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Canada’s inflation rate rose to 3.3 per cent in July, StatCan reports

OTTAWA —Canada's economic landscape witnessed a notable development as the nation's Consumer Price Index (CPI) surged by 3.3% year-over-year in July 2023, according to the latest report by Statistics Canada (StatCan). This increase in the inflation rate has generated discussions and concerns among economists and policymakers alike.

The acceleration in inflation has been attributed to a combination of diverse factors. One key contributor to this rise is the base-year effect on gasoline prices. In July 2022, a substantial decline in gasoline prices significantly impacted the 12-month trend. However, this decline is no longer a factor in the current calculations, leading to upward pressure on the inflation rate. Notably, when gasoline prices were excluded from the equation, the CPI rose by 4.1%, reflecting a slight increase from June's 4.0% uptick.

Notable components that have significantly impacted this inflation surge include electricity prices in Alberta, which saw an astounding annual increase of 127.8%. This dramatic rise in electricity costs adds to the complex tapestry of factors driving inflation. Additionally, the mortgage interest cost index rose by an eye-catching 30.6% year-over-year, contributing significantly to the overall headline inflation.

The month of July also experienced a 0.6% increase in the CPI on a monthly basis. This upward trajectory was driven, in part, by higher travel tour prices during the peak travel season. Energy prices also played a role in this monthly change, although the decline in energy costs was milder in July compared to the previous month. Gasoline prices, for example, dropped by 12.9% year-over-year due to base-year effects, while electricity prices rose by 11.7% owing to increased demand and policy changes. Natural gas prices, however, experienced a year-over-year decrease of 15.7%.

The report indicates that certain sectors have experienced a deceleration in their year-over-year growth rates. Grocery prices, for instance, grew by 8.5% in July, slightly slower than June's rise of 9.1%. Fresh fruit prices, which had seen a significant increase of 10.4% in June, rose by a more modest 4.1% in July. This decline was driven by substantial month-over-month drops in grape prices (down 40.9%) and oranges (down 1.8%). Similarly, bakery product costs rose by 9.8% year-over-year in July, marking a slower pace of growth compared to the 12.9% increase witnessed in June.

The inflation uptick has prompted conversations within the economic community, especially at the Bank of Canada. Economists have expressed concerns about the deviation from the central bank's target range of one to three percent. The decision-making at the Bank of Canada, including potential interest rate adjustments, will undoubtedly be influenced by the observed trends in inflation, overall economic indicators, and future forecasts.

As Canada grapples with this inflation surge, stakeholders will closely monitor economic data and policy actions to navigate this complex economic landscape.



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