Canada’s Annual Inflation Rate Hits 3.4%, Highest Level in Nearly a Decade

Prices increased in April at the fastest annual rate in nearly a decade as gasoline prices posted a record year-over-year rise and inflation continued to rebound from the plunge at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual pace of inflation rose to 3.4 percent in April, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday, up from a 2.2 percent year-over-year increase in the consumer price index in March.

The increase in April set a new pandemic-era high for the third time in as many months and was the highest reading since May 2011, when the consumer price index posted a year-over-year gain of 3.7 percent.

Gasoline prices in April were up 62.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, the largest annual increase on record as prices at the pumps rebounded from an 11-year low in April 2020.

Removing gasoline prices, Statistics Canada said annual inflation for April would have clocked in at 1.9 percent.

Last week, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said he didn’t think a high reading in April would require immediate action by the central bank.

Prices increased across a breadth of sectors in April.

The cost of clothing and shoes was up 1.8 percent year-over-year after stores were unable to sell goods in the lockdowns last year, marking the first 12-month gain in the pandemic.

Statistics Canada said higher new home prices, costs to renovate decks and replace fences as well as furniture are also being driven up by rising lumber prices that it plans to keep a closer eye on in the coming months.

The agency also noted that prices were down 13 percent for telephone and cellular services compared with April 2020.

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