inflation-balloons

The country’s annual inflation rate once again rang in at 1.6% last month as higher energy costs offset a seventh consecutive decline in grocery prices, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The agency’s consumer price index for April identified higher prices for gasoline and natural gas as the biggest upward drivers in year-over-year inflation.

On the other hand, fresh produce and clothing applied the most downward pressure on the inflation rate.

The annual inflation rate matched Statistics Canada’s reading for March but was below a consensus estimate of 1.7%, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Prices at the pump were 15.9% higher last month and the cost of natural gas rose 15.2% more, Statistics Canada said.

Overall food prices were down 1.1% as prices for fresh fruits fell 6.2%, fresh vegetables slipped 5.9% and meat dropped 2.1%.

In addition, the cost of kids’ clothing was 6.2% lower and women’s clothes cost 2.8% less in April, compared with a year earlier.

Statistics Canada said the inflation rate was higher in three provinces, including Saskatchewan, which easily saw the biggest acceleration after it raised its provincial sales tax in late March.

Saskatchewan’s annual inflation rate sped up to 1.4% last month after rising just 0.6% in March.

Prices rose at a slower pace year-over-year in five provinces, while they were unchanged in two provinces.

Two of the agency’s three measures of core or underlying inflation slowed last month, while the third was unchanged. The indicators are designed to strip away more volatile components of the report, and are closely scrutinized by the Bank of Canada.

CPI-common stayed at 1.3% last month, CPI-median decelerated to 1.6 from 1.7 and CPI-trim slowed to 1.3 from 1.4.

The agency also released its latest retail trade numbers, which showed total sales in March delivered a larger than expected rebound by rising 0.7%. The data followed a month-over-month February contraction of 0.4%.

Total retail trade in March was nearly $48.3 billion thanks to stronger sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, which was mostly due to an increase in new car purchases, the report said.

Economists had predicted a 0.4% increase in retail trade for March, according to Thomson Reuters.

Originally published on Advisor.ca
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