April 17, 2009

Canada’s CPI rises 1.2 percent in March

Higher food and shelter costs drove Canadian consumer prices up 1.2 percent in March on an annual basis, Statistics Canada reported from Ottawa Friday.

Food prices rose 7.9 percent during the 12-month period on the heels of a 7.4 percent rise in February. It was the largest jump since November 1986, the federal agency said.

A 12-month price increase of 54.9 percent for potatoes pushed up vegetable prices, the report said. This occurred largely as a result of poor harvests in Canada that led to a reduction in supply.

Shelter costs rose at a 12-month rate of 2.1 percent in March, after increasing 3 percent in February.

The Consumer Price Index gain was softened by a 6.2 percent decline in transportation costs, driven by price drops of 21 percent for gasoline and 7.4 percent for purchasing and leasing passenger vehicles, the report said.

Regionally, the provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan were the only two to exceed the national average, each with 1.8 percent gains, StatsCan said.