OTTAWA—Inflation remained cool last month at 1.3 per cent as stubbornly low energy prices continued to weigh down the annual rate, Statistics Canada said April 22.
The March inflation reading followed a 1.4 per cent year-over-year increase in February and a two per cent rise in January.
The agency’s latest consumer price index said its headline inflation rate remained below the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target, largely due to a drop in prices for gasoline, natural gas and fuel oil. Prices dropped 13.6 per cent at the pump, 17.4 per cent for natural gas and 25.8 per cent for fuel oil.
Those downward forces countered higher prices for shelter and food—particularly fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. Due in part to the lower Canadian dollar, vegetables prices were up 14.9 per cent and fruit rose 11.3 per cent.
The core inflation rate, which does not include some of the most volatile items such as gasoline, rose to 2.1 per cent last month after a 1.9 per cent reading in February. The central bank watches core inflation closely because it’s a better indicator of underlying price pressures.
Inflation was lower in eight provinces in March compared to the previous month, leaving Alberta and British Columbia as the only ones that saw a higher rate.