OTTAWA – The country’s annual inflation rate rang in at 1.5 per cent last month – with lower fuel prices helping to offset higher consumer costs for cars, electricity and air travel, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Shelter and household items registered the biggest gains of the major categories of Statistics Canada’s consumer price index.
If gasoline prices at the pump were excluded, Canada’s national inflation rate would have been 1.9 per cent last month.
Statistics Canada says Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest inflation rate of any province in June at 2.4 per cent, an increase that followed its 1.5 per cent rate the previous month, and was mostly due to higher pump prices.
Nationally, Canada’s consumers paid 1.3 per cent more for food items last month compared with a year earlier. For example, prices rose for apples by 19.7 per cent, fresh and frozen fish by 7.4 per cent and lettuce by 5.5 per cent.
Canadians also paid 5.5 per cent more for cigarettes and 1.1 per cent more for alcohol, Statistics Canada said.
Overall, the 1.5 per cent headline for June reading stayed within the Bank of Canada’s ideal target range and matched the 1.5 per cent inflation rate for May.
The annual core inflation rate, which leaves out some volatile items such as gasoline prices and is watched closely by the Bank of Canada, was 2.1 per cent last month. That also matched the May reading.
Economists had expected a slightly lower headline inflation rate at 1.4 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
Statistics Canada also released its latest figures for retail trade, which showed a 0.2 per cent increase in May compared to the previous month. Total retail sales in May were nearly $44.3 billion.
The increase in retail sales were lower in May than in April, when they rose a revised 0.8 per cent.