Inflation jumped higher last month, to 3.3%


Canada’s inflation rate bucked its recent trend of slowing last month and instead rose at a 3.3 per cent annual pace in July, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

That was an increase from 2.8 per cent the previous month. Gas prices were a major factor pushing up the inflation rate, mostly due to what economists call the base effect.

For most of the past year, gasoline has been a big factor dragging down the overall rate. But that’s not happening as much now, because prices are up again. Pump prices increased by 0.9 per cent in July. The same month a year earlier, they declined by more than 9 per cent.

Gas prices weren’t the only type of energy bill that was a big factor in the inflation rate going up. The price of electricity skyrocketed in the past year, up by 11.7 per cent. That’s more than twice the annual increase of 5.8 per cent clocked in June and the biggest reason for the uptick was a more than doubling of electricity bills in Alberta, which rose by 127.8 per cent in the year up to July.

Grocery bills keep getting more expensive

Food prices, another thing that has been driving up the cost of living, eased somewhat during the month, but they’re still going up at an eye-watering pace.

Grocery prices increased by 8.5 per cent in the year up to July. That’s an easing from 9.1 per cent the previous month, but still three times the overall inflation rate.

WATCH l Is it time for price caps at the grocery store?

Should food prices be capped?

With grocery bills still stubbornly high, some policy makers have suggested the government bring in temporary price caps on certain items, to bring consumers some relief. CBC News interviewed shoppers in Toronto for their thoughts on whether or not that would be a good idea.

Not every grocery aisle is getting more expensive, or at the same rate. There was some relief in the produce section, with fresh fruit prices seeing their largest month-over-month decline since February 2008, down 6.5 per cent.

The price of grapes plummeted by more than 40 per cent last month, Statscan says. 

Mortgages, meanwhile — which have been another major source of pressure on the cost of living — continue to get more expensive.

Mortgage interest costs have increased by 30.6 per cent in the past year. That’s another record year-over-year gain, and the largest single factor in the increase in the overall inflation rate.



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