Canadian Inflation (January 2024) - February, 2024

Canadian prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 2.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis in January, down from a 3.4% increase in December. Month-over-month, on a seasonally adjusted basis, CPI declined by 0.1 per cent in January, the first decline since May of 2020. Gasoline base-year effects contributed to the decline. Excluding energy costs, CPI rose 3.3 per cent year-over-year in January, down from 3.7 per cent in December. Decelerating food costs also contributed to the slowing in the CPI, with food prices rising by 3.4 per cent in January compared to 4.7 per cent in December. Shelter costs, however, continue to be a major driver of inflation, with mortgage interest costs up 27.4 per cent and rent up 7.9 per cent from last year in January. Excluding shelter, consumer prices rose 1.5 per cent, year over year. In BC, consumer prices rose 3 per cent year-over-year. The Bank of Canada's preferred measures of core inflation, which strip out volatile components, fell to between 3.3 and 3.4 per cent per cent year-over-year in January. 

January's CPI report contained unexpectedly good news, with the annual change in prices technically falling within the Bank of Canada's 1 to 3 per cent target range and declining month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis for the first time since the start of the pandemic. While volatile gas prices contributed to the decline, easing price pressures in other areas also reduced pressure on the CPI. Food price appreciation has been easing over the past 12 months and is now not far above historical norms. The category that remains the most challenging is shelter, with rents in particular so far showing no sign of slowing. Overall, January was an encouraging report, and markets shifted their expectations of rate cuts forward slightly, with cuts expected to begin in Q2. However, the Bank of Canada will be looking to see a sustained trend in inflation in the coming months before they will be comfortable initiating rate cuts.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-inflation-january-2024-february-20-2024

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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