Fuel costs help push up B.C. inflation by 2.3% in January

Gasoline prices across Canada jumped 20.6% in one year: Statistics Canada

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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in B.C. rose by 2.3% between January 2016 and last month, driven by energy prices, Statistics Canada said Friday (February 24).

B.C.’s energy prices climbed by 11.2%, while transportation costs rose by 5.9%, StatsCan said.

Countrywide, the CPI rose 2.1% on a year-over-year basis in January, following a 1.5% gain in December, driven mostly by fuel costs.

Prices were up in seven of the CPI’s eight major categories in the 12 months to January, with the transportation and shelter costs contributing the most to the year-over-year rise. The food index fell on a year-over-year basis for the fourth consecutive month.

The transportation index rose 6.3% in January in Canada on a year-over-year basis, after a 3% gain in December. The gain in January was led by gasoline prices, which posted their largest increase since September 2011, up 20.6% in the 12 months to January. The rise was partly due to higher crude oil prices in January, as well as a monthly decline a year earlier, StatsCan said.

Year-over-year, the purchase of passenger vehicles index rose more in January (3.8%) than in December (2.6%). This acceleration was partly caused to the greater availability of new 2017-model-year vehicles.

The shelter index rose 2.4% in the 12 months to January, with a gain of 4.3% in the homeowners’ replacement cost index contributing the most to the gain. The natural gas index jumped by15.6% year-over-year in January, after falling the previous month. Fuel oil prices rose 18.3% over the same time period, after increasing 4.2% a month earlier. At the same time, electricity prices fell by 0.7%, the first year-over-year decrease since February 2013.

Consumers paid 2.1% less for food in January than they did a year earlier. The food purchased from stores index fell by 4% year over year, with fresh vegetables (-15.5%), fresh fruit (-10.8%) and meat (-1.7%) all posting larger year-over-year declines in January than in December. A few food product categories recorded price increases. Prices for food purchased from restaurants were up 2.3% year over year in January, matching the gain in December.