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Canajun Finances Home » Yikes: CPI hits 3.7% Gas to Blame for May 2011

Yikes: CPI hits 3.7% Gas to Blame for May 2011

Inflation is Hot!

The title pretty much sums it all up, thanks to the price of Gasoline and such, inflation is now at 3.7% year over year for May, which is the largest jump in about 8 years, which is cause for concern. Yes, a large portion of the jump is due to gasoline prices, but not completely, and how will the Government react to this in terms of interest rates and policy? (according to our good friends at Stats Canada)

It is possible to argue that this is an aberration, and gas prices are already falling and that inflation may calm back down, and let’s hope that might actually be the case, however, the CPI climb has been fairly relentless since 2010, and speaking as a consumer lots of things are getting pretty darn expensive.

As you can see from the graphic Gas does take up a lot of the big jump in May (year over year).

As Stats Can points out:

Energy prices advanced 16.6% during the 12 months to May, following a 17.1% increase in April. Gasoline prices rose 29.5%, the largest increase since September 2005 when prices rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The latest year-over-year increase follows a 26.4% gain in April, and leaves the gasoline index just below the peak level reached in July 2008. Prices were also higher for fuel oil (+28.2%) and electricity (+0.9%), while they declined 5.3% for natural gas.

Good to hear the Natural gas prices have dropped a little, but the gas and fuel oil price jumps are killing consumers and businesses right now as well.

How bad is Gas prices?

Given how low it has been, this rise is more than a little disconcerting.

Bank of Canada’s core index

The Bank of Canada’s core index advanced 1.8% in the 12 months to May, following a 1.6% gain in April. This is very interesting given the Bank uses their own barometer in terms of prices, and somehow energy and gas don’t have that big a weight in this, which is wild (IMHO).

Gas prices will drive up food prices, and have already done so, and now in Ottawa the Transit Commission and the Police are complaining they will be blowing their budgets for the year due to gas prices too. Hard to believe the Bank of Canada would not put a heavier weight on energy.

The Big Table

As my regular readers know, I love tables of numbers, and with the CPI Stats Canada has some amazing number sets to reflect how the data is derived.

Relative import¹ May 2010 April 2011 May 2011 April to May 2011 May 2010 to May 2011
Not seasonally adjusted
% (2002=100) % change
All-items CPI 100.00² 116.3 119.8 120.6 0.7 3.7
Food 15.99 122.9 126.9 127.7 0.6 3.9
Shelter 27.49 123.0 125.2 125.2 0.0 1.8
Household operations, furnishings and equipment 11.55 108.6 109.8 110.4 0.5 1.7
Clothing and footwear 5.31 92.7 93.1 93.7 0.6 1.1
Transportation 20.60 118.1 127.2 128.9 1.3 9.1
Health and personal care 4.95 114.6 117.3 117.2 -0.1 2.3
Recreation, education and reading 11.20 103.6 105.1 106.1 1.0 2.4
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products 2.91 132.1 135.0 135.7 0.5 2.7
Special aggregates
Core CPI³ 82.15 115.7 117.2 117.8 0.5 1.8
All-items CPI excluding energy 89.92 114.6 116.7 117.3 0.5 2.4
Energy 10.08 137.4 159.2 160.2 0.6 16.6
Gasoline 5.80 147.1 186.8 190.5 2.0 29.5
All-items CPI excluding food and energy 73.93 112.8 114.4 115.0 0.5 2.0
Goods 47.80 109.4 113.7 114.4 0.6 4.6
Services 52.20 123.2 125.9 126.7 0.6 2.8
1. 2009 CPI basket weights at April 2011 prices, Canada, effective May 2011. Detailed weights are available under the Documentation section of survey 2301 (
2. Figures may not add to 100% as a result of rounding.
3. The measure of Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) excludes from the all-items CPI the effect of changes in indirect taxes and eight of the most volatile components identified 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. For additional information on Core CPI, consult the Bank of Canada website (

A Year Ago?

So a year ago inflation was moderating with gas prices coming back into line.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. It’s crazy that oen particular commodity can affect the everything else. This demonstrates that we should all push to mvoe from consuming so much oil. As the BRIC countries modernize further, we will only compete more for these natural resources. Add to that speculators trying to cash in and everyone except investors lose.

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