Manitoba among top 4 with highest inflation
Beth Macdonell, CTV Winnipeg
Published Friday, January 22, 2016 3:27PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 22, 2016 8:07PM CST
Manitobans enjoying lower gas prices at the pump are not necessarily saving more money in their overall budget.
University of Winnipeg economist Philippe Cyrenne said consumers should think of their expenditures as a basket, making up the total costs of the goods purchased.
Cyrenne said while consumers might have spent less on gas over the past 12 months, they didn't spend less on food.
“If you look into your basket, a lot of it is food. So if prices are going up in that food basket, that means you are spending a lot more on food even if some of those other items are not going down,” he said. “Add it up all together and you get a higher total expenditure.”
The Consumer Price Index consists of data gathered by Statistics Canada. Between December 2014 and December 2015, the CPI found a 4.8 per cent decline in gasoline prices, while many other goods increased:
- Food is 3.7 per cent more expensive in December than it was a year ago.
- Electricity is 3.8 per cent more expensive in December than it was a year ago.
- Passenger vehicles were 3.1 per cent more expensive in December than it was a year ago.
- Home and mortgage insurance is 8.9 per cent more expensive in December than it was a year ago.
Statistics Canada also looked at the increase on some specific food items over the same period:
- Lettuce is 21.8 per cent more costly in December than it was a year ago.
- Apples are 11.8 per cent more costly in December than they were a year ago.
- Pasta products were 9.5 per cent more costly than they were a year ago.
- Oranges were 8.8 per cent more expensive than they were a year ago.
- Fresh or frozen beef is 5.8 per cent more costly than it was a year ago.
On Friday, Statistics Canada said the national inflation average was 1.6 per cent between December 2014 and December 2015.
Analyst Ian Lippert said during the same period, Manitoba’s inflation was 1.5 per cent. The fourth-highest in the country.
According to Cyrenne, that means prices in Manitoba are still going up, but at a slower pace than other provinces. He said that’s usually an indication the economy has slowed, which will lead to a drop in prices.
Cyrenne said consumers can expect food prices to stabilize in 2016 if the dollar doesn’t drop.
“If the exchange rate stabilizes, food prices should stabilizes, but who knows? The dollar could still slide a bit farther," he said. "If that’s the case, then imported food prices will go up a bit more."
-With files from the Canadian Press