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Lower Prices in January in Canada, Pull the Other Leg

Stats Canada published the Consumer Price Index a little earlier this month (this past Thursday), and as I guessed the continued oscillations of Gas prices has caused the January CPI to seem to suggest that prices only rose 1.0% year over year, which of course, is more fun with numbers. Without gas prices included the actual CPI is around 2.5%, and with gas prices going back up 25% this past month, look for a not so happy story in February.

CPI with and WITHOUT Gas prices for the past little while

The major increase that impacts everyone is the 4.5% increase in Food prices, to quote Stats Canada:

Food prices advanced 4.6% on a year-over-year basis in January, the largest gain since November 2011. Prices for food purchased from stores were up 5.4% in the 12 months to January, following a 4.2% rise the previous month. Prices for both fresh fruit and fresh vegetables posted higher year-over-year increases in January than in December. Consumers paid 2.8% more for food purchased from restaurants in January compared with the same month in 2014.

Given all the cogitations of fuel prices the price of food has been steadily going up, and making it a lot harder for lower and middle-income Canadians to feed their families.

Seasonally adjusted CPI for past 5 years or so

Bank of Canada’s core index

Let us hope that the Bank of Canada has a more sane view of inflation?

The Bank of Canada’s core index rose 2.2% in the 12 months to January, matching the increase in December.

The seasonally adjusted core index rose 0.2% on a monthly basis in January, matching the gain in December.

Well, it is closer to the real numbers, but I suspect we will continue with our over-stimulated economy for a while longer.

Consumer Price Index, major components and special aggregates

A usual, I will include one of the big tables for you to see just how interesting all the numbers are, and you do the comparison on things.


Relative import1 January
Dec 2014
to Jan 2015
Jan 2014
to Jan 2015
% (2002=100) % change
All-items 100.002 123.1 124.5 124.3 -0.2 1.0
Food 16.41 133.0 137.4 139.1 1.2 4.6
Shelter 26.80 130.5 133.0 133.1 0.1 2.0
Household operations, furnishings and equipment 13.14 114.7 117.8 118.0 0.2 2.9
Clothing and footwear 6.08 89.2 91.1 91.1 0.0 2.1
Transportation 19.10 129.2 124.9 122.4 -2.0 -5.3
Health and personal care 4.73 118.3 119.6 120.0 0.3 1.4
Recreation, education and reading 10.89 104.7 106.1 105.6 -0.5 0.9
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products 2.86 140.9 149.1 149.9 0.5 6.4
Special aggregates
Bank of Canada’s core index3 85.39 121.3 123.7 124.0 0.2 2.2
All-items excluding energy 92.21 120.1 122.5 122.9 0.3 2.3
Energy4 7.79 160.2 148.7 139.5 -6.2 -12.9
Gasoline 3.84 179.5 149.9 131.3 -12.4 -26.9
All-items excluding food and energy 75.80 117.3 119.3 119.5 0.2 1.9
Goods 46.68 114.2 114.6 114.0 -0.5 -0.2
Services 53.32 131.9 134.5 134.7 0.1 2.1
  1. 2013 Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket weights at December 2014 prices, Canada, effective with the January 2015 CPI.
  2. Figures may not add up to 100% as a result of rounding.
  3. 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 additional information on the core index, consult the Bank of Canada’s website.
  4. The special aggregate “energy” includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and accessories for recreational vehicles.


CANSIM tables 326-0020 and 326-0031.


Feel Free to Comment

  1. Barry Choi – Toronto – Barry Choi is a personal finance and travel expert who makes frequent media appearances in Canada and the U.S. You can follow him at his personal site or on Twitter: @barrychoi

    Inflation on food just keeps going up, I paid $4.50 for taco shells the other day and I was furious!

  2. I’m curious what effect the gas prices going back up are going to have, I’m also curious what the housing market is going to be like come spring. My gut feel is its going to be more muted.

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