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Canada February Consumer Price Index Report (Text)

The following is the text of Canada’s consumer price index report for February released by Statistics Canada.

Led by increases in energy and food, consumer prices rose 2.6% in the 12 months to February after increasing 2.5% in January.

The 12-month change in the CPI and the CPI excluding food and energy

The cost of energy advanced 7.2% in the 12 months to February, led by increases in prices for gasoline (+8.9%) and electricity (+8.7%). The February increase in energy followed a 6.5% gain in January.

Food prices rose 4.1% on a year-over-year basis in February, following a 4.2% increase in January.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), excluding food and energy, increased 1.7% in the 12 months to February, as passenger vehicle insurance premiums and homeowners’ replacement costs rose. This followed a 1.6% gain in January.

12-month change: Prices up in seven of eight major components

On a year-over-year basis, prices rose in seven of the eight major components in February. Transportation and food continued to post the largest increases.

Transportation and food continue to post largest price increases

The cost of transportation increased 4.2% in the 12 months to February, after rising 3.7% in January. In addition to gasoline, passenger vehicle insurance premiums, prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles and air transportation costs went up.

Food prices rose 4.1% on a year-over-year basis in February, led by increases in food purchased from stores. Prices for meat rose 7.1%, after increasing 6.5% in January. Bread prices were up 7.2% in February, following a 9.9% increase the month before. Consumers also paid more for food purchased from restaurants in the 12 months to February.

Shelter costs rose 1.9% in the 12 months to February. In addition to higher electricity prices, consumers paid 2.4% more in homeowners’ replacement costs. Prices for natural gas continued to fall.

Provincial summary

Consumer prices rose in every province in the 12 months to February. Quebec, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces recorded year-over-year price gains at or above that of the Canada all-items CPI (+2.6%), while increases in the Western provinces were lower.

Quebec posts largest price increase

In Quebec, prices rose 3.2% year over year in February, the largest increase among the provinces, compared with 2.8% in January. The main factors were increases in prices for gasoline (+13.4%), food purchased from restaurants and meat.

In Ontario, prices went up 2.9% in the 12 months to February, following a 2.4% increase in January. The 0.5 percentage point difference in these year-over-year growth rates was mainly attributable to rising prices for electricity (+8.9%) and gasoline (+9.5%). The 12-month increase in February in the electricity index was mostly due to monthly price declines early in 2011 rather than rising prices in recent months. Food purchased from stores, homeowners’ replacement costs and passenger vehicle insurance premiums also contributed to the overall increase in Ontario’s CPI in February.

In Alberta, prices increased 1.9% on a year-over-year basis in February, after rising 2.9% in January. The main contributors to the 1.0 percentage point difference in the year-over-year growth rates were declines in natural gas prices (-22.3%), as well as a slower rate of increase in electricity prices.

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index increases

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.1% from January to February after increasing 0.5% from December to January. Prices increased in all major components except shelter.

Seasonally adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index advances

The transportation index rose 0.5% in February following a 1.3% increase the month before. The shelter index fell 0.2% after rising 0.2% in January.

Bank of Canada’s core index

The Bank of Canada’s core index rose 2.3% in the 12 months to February, after increasing 2.1% in January. Notable price increases were recorded for electricity.

On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted core index increased 0.2% in February, after rising 0.3% the previous month.

Note to readers

The special aggregate “Energy” includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.

The Bank of Canada’s core index excludes eight of the Consumer Price Index’s (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.

Statistics Canada is moving to one release time, 8:30 a.m., for all data releases in The Daily. This will mean a change in the release time for the CPI, which is currently 7:00 a.m. This change will be implemented with the release of CPI data on April 20, 2012.

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