Loonies are pictured in Vancouver, Sept. 22, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Lower gas prices help Canada’s inflation rate slow to 1.4% in January

Excluding gasoline, the agency said inflation was 2.1 per cent last month

The country’s annual inflation rate decelerated last month to 1.4 per cent in January in large part because of lower prices at the pump, Statistics Canada said Wednesday said in a new report.

Year-over-year growth in consumer prices slowed following the two per cent reading for December, the agency said in its latest consumer price index report.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 1.5 per cent for January, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Across the country, Canadians paid 14.2 per cent less last month for gasoline compared with a year earlier, 9.2 per cent less for computer devices and 3.2 per cent less for traveller accommodation. The report also said prices for fuel oil fell 3.3 per cent and natural gas dropped 2.3 per cent.

Excluding gasoline, the agency said inflation was 2.1 per cent last month.

The weaker prices in categories like energy offset stronger growth in other areas. Year-over-year prices last month were 13.2 per cent higher for fresh vegetables, 7.8 per cent higher for mortgage interest costs and 5.3 per cent higher at restaurants.

The report also said the average of the Bank of Canada’s three core inflation readings, which omit more-volatile items like gas, held steady at 1.9 per cent in January for a third straight month.

The Bank of Canada has been expecting inflation to edge down below its ideal two per cent target and to stay there throughout 2019, mostly because of lower gas prices.

The central bank, which aims to keep inflation between one and three per cent, can raise its benchmark interest rate as a way to keep inflation from climbing too high. The bank will make a policy decision next Wednesday and it’s widely expected to leave the interest rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent.

Last week, governor Stephen Poloz said the interest rate’s expected upward path to its likely destination range of between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent is “highly uncertain.”

The bank, he said, is watching how several important uncertainties unfold.

Poloz highlighted the unknown evolution of the impacts of higher interest rates on heavily indebted Canadians, how housing markets adjust to higher borrowing costs and stricter mortgage guidelines, whether business investment picks up its pace and the uncertain global trade environment.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en clan launches civil lawsuit against Coastal GasLink

Gidimt’en seeking damages and costs over destruction of logging road encampment and gate

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

Most Read