1.9% in the 12 months to December, following a 2.0% rise in November.

The seasonally adjusted core index was up 0.1% on a monthly basis in December, matching the increase in November.




  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 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.

The methodology for the traveller accommodation index will be updated with the release of the January reference month CPI (to be published February 19). For more information, refer to Changes to the traveller accommodation index of the Consumer Price Index.

New product

A video providing an overview of how the CPI reflects price changes of goods and services purchased by households in Canada is now available on Statistics Canada's website.

Next release

The CPI for January will be released on February 19.

Products

The December 2015 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 94, no. 12 (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).

The video "The Consumer Price Index and Your Experience of Price Change," which is part of Videos - Statistics Canada (Catalogue number11-629-X), is now available.

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

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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