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MNI DATA IMPACT: Canada Nov Inflation +1.0%, Fastest Since Feb


Canadian consumer prices advanced 1.0% in November from a year ago, more than economists expected and the fastest pace since February before the first pandemic lockdown, government figures showed Wednesday.

Housing costs rose 1.9% to provide the biggest lift to inflation, Statistics Canada said, with consumers seeking bigger homes to sit out the pandemic. Furniture and household appliance prices also both rose by almost 3%. The agency also warned that some of the gain was a statistical quirk imputing the cost of travel tours -- up 18% from a year ago in a month when non-essential foreign travel is discouraged.

Economists predicted a 0.8% inflation rate, following the October pace of 0.7%. The November pace is still just at the bottom of the Bank of Canada's 1% to 3% target band for inflation, and less than half of the 2.2% pace in February before the pandemic struck.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem on Tuesday said a lot of slack remains in the economy and affirmed he will keep rates close to zero until that's absorbed, something the central bank predicts may not happen until into 2023. The second wave of the virus could cause the economy to shrink again in the first quarter of next year, he said.

Low policy rates also helped foster the biggest plunge in mortgage interest costs since 1994, falling 0.9% on a monthly basis in November. The overall CPI rose 0.1% on a monthly basis, while economists predicted no change.

The 12-month inflation rate was also held back by gasoline, down 12% from a year ago.

The average of the three core CPI indexes tracked by the BOC was 1.7% in November, unchanged for a third month. The core rates have barely budged below 2% even in the steepest recession since the 1930s.

StatsCan also reported Wednesday that wholesale sales rose 1.0% in October, close to economist projections of 0.9%. Sales are 3.3% higher than before the pandemic.

MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 |
MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 |

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