OTTAWA—Canada’s annual pace of inflation ticked higher in December, but the rate was weaker than expected as lower food prices helped offset increases in the transportation and shelter groups.
Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in December was up 1.5 per cent from where it was a year ago, a higher rate of inflation compared with November’s increase of 1.2 per cent.
Economists had expected a bigger increase of 1.7 per cent year-over-year in December.
Prices were up for seven of the eight major categories compared with a year earlier, with food being the one exception.
The transportation index was up 3.0 per cent in December compared with a year ago, while the shelter index rose 2.1 per cent.
In contrast, Statistics Canada says the price of food fell on a year-over-year basis for the third consecutive month. Prices for food in December fell 1.3 per cent compared with a year ago.
Statistics Canada says the pace of inflation increased in six provinces in December compared with November, while inflation in two provinces was unchanged and it fell in two other provinces.
For the full year, the average annual increase in the consumer price index was 1.4 per cent in 2016. That compared with 1.1 per cent in 2015 and 2.0 per cent in 2014.
Excluding gasoline, the annual average rise in the consumer price index was 1.8 per cent in 2016, following a 2.0 per cent increase in 2015.
In addition to the inflation report, Statistics Canada reported Friday that retail sales climbed 0.2 per cent in November to $45.2 billion.
Economists had expected a bigger increase of 0.5 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
Sales were up in five of 11 subsectors with the overall increase due in large part to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.
Retail sales in volume terms increased 0.7 per cent.