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Statistics Canada says annual pace of inflation climbs 2.2%

Last Updated Dec 18, 2019 at 9:38 am EDT

Statistics Canada's offices at Tunny's Pasture in Ottawa are shown on March 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The annual pace of inflation heated up in November as gasoline prices posted their first year-over-year increase since October 2018, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

The agency said the consumer price index rose 2.2 per cent compared with a year ago to end a three-month streak where the annual pace of inflation had held steady at 1.9 per cent.

The increase in the pace of inflation compared with October came as energy prices in November posted their first year-over-year increase since April. Energy prices climbed 1.5 per cent compared with a year ago compared with a decline of 2.9 per cent in October.

Gasoline prices were up 0.9 per cent year-over-year compared with a drop 6.7 per cent in October.

Canadians also saw the price for meat rise 5.2 per cent compared with a year ago, the fifth month of increases at or above 4.0 per cent. The cost of fresh or frozen beef was up 6.2 per cent, while ham and bacon prices rose 9.1 per cent. Fresh or frozen pork was up 0.7 per cent.

Regionally, prices on a year-over-year basis rose more in November in every province except British Columbia.

Excluding gasoline, the consumer price index was up 2.3 per cent compared with a year ago, matching the increase in October.

The overall increase in prices was driven by increased mortgage interest costs, passenger vehicles and auto insurance premiums. The increases were partly offset by lower prices for telephone services, Internet access and traveller accommodation.

The average of Canada’s three measures for core inflation, which are considered better gauges of underlying price pressures, was 2.17 per cent compared with a revised figure of 2.10 per cent for October.

The core readings are closely monitored by the Bank of Canada, which adjusts its key interest rate target to manage inflation.

The central bank, which targets annual inflation of two per cent, has kept its key interest rate on hold at 1.75 per cent for more than a year.