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Consumer Price Index, February 2016

Released: 2016-03-18

Consumer Price Index

February 2016

1.4% 

(12-month change)

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.4% in the 12 months to February, after increasing 2.0% in January.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 1.9% year over year in February, following a 2.0% increase the previous month.

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

Gasoline prices were down 13.1% year over year in February, contributing the most to the overall deceleration in consumer prices. The gasoline index had increased 2.1% on a year-over-year basis in January. On a monthly basis, gasoline prices were down 6.9% in February 2016, while they had increased 9.4% in February 2015.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Gasoline price index
Gasoline price index

12-month change in major components

Prices rose in six of the eight major components on a year-over-year basis in February, with the food and shelter indexes contributing the most to the rise in the CPI. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, and the clothing and footwear index declined on a year-over-year basis in February.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Consumer prices increase in six of eight major components
Consumer prices increase in six of eight major components

Consumers paid 3.9% more for food in February compared with the same month a year earlier, with prices for food purchased from stores increasing 4.4% in the 12 months to February. On a year-over-year basis, higher prices for fresh vegetables and fresh fruit contributed the most to the rise in food prices. On a monthly basis, prices for fresh vegetables and fresh fruit were down in the Western provinces, while they increased in the rest of Canada. On a year-over-year basis, the meat index (+1.6%) recorded its smallest gain since January 2014. Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 2.7% year over year in February, following a 2.5% increase the previous month.

The household operations, furnishings and equipment index rose 1.8% in the 12 months to February. The telephone services index was down less on a year-over-year basis in February (-0.4%) than in January (-2.5%); the index was up 2.1% on a monthly basis. On a year-over-year basis, the Internet access services index increased 0.9% in February, after rising 4.9% the previous month.

The transportation index decreased 0.5% year over year in February, following a 2.2% increase the previous month. This turnaround was mainly attributable to the year-over-year decline in gasoline prices. The purchase of passenger vehicles index was up 5.0% on a year-over-year basis in February, its largest gain since September 2010.

The clothing and footwear index was down 1.3% in the 12 months to February, after posting a 0.3% decrease in January. This larger year-over-year decline was mainly attributable to the women's clothing index, which was down more in the 12 months to February (-2.9%) than in January (-0.8%). At the same time, consumers paid more for jewellery in February compared with the same month a year earlier.

12-month change in provinces

In all provinces, consumer prices rose less on a year-over-year basis in February than in January. Canada-wide, this deceleration was led by the gasoline index. New Brunswick posted the largest year-over-year gain in consumer prices.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Consumer prices rise in all provinces
Consumer prices rise in all provinces

The CPI in New Brunswick increased 1.8% in the 12 months to February, after rising 2.4% the previous month. Prices of cigarettes were up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis, partly because of an increase in the province's tobacco tax, which took effect in February. The traveller accommodation index was up 7.6% on a year-over-year basis in February, its largest gain since October 2008. In contrast, fuel oil prices were down 21.5% in the 12 months to February.

In Alberta, the CPI rose 1.4% on a year-over-year basis in February, after posting a 2.1% gain in January. The rent index (-0.1%) recorded its first year-over-year decrease since May 2011. The natural gas index was up 7.1% in the 12 months to February, after declining 12.7% the previous month.

Manitoba's CPI was up 1.1% year over year in February, following a 2.1% increase the previous month. This deceleration was partly attributable to the fresh vegetables index, which rose less in the 12 months to February (+5.5%) than in January (+20.7%). The fresh fruit index also contributed to the deceleration in consumer prices in the province, declining 0.1% on a year-over-year basis in February, after rising 7.1% the previous month.

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index decreases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI decreased 0.2% in February, following a 0.2% increase in January.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index
Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index

In February, four of the eight major components increased on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis and two decreased. The health and personal care index, and the recreation, education and reading index posted no change.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the household operations, furnishings and equipment index (+0.2%) increased, while the transportation index (-1.1%) posted the largest decline.

Bank of Canada's core index

The Bank of Canada's core index increased 1.9% in the 12 months to February, after rising 2.0% in January.

The seasonally adjusted core index was up 0.1% on a monthly basis in February, after posting a 0.2% increase in January.




  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.

Next release

The CPI for March will be released on April 22.

Products

The February 2016 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 95, no. 2 (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).

Two videos, "An Overview of Canada's Consumer Price Index (CPI)" and "The Consumer Price Index and Your Experience of Price Change," are 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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