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Consumer Price Index, December 2019

Released: 2020-01-22

Consumer Price Index

December 2019

2.2% increase

(12-month change)

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.2% on a year-over-year basis in December, matching the increase in November. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 2.0%, the smallest gain since November 2018.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.4% in December, following a 0.1% increase in November.

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

Check out the 2019 annual review infographic

Today, Statistics Canada released the infographic Consumer Price Index: 2019 in Review, highlighting the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI). This infographic looks at the annual average consumer inflation in Canada and the regions in 2019, while also highlighting the noteworthy average price movements of the year.

Two ways of exploring the CPI

Visit the CPI Portal to find all CPI data, publications, interactive tools, and announcements highlighting new products and upcoming changes to the CPI in one convenient location.

Check out the CPI Data Visualization Tool to access current and historical CPI data in a customizable, visual format.

Highlights

Energy prices were 5.5% higher in December on a year-over-year basis, following a 1.5% increase in November. Despite declining 0.5% on a monthly basis, gasoline prices were 7.4% higher year over year in December after a 0.9% increase in November. This growth was due to lower prices in December 2018, when crude oil prices fell amid a global oversupply, leading to lower prices at the pump. Similarly, after falling 3.3% in November, the index for fuel oil and other fuels, which is affected by the same global oil dynamics, was up 3.5% year over year in December.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Energy prices continue to increase year over year
Energy prices continue to increase year over year

Fresh vegetable prices increase at a slower rate

Year-over-year growth in fresh vegetable prices (+1.5%) continued to slow in December, driven in part by lower year-over-year prices for lettuce. Lettuce prices were down 5.0% compared with December 2018, when prices rose following an E. coli outbreak. The source of the outbreak was initially unknown, which required all stock of romaine lettuce in the United States to be disposed of, limiting supply and driving up prices for other types of lettuce.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Fresh vegetable prices continue to grow at a slower pace
Fresh vegetable prices continue to grow at a slower pace

Prices for passenger vehicles and mortgage interest costs grow at a slower pace

The purchase of passenger vehicles index rose 1.4% year over year in December after a 2.9% increase in the previous month. Price growth slowed as consumers were offered larger rebates compared with November.

The mortgage interest cost index (+6.0%), which has consistently been among the top upward contributors to the 12-month increase in the all-items CPI in 2019, grew at the slowest year-over-year pace since August 2018 as major commercial lenders continued to lower their interest rates.

Recreational cannabis prices fall in December

Prices for recreational cannabis fell 7.0% on a month-over-month basis in December, largely due to holiday sale pricing as cannabis inventories rose.

Regional highlights

On a year-over-year basis, prices rose more in December than in November in five provinces.

Chart 4  Chart 4: The Consumer Price Index rises at a faster pace in five provinces
The Consumer Price Index rises at a faster pace in five provinces

Higher prices for fuel oil and other fuels in the Atlantic provinces

Consumer prices for fuel oil rose at a faster pace year over year in all provinces compared with November. This increase influenced the CPI the most in the Atlantic provinces, where fuel oil is more commonly used for home heating.

Energy prices rise year over year in Alberta

Consumers in Alberta paid more, on a year-over-year basis, for electricity in December (+8.8%) compared with November (+7.0%), following the removal of the province's price cap on the residential regulated energy rate.

Prices for natural gas rose 8.4% year over year in December after decreasing 2.3% in November. A 4.0% monthly price decline from November to December 2018, when utility providers revised commodity prices to reflect low forecasted natural gas prices, no longer influences the 12-month index movement. On a month-over-month basis, consumers paid 6.5% more for natural gas in December 2019 due to higher commodity rates related to lower inventories and increased demand from colder weather.






  Note to readers

Air transportation index

After better aligning the air transportation index with consumer spending patterns in March 2018 by converting to Internet price collection, increasing the number of origin-destination city pairs and introducing advance pricing, further enhancements to the air transportation index have been implemented with the November 2019 Consumer Price Index (CPI):

  • Introduction of automatic daily price collection using application programming interfaces;
  • Additional origin/destination city pairs;
  • Extension of the airline sample to include all airlines serving the Canadian market.

These changes constitute important enhancements in maintaining the quality and relevance of the air transportation index, which represents 1.49% of the 2017 CPI basket and is part of the transportation major component.

A document outlining the details of these changes is available in the Prices Analytical Series.

Cellular services index

The cellular services price index is now available upon request. For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

Real-time data tables

Real-time data table 18-10-0259-01 will be updated on February 3.

Next release

The Consumer Price Index for January will be released on February 19.

Products

The Consumer Price Index Data Visualization Tool is available on the Statistics Canada website.

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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