Canadian prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 4.1% on a year-over-year basis in August, rising at the fastest rate since 2003. This rise was mostly the result of an accumulation of price increases in 2021, while August itself did not post high price growth. On a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis, the CPI was up 0.2% in August. The Bank of Canada's preferred measures of core inflation (which use techniques to strip out volatile elements) rose an average of 2.6% year-over-year in August. Major drivers of the price increase included passenger vehicles (+7.2%), furniture (+8.7%) and household appliances (+5.3%) partly on continuing supply-chain difficulties related to semiconductors. The homeowner replacement cost index, which measures the cost of replacing home structures, rose 14.3% year-over-year in August, which was the fastest rate since the 1980s. Related costs, such as commissions on the sale of real estate, also rose strongly in August. In BC, consumer prices were up 0.2% month-over-month, and up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis.
Inflation continues to run ahead of the Bank of Canada's 2 per cent target. The driving force behind rising prices is still isolated to a few categories of spending. In particular, the rising price of gasoline and the run-up in Canadian home prices since last year. Those categories alone accounted for about half of the observed inflation in August. Home prices in Canada are beginning to flatten out, which should mean a fading impact on inflation over the next year. Likewise, the impact of gas prices should continue to decline as base-year effects have less influence. Other issues putting upward pressure on consumer prices are being driven by bottlenecks and supply shortages – which are issues that monetary policy cannot address.
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