Grocery price hikes slow for 5th straight month in November – National

Canada’s annual inflation rate held steady at 3.1 per cent in November, Statistics Canada said Tuesday, amid a “broad-based” easing in grocery price hikes.

Some economists had expected a decline in the headline inflation figure, but StatCan said higher prices on travel tours and elevated housing costs kept the annual rate steady.

Rents were up 7.4 per cent year-over-year — down from the previous month — and mortgage interest costs rose nearly 30 per cent annually, the agency noted.

A 26.1 per cent jump in the prices for travel tours last month was offset by drops in the cost of cellular services, which StatCan said related to Black Friday deals in November.

Gas prices were down last month but to a lesser extent than October, which the agency said put upward pressure on the monthly inflation figure. A drop in the price of fuel oil helped to reduce price pressures in the month, with StatCan noting the Liberal government’s temporary suspension of the federal carbon levy on home heating oil “contributed to the decline.”

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November was the fifth straight month that food inflation slowed, the agency noted, with grocery prices rising 4.7 per cent annually in the month.

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StatCan said that the easing at the grocery store was “broad-based,” with price hikes on every component in the grocery basket cooling from October’s increases. Fresh vegetables (up 2.5 per cent), processed meat (up 1.8 per cent) and fish (up 1.3 per cent) in particular saw substantial easing, with overall prices declining on non-alcoholic beverages.

The Bank of Canada has been encouraged by the recent slowdown in inflation and the economy overall, opting to hold its key interest rate steady at five per cent over the last few months.

Forecasters expect the central bank’s next move will be to cut interest rates once it feels more confident that inflation is heading back to its two per cent target.

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— with files from The Canadian Press

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