OTTAWA, March 23 (Reuters) - Statistics Canada issued the following information on Wednesday: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Consumer Price Index February 2005
In February 2005, Canadian consumers paid 2.1% more than in February 2004 for the goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket. This increase follows a12-month rise of 2.0% in January.
The CPI excluding energy went up by 1.6% between February 2004 and February 2005. The 12-month increase for this index has remained relatively stable since June 2004, fluctuating between 1.4% and 1.6%.
The All-items index excluding the eight volatile components identified by the Bank of Canada rose by 1.8% between February 2004 and February 2005, compared with 1.6% in January 2005.
Between January and February, the All-items index rose by 0.4% after slipping 0.1% in January. An important part of the shift from a decrease in January to an increase in February was caused by higher travel tours prices. Significantly higher prices are usually noted in February, when demand increases considerably compared with January.
On a monthly basis, the All-items index excluding the eight volatile components identified by the Bank of Canada was up 0.3% compared with a 0.1% decrease in January and December. For the 10th straight month, gasoline prices ranked first among the factors explaining the 12-month increase in the CPI
In February, the CPI registered a 2.1% increase over February 2004. Upward pressure was exerted primarily by gasoline prices, homeowners' replacement cost, and the purchase and leasing of automotive vehicles.
These increases were nonetheless attenuated by lower prices for computer equipment and supplies, fresh vegetables, and women's and children's clothing.
On average, gasoline prices in February 2005 were 8.5% higher than in February 2004. Residents of Alberta experienced the largest increases (+15.3%), followed closely by those of Manitoba (+14.4%) and Prince Edward Island (+13.7 %). The smallest increases were noted in Quebec (+5.9%) and Ontario (+7.0%).
Homeowners' replacement cost, which represents the worn out structural portion of housing and is estimated using new housing prices (excluding land), rose 5.9% over February 2004. Since the last peak in July 2004, 12-month increases have been gradually diminishing, with February's increase being the lowest.
The index for the purchase and leasing of automotive vehicles climbed 1.9% between February 2004 and February 2005, from 123.3 to 125.7 (1992=100). North American automotive vehicle manufacturers significantly reduced their financial incentives when their 2005 models were introduced.
A number of factors exerted a moderating effect on the 12-month increase in the All-items index. These include the index for computer equipment and supplies, which has dropped by 22.1% since February 2004.
Fresh vegetable prices were 5.7% lower than in February 2004, largely under the influence of prices for "other fresh vegetables" (-8.6%). Prices for tomatoes (-5.6%) and lettuce (-3.2%) were also down. The favourable weather conditions of recent months completely reversed the negative impact on prices of the hurricanes and torrential rains that hit the United States last fall. The increase in potato prices (+11.4%) offset slightly the decreases in these indexes. A concerted reduction in supply seems to have been behind this increase.
The indexes for women's clothing (-2.3%) and children's clothing (-5.9%) were down compared with February 2004. Gasoline prices also pushed the index up from January to February
The CPI rose by 0.4% between January and February, from a level of 125.3 to 125.8 (1992=100). Higher prices for gasoline, women's and men's clothing, and travel tours accounted for most of this increase. Lower prices for the purchase and leasing of automotive vehicles, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit nonetheless exerted a mitigating effect on the increase.
In February, gasoline prices were up 3.4%, representing the second consecutive monthly rise. Increases ranged from 2.0% in Ontario to 7.6% in Saskatchewan.
Between January and February 2005, prices for women's clothing rose by 4.7% and those for men's clothing by 4.2%. It is usual to note increases in these indexes in February.
The index for travel tours climbed by 8.1% in February, with every province posting an increase. The highest rise was recorded in Ontario (+9.3%) and the lowest in the Atlantic provinces (+3.3%).
One of the factors that exerted downward pressure on the All-items index between January and February 2005 was the 0.6% reduction in prices for the purchase and leasing of automotive vehicles. This monthly decrease was attributable to increases in the financial incentives offered in February by some automotive vehicle manufacturers.
Prices for fresh vegetables and fresh fruit were down in February. The drop in prices for tomatoes (-18.0%), lettuce (-10.0%) and "other fresh vegetables" (-0.5%) brought down the index for fresh vegetables (-4.7%). Fresh fruit prices followed suit, with an average reduction of 3.6%, primarily caused by "other fresh fruit" (-7.4%) and apples (-2.4%). Prices for oranges (+1.7%) and bananas (+5.8%) were up. The seasonally adjusted CPI rose from January to February
Seasonally adjusted, the CPI was up 0.2% from January to February 2005.
The indexes for transportation (+0.5%), shelter (+0.2%), clothing and footwear (+0.7%), as well as that for health and personal care (+0.3%) pushed the All-items index up.
Downward pressure was exerted by the seasonally adjusted indexes for recreation, education and reading (-0.2%), and food (-0.1%).
The index for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, as well as that for household operations and furnishings remained stable in February. All-items index excluding the eight most volatile components
The All-items index excluding the eight volatile components identified by the Bank of Canada increased by 1.8% between February 2004 and February 2005. The main contributors to this increase were homeowners' replacement cost (+5.9%), the purchase and leasing of automotive vehicles (+1.9%), restaurant meals (+2.7%) and property taxes (+4.3%). The increase was attenuated by lower prices for computer equipment and supplies (-22.1%), and for women's clothing (-2.3%) and children's clothing (-5.9%).
From January to February 2005, the All-items index excluding the eight volatile components identified by the Bank of Canada increased by 0.3%, largely under the influence of higher prices for women's clothing (+4.7%), travel tours (+8.1%) and men's clothing (+4.2%). The decrease in prices for the purchase and leasing of automotive vehicles (-0.6%) accounted for most of the moderating effect on this increase.