Pricier meat, veggies push inflation rate to 1.4%

Price increases are still below the central bank’s target of 2%

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OTTAWA – The country’s annual inflation rate picked up the pace last month to hit 1.4 per cent — moving it a little closer to the central bank’s ideal target of 2.0 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The statistical agency’s November inflation reading was up from just 1.0 per cent in October.

The latest consumer price index says higher prices for food and shelter were among the biggest contributors to the increase. Prices rose in seven of the survey’s eight major categories.

The index found that food prices were up 3.4 per cent compared to a year earlier, thanks in large part to the higher costs of meat and fresh vegetables. The category of fresh or frozen meat, excluding poultry, was up six per cent, while beef alone climbed 8.1 per cent.

The report says the cost of fresh vegetables rose by 10.9 per cent following big, year-over-year increases in the prices of tomatoes and lettuce.

The lower cost of transportation, meanwhile, put downward pressure on the inflation rate as gasoline prices fell last month by 10.6 per cent compared to a year earlier.

The agency says consumer prices rose in every province last month compared to the year before.

The Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate, which excludes some volatile items such as gasoline, was 2.0 per cent last month, compared with 2.1 per cent in October. The core rate is closely followed by the Bank of Canada.

On a month-over-month basis, the consumer price index crept up 0.2 per cent in November, which matched October’s increase.

Statistics Canada also released October data for wholesale trade, which fell 0.6 per cent to $54.7 billion — its fourth-straight monthly drop.

The agency said lower trade figures were recorded in four areas that, when combined, represent 64 per cent of all sales.

Sales fell by three per cent to $10.5 billion in the food, beverage and tobacco category — its third decrease in four months. The category of motor vehicle and parts registered a 2.1 per cent drop to $9.5 billion, its fourth-straight tumble.

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