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.
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
Chart description: 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.