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Inflation rate inches up to 4.4%

By Brad Perry May 16, 2023 | 10:05 AM

Canada’s inflation rate inched up slightly in April for the first time in nearly a year, according to Statistics Canada.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 4.4 per cent year over year, compared to 4.3 per cent in March.

It was the first acceleration in headline consumer inflation since June 2022, StatCan said in its monthly report on Tuesday.

Officials said higher rent prices and mortgage interest costs contributed the most to the year-over-year increase.

Shelter costs rose 4.9 per cent year over year in April, after a 5.4 per cent increase the month before.

StatCan said Canadians also paid 28.5 per cent more in mortgage interest costs as more mortgages were initiated or renewed at higher interest rates.

Their report said the higher interest rate environment may also have contributed to a 6.1 per cent increase in rent prices by leading to higher rental demand.

Meanwhile, grocery prices rose at a slower rate in April but were still well above the rate of inflation.

StatCan said prices for groceries rose 9.1 per cent year over year last month compared to 9.7 per cent in March.

The slowdown, it said, stemmed from smaller price increases for fresh vegetables and coffee and tea.

Fresh fruit, however, saw a year-over-year increase compared to March, led by faster growth in orange prices.

Gasoline prices increased 6.3 per cent in April compared with March, marking the largest monthly increase since October.

The jump followed an announcement from OPEC+ to reduce oil output, pushing prices higher, said StatCan. The switch to summer blend and an increase in carbon levies also contributed to higher prices.

Despite the increase on a monthly basis, gas prices were 7.7 per cent lower in April compared with a year earlier, when prices were higher due in part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Regional inflation numbers

Prices rose at a faster pace in April compared with March in five provinces. The highest acceleration was in Alberta, which StatCan said was partially due to higher electricity prices.

Manitoba (5.5 per cent), Saskatchewan (5.2 per cent), Quebec (4.8 per cent) and Nova Scotia (4.5 per cent) had the highest rates of inflation.

That was followed by New Brunswick (4.3 per cent), Alberta (4.3 per cent), British Columbia (4.3 per cent), Ontario (4.2 per cent), Prince Edward Island (3.7 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (3.5 per cent).

You can view the full report by clicking here.


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