Consumer Price Index, February 2017
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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.0% on a year-over-year basis in February, following a 2.1% gain in January.
Excluding gasoline, the CPI was up 1.3% year over year in February, following a 1.5% increase in January.
12-month change in the major components
Prices were up in seven of the eight major components in the 12 months to February, with the transportation and shelter indexes contributing the most to the year-over-year rise in the CPI. The food index decreased for a fifth consecutive month.
Transportation costs rose 6.6% over the 12-month period ending in February, after increasing 6.3% in January; this acceleration occurred despite a 0.8% monthly decline in February. On a year-over-year basis, consumers paid 23.1% more for gasoline and the purchase of passenger vehicles index was up 3.6%.
The recreation, education and reading index was up 3.3% year over year in February, following a 3.2% increase in January. A 6.2% year-over-year rise in the traveller accommodation index was partly attributable to major sporting events that took place in February. The travel tours index fell 0.5% year over year in February, after increasing 5.5% a month earlier.
The household operations, furnishings and equipment index rose 0.6% in the 12 months to February, after increasing 1.2% the previous month. This deceleration was led by the telephone services index, which declined 2.2% on a year-over-year basis in February, following a 1.6% increase in January. In contrast, the Internet access services index rose 0.2% year over year in February, following a 1.0% decline in January.
Consumers paid 2.3% less for food compared with a year ago. Prices for food purchased from stores fell 4.1% in the 12 months to February. On a year-over-year basis, lower prices for fresh vegetables (-14.0%) contributed the most to the decrease in the food purchased from stores index. The fresh fruit index was down 13.3% over the 12-month period ending in February. The year-over-year declines in the fresh vegetables and the fresh fruit indexes partly reflect a spike in their prices last winter. The dairy products index was down 2.5% in the 12 months to February, its largest decrease since March 1994, led by lower cheese prices.
Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 2.3% on a year-over-year basis in February, matching the gain in January.
12-month change in the provinces
Consumer prices rose less in seven provinces on a year-over-year basis in February than in January. At the same time, the CPI in Ontario and British Columbia reported no change in overall consumer price growth. Manitoba was the lone province to post an acceleration in the year-over-year gain in the CPI in February.
Among the provinces, the CPI in Prince Edward Island posted the largest deceleration, rising 1.5% in the 12 months to February following a 2.5% increase in January. On a year-over-year basis, prices for food purchased from stores declined more in Prince Edward Island (-7.5%) than in any other province. The women's clothing index declined 0.3% year over year, following a 6.0% increase in January. Prince Edward Island was the lone province where women's clothing prices declined year over year in February.
The CPI in Manitoba rose 2.3% in the 12 months to February, after increasing 2.1% in January. The homeowners' replacement cost index rose 3.2% year over year in February, its largest increase since March 2014. Telephone services prices increased in February on a year-over-year basis in Manitoba, while they declined throughout the rest of Canada. At the same time, footwear prices fell more in Manitoba (-7.1%) than at the national level (-0.4%) in the 12 months to February.
In British Columbia, consumer prices rose 2.3% year over year in February, matching the gain in January. Prices for food purchased from stores were down less in British Columbia (-2.7%) than in any other province in the 12 months to February. The homeowners' replacement cost index was up 5.1% year over year in February, following a 5.7% gain the previous month. Clothing prices in the province were nearly unchanged from a year earlier, while they rose 1.3% at the national level.
Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI declined 0.2% in February, after rising 0.7% in January.
In February, three major components decreased on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis and four increased. The food index was unchanged.
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis in February, the transportation index (-1.1%) posted the largest decline, while the alcoholic beverages and tobacco products index (+0.3%) recorded the largest increase.
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The way Canadians communicate and the importance of communication has changed significantly over time. The communications component accounted for 2.1% of the 1992 Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket. In the 2015 basket, effective in the calculation of the current CPI, that share is now 3.5%, reflecting the increasing role that communications play in Canada.
The communications component comprises four sub-components: telephone services, postal services, Internet access services and telephone equipment. Telephones were first added to the CPI basket in the 1920s. In the 1992 basket, telephone equipment was still a part of the telephone services index, reflecting that consumers commonly rented their telephones as part of their home phone service. While telephone services were once primarily landline services, cellular services now account for the majority of the basket weight for the telephone services sub-component.
With the 2001 basket update, Internet access services were introduced; since then, their weight in the CPI has increased with each basket update.
Consumers' expenditure share on multipurpose digital devices (smartphones and tablets) has also grown over time and has been reflected in larger CPI basket weights for the products since their introduction in the 2009 basket. This component, however, is located under recreational equipment and services of the CPI classification.
Consumer Price Index, major components and special aggregates, Canada – Not seasonally adjusted
Consumer Price Index for the provinces and for Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit – Not seasonally adjusted
Consumer Price Index statistics, preferred measures of core inflation – Bank of Canada definitions, year-over-year percent change, Canada,
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.
Real-time CANSIM tables
The CPI for March will be released on April 21.
The February 2017 issue of The Consumer Price Index, Vol. 96, no. 2 (62-001-X), is now available.
More information about the concepts and use of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is available in The Canadian Consumer Price Index Reference Paper (62-553-X).
For information on the history of the CPI in Canada, consult the publication Exploring the First Century of Canada's Consumer Price Index (62-604-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.
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).