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Friday, December 19, 2003

Consumer Price Index

November 2003 

Energy prices continued to temper the 12-month rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Prices for the goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket were on average 1.6% higher than in November 2002. This matches the 12-month increase of October, the smallest since the 1.3% increase registered in June 2002.

The 12-month increase remained at 1.6% as energy prices continued to fall. If energy had been excluded from the CPI, the 12-month change in November would have been 1.8%, a slight slowdown from the 1.9% registered in September and October.

The All-items index excluding the eight most volatile components, as defined by the Bank of Canada, rose 1.8% from November 2002 to November 2003, as was the case in October.

On a monthly basis, the CPI advanced 0.2%, after declining 0.2% in October. Higher prices for automotive vehicles exerted the strongest upward pressure on the index.

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12-month increase: contributing factors very similar to October's

Significant factors contributing to the 1.6% increase in the CPI included automotive vehicle insurance premiums, natural gas prices, tuition fees, homeowners' replacement cost and homeowners' insurance premiums.

Lower prices for gasoline, automotive vehicles, electricity and traveller accommodation exerted some downward pressure on the 12-month increase in the CPI.

Automotive vehicle insurance premiums increased on average 15.4% from November 2002 to November 2003. This was the smallest 12-month increase since July 2002.

Natural gas prices jumped 20.9%, with most of the price advances occurring in the first half of the 12-month period. Increases ranged from 3.9% in Alberta to 32.5% in Ontario.

Tuition fees, represented by university fees, rose 8.1%.

Homeowners' replacement cost, which represents the expenditures necessary to compensate for house depreciation and is estimated using new housing prices (excluding land), was up 6.1%. Low interest rates in recent years have attracted buyers into the housing market, sending house prices in Canada on a strong upward trend.

Premiums for homeowners' insurance were up 13.6%.

Gasoline prices were 4.2% lower than in November 2002, on average in Canada. The strongest price decline occurred in Alberta (-9.9%).

Although automotive vehicle prices rebounded significantly on a monthly basis, the index remains 1.6% lower than its November 2002 level.

The electricity index fell 4.6% from November 2002 to November 2003. This decline is almost entirely due to regulated prices in November 2003 being compared to non-regulated prices in November 2002 in Ontario.

Traveller accommodation prices fell 8.8% from November 2002. Prices in this industry have been trending down for two and a half years, as the 12-month comparison has been negative since June 2001.

Over the past year the tourism industry has been affected by a number of factors, including the economic slowdown in the United States, a higher Canadian dollar, global instability and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

Monthly change: slight increase from October to November

From October to November 2003, the CPI increased 0.2%, after falling 0.2% last month. A large part of this increase was attributable to higher prices for automotive vehicles. Fresh vegetables, beef and natural gas prices also exerted upward pressure on the All-items CPI.

Downward pressure came from price decreases for gasoline, traveller accommodation, air transportation, electricity and women's clothing.

Excluding the influence of energy prices, the CPI increased 0.4%.

Automotive vehicle prices rose 4.0% in November, as prices for the 2004 models were reflected in the index. Only pure price changes are incorporated in the index, as the CPI compares goods and services of equivalent quality. Therefore, price increases that are a consequence of an improvement in the quality of the product are factored out of the index.

This was the largest monthly increase since November 2000, when the automotive vehicle index rose 4.6%. Compared with last November, when the index rose 2.6%, fewer manufacturer rebates and dealer discounts accompanied the introduction of the new model-year this year.

The price of fresh vegetables jumped 11.1% in November. Increases are typical this time of year as availability of local produce begins to diminish and Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S. exert pressure on North American demand. Cold, wet weather in California also put upward pressure on prices for broccoli, cauliflower, celery and lettuce.

Beef prices jumped 6.7% from October to November 2003, the strongest monthly advance since May 1982.

Although beef prices remain below the levels seen before the discovery of mad cow disease in May, they stand 11.7% higher than the recent low reached in September and 1.4% higher than November 2002 levels.

After decreasing 8.3% in October, the natural gas price index increased 4.1% in November, mostly under the pressure of price increases in Ontario.

Gasoline prices fell a further 2.9%, after registering a decrease of 6.6% last month. Price reductions were registered in all provinces except British Columbia, where prices rose 0.8%.

As is typically the case following the end of the peak tourist season, traveller accommodation prices dropped for the third consecutive month falling 9.0% in November. This follows declines of 4.5% in September and 6.1% in October.

Lower prices for air transportation, electricity and women's clothing also contributed to the downward pressure.

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The seasonally adjusted CPI increased from October to November 2003

After seasonal adjustment, the CPI rose by 0.3% from October to November.

Higher seasonally adjusted indexes for transportation (+0.9%), recreation, education and reading (+0.5%), clothing and footwear (+0.8%), food (+0.2%), shelter (+0.1%), and health and personal care (+0.3%) contributed to the increase, while household operations and furnishings, and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products remained stable.

All-items excluding the eight most volatile components

The All-items index excluding the eight most volatile components, as defined by the Bank of Canada, rose 1.8% from November 2002 to November 2003.

This matches the 12-month advance of 1.8% in October and marks the fifth consecutive month of increases below the 2.0% mark.

Contributing most to the 12-month rise in November were higher automotive vehicle insurance premiums, tuition fees, homeowners' replacement cost, homeowners' insurance premiums and restaurant meal prices.

Lower prices for automotive vehicles, electricity and traveller accommodation over the last twelve months helped moderate the impact of these increases on the All-items CPI excluding the eight most volatile items.

From October to November, the All-items index excluding the eight most volatile components, as defined by the Bank of Canada, advanced 0.2%.

Upward pressure on the index came mostly from higher prices for automotive vehicles. Lower prices for traveller accommodation, electricity, and women's clothing exerted some downward pressure.


Energy prices fell 0.6% from November 2002 to November 2003.

Lower gasoline (-4.2%) and electricity prices (-4.6%) accounted for most of the decrease, helped by falling fuel oil prices (-6.2%). The downward pressure was partially offset by a 20.9% jump in natural gas prices.

From October to November, energy prices fell 1.2%, due mostly to price declines for gasoline (-2.9%) and to a lesser extent for electricity (-1.2%). Price increases were registered for natural gas (+4.1%) and fuel oil (+2.3%).

Available on CANSIM: tables 326-0001, 326-0002, 326-0009, 326-0012 and 326-0016 to 326-0018.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2301.

More information about the concepts and use of the CPI is also available online in the publication Your guide to the consumer price index (/pub/62-557-x/4060137-eng.htm).

Available at 7 a.m. on our website. From the home page, choose Today's news releases from The Daily, then Latest Consumer Price Index.

The November 2003 issue of the Consumer Price Index (62-001-XIB, $9/$83; 62-001-XPB, $12/$111) is now available.

The December 2003 Consumer Price Index will be released on January 22, 2004.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, call Rebecca McDougall (1-866-230-2248; 613-951-9606; fax: 613-951-1539), or Ron Morency (613-951-3103), Prices Division.

Consumer Price Index and major components


  November 2003 October 2003 November 2002 October to November 2003 November 2002 to November 2003
        % change
All-items 122.7 122.4 120.8 0.2 1.6
Food 122.3 121.1 120.4 1.0 1.6
Shelter 118.3 118.2 115.7 0.1 2.2
Household operations and furnishings 114.9 115.1 114.0 -0.2 0.8
Clothing and footwear 104.2 105.0 105.2 -0.8 -1.0
Transportation 140.9 139.7 139.2 0.9 1.2
Health and personal care 118.0 117.7 116.2 0.3 1.5
Recreation, education and reading 127.5 128.3 126.7 -0.6 0.6
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products 137.6 137.0 131.9 0.4 4.3
All-items (1986=100) 157.2        
Purchasing power of the consumer dollar expressed in cents, compared to 1992 81.5 81.7 82.8    
Special aggregates          
Goods 117.5 116.8 117.8 0.6 -0.3
Services 128.4 128.5 124.4 -0.1 3.2
All-items excluding food and energy 121.4 121.1 119.2 0.2 1.8
Energy 135.4 137.0 136.2 -1.2 -0.6
All-items excluding the 8 most volatile components1 123.7 123.4 121.5 0.2 1.8
1Excluded from the All-items CPI are the following eight volatile components, as defined by the Bank of Canada: fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuel; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers' supplies. The Bank of Canada further adjusts this series to obtain their measure of core inflation, which also excludes the effect of changes in indirect taxes. For data and information on core inflation, please consult the Bank of Canada website (

Consumer Price Index by province, and for Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit


  November 2003 October 2003 November 2002 October to November 2003 November 2002 to November 2003
        % change
Newfoundland and Labrador 121.1 120.3 119.6 0.7 1.3
Prince Edward Island 122.5 122.0 121.0 0.4 1.2
Nova Scotia 123.8 123.5 122.5 0.2 1.1
New Brunswick 122.2 122.2 121.5 0.0 0.6
Quebec 118.6 118.3 117.1 0.3 1.3
Ontario 123.9 123.6 121.8 0.2 1.7
Manitoba 125.3 125.1 124.6 0.2 0.6
Saskatchewan 127.1 126.6 125.6 0.4 1.2
Alberta 130.0 129.6 127.9 0.3 1.6
British Columbia 120.8 120.6 118.9 0.2 1.6
Whitehorse 118.8 119.6 119.3 -0.7 -0.4
Yellowknife 118.1 117.2 117.8 0.8 0.3
Iqaluit (Dec. 2002=100) 100.7 100.5 ... 0.2 ...
...Figures not available.

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Date Modified: 2003-12-19 Important Notices