Annual inflation rate rises to 1.2% but still low by historic standards

Gas prices led the year-over-year gains in December.

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OTTAWA – Canada’s national annual inflation rate rose to 1.2 per cent last month, slightly higher than in November but still low by historic standards.

The December inflation number reported Friday by Statistics Canada came in below the Bank of Canada’s ideal target of two per cent, but within the desired range of one and three per cent.

It was also within analyst estimates. The November inflation rate was unusually low at 0.9 per cent and was expected to rise but continue to be relatively low, as it has been for more than a year.

That last time Canada’s inflation rate hit the central bank’s ideal target of two per cent was in April 2012, according to Statistics Canada figures.

The rise in overall inflation last month was largely attributable to higher gasoline prices, which rose 4.7 per cent from a year earlier.

After excluding some volatile items such as energy, core inflation in December rose to 1.3 per cent compared to 1.1 per cent in November.

Statistics Canada said higher shelter costs and food prices also increased the inflation rate, while costs for health and personal care declined.

In all, six of the eight major price components tracked by Statistics Canada rose in December.

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