Consumer Price Index, May 2013
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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.7% in the 12 months to May, following a 0.4% increase in April. The year-over-year rise in the May CPI was led by higher shelter costs, notably natural gas.
Natural gas prices advanced 15.4% in the 12 months to May, the largest increase since December 2008. The May increase was the third year-over-year gain in four months in the natural gas index. These increases came after 25 consecutive declines.
Natural gas prices rose on a year-over-year basis in May across the country, with Alberta posting the largest advance.
12-month change in the major components
For the second consecutive month, the shelter and food components were the main upward contributors to the rise in the CPI, while the transportation component was the main downward contributor.
Shelter costs rose 1.3% in the 12 months to May, matching the increase in April. In addition to natural gas, rent and property taxes rose on a year-over-year basis. In contrast, mortgage interest cost declined 4.1%.
Food prices rose 1.3% year over year in May, after increasing 1.5% in April. Compared with May 2012, consumers paid more for food purchased from stores, notably fresh vegetables (+5.8%) and bakery products (+3.9%). Prices for fresh fruit and meat also rose in the 12 months to May, although at a slower rate than in April.
Transportation prices fell 0.5% in May compared with the same month a year earlier, following a 2.1% decrease in April. The smaller decline in the transportation index was led by gasoline prices, which fell less in the 12 months to May (-1.5%) compared with April (-6.0%). Prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles also decreased year over year in May.
Prices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products advanced 2.5% on a year-over-year basis in May, led by higher prices for cigarettes in most provinces. Consumers also paid 2.1% more for alcoholic beverages purchased from stores, notably beer.
12-month change in the provinces
Consumer prices rose in eight provinces in the 12 months to May with the largest increase occurring in Alberta. The exceptions were New Brunswick and British Columbia, where prices declined on a year-over-year basis.
Prices in Alberta rose 2.3% in the 12 months to May following a 1.3% increase in April. Compared with the same month a year ago, consumers paid 1.6% more for gasoline in May after paying 7.4% less in April. The year-over-year increase in natural gas prices was also a contributor to the rise in Alberta's CPI.
Prices in British Columbia fell 0.6% in the 12 months to May after declining 0.8% in April. British Columbia was the lone province to record a year-over-year price decline for food purchased from restaurants. Homeowners' replacement cost also decreased.
In New Brunswick, consumer prices decreased 0.1% in the 12 months to May following a 0.2% decline in April. Compared with the national average, the province posted larger year-over-year price decreases for gasoline (-5.4%) and for prescribed medicines (-15.2%).
Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index increases
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI edged up 0.1% in May after declining 0.4% in April.
The seasonally adjusted indexes for six of the eight major components posted increases in May. The largest rise occurred in the alcoholic beverages and tobacco products component (+0.7%). The food index rose 0.3% and the clothing and footwear index went up 0.2%. Conversely, the indexes for household operations, furnishings and equipment (-0.2%), and health and personal care (-0.1%) declined on a seasonally adjusted basis in May.
Bank of Canada's core index
The Bank of Canada's core index rose 1.1% in the 12 months to May, matching the increase in April.
On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted core index posted no change in both April and May.
Consumer Price Index by province, and for Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit – Not seasonally adjusted
Note to readers
A seasonally adjusted series is one from which seasonal movements have been eliminated. Users employing 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 May 2013 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 92, no. 5 (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 June will be released on July 19.
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