Inflation so far not a reason for higher interest rates — BUSINESS REPORT

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Inflation so far not a reason for higher interest rates — BUSINESS REPORT

The agency's consumer price index for April identified higher prices for gasoline and natural gas as the biggest upward drivers in year-over-year inflation.

Mirroring the national trend, Ottawa's inflation rate also stood at 1.6 per cent for the second straight month.

Bank of Montreal Chief Economist Doug Porter says "retail sales were solid, showing yet again that anything related to the consumer (including housing) has solid underlying momentum".

Economists said the reports released by Statistics Canada on Friday were not likely to move the Bank of Canada off the sidelines when it meets next week.

There's certainly no shortage of reasons why the Bank of Canada could start to think about higher interest rates.

Nye said he expects the central bank to maintain a cautious tone in their policy announcement next week, reinforcing market expectations that a rate hike is unlikely this year.

But at the same time, he noted Friday's numbers revealed that the average of the three core inflation measures has slid to about 1.4 per cent from 1.6 per cent since the beginning of 2017. The indicators are created to strip away more volatile components of the report, and are closely scrutinized by the Bank of Canada.

On a month-to-month basis, some items which cost less in April than in March included gasoline (up 7.2 per cent), telephone services (up 6.3 per cent), and traveller accommodation (up 3.0 per cent).

The annual inflation rate held at 1.6 percent, just missing economists' forecasts of an uptick to 1.7 percent, while the measures of core inflation the Bank of Canada set a year ago remained muted.

Prices at the pump were 15.9 per cent higher last month and the cost of natural gas rose 15.2 per cent more, Statistics Canada said.

The decline in food prices was broad-based, with cheaper fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products sending the segment down 1.1 percent.

For the year as a whole, pump prices were almost 16% higher in April than they were in 2016. March's total was also a 2.2 per cent improvement from a year earlier, when $1.6 billion worth of goods were sold in the province. Still, the downward pace moderated from the previous month's annual 1.9 percent drop.

Aside from food, clothing and footwear was the only sector to see prices drop in the past year, and they did so 2%.

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