The annual pace of inflation picked up in April as the impact of lower energy prices moderated.
Statistics Canada said Friday that its consumer price index climbed 1.7 per cent in April compared with a year ago. That was in line with economist estimates and compared with a 1.3 per cent jump in March.
Energy prices in April were down 3.2 per cent compared with a year ago, but the drop was much smaller than the 7.8 per cent decline in March.
Gasoline in April was down 5.8 per cent compared with a year ago, while natural gas fell 12.8 per cent and fuel oil plunged 19.3 per cent. The moves compared with drops of 13.6 per cent, 17.4 per cent and 25.8 per cent respectively for March.
Meanwhile, fresh vegetables were up 11.7 per cent year-over-year in April, food from restaurants was up 2.7 per cent and passenger vehicles gained 4.6 per cent. Electricity costs were up 6.5 per cent.
Overall food prices were up 3.2 per cent in April, while the transportation index was up 0.9 per cent compared with a year ago as a higher cost of passenger vehicles weighed against lower gasoline prices.
Prices were up in seven of the eight major components compared with a year ago.
The clothing and footwear group was the only one of eight major index components to see a drop compared with last year. It moved down 0.2 per cent. Women’s clothing slipped 0.5 per cent, while men’s clothing was unchanged.
Prices were up in nine of 10 provinces compared with a year ago. Alberta held steady.
The Bank of Canada’s core index, which excludes some of the most volatile items, was up 2.2 per cent in April compared with a year ago. The reading was up from the 2.1 per cent mark set in March. The rate was higher than the 2.0 per cent that economists had expected.
In addition to the inflation report, Statistics Canada also reported that retail sales in March fell 1.0 per cent to $43.8 billion after posting gains in January and February.
Economists had expected a drop of 0.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
Sales were down in six of 11 of the subsectors tracked with the largest drop in dollar terms coming at motor vehicle and parts dealers which saw a 2.9 per cent drop. The move was due in large part to a 3.0 per cent drop at new car dealers, while other motor vehicle dealers fell 5.3 per cent and used car dealers slipped 3.7 per cent.
Retail sales in March were down in nine provinces. Prince Edward Island was the only province to show an increase as it gained 0.8 per cent.