Canada: Base effect causes core inflation to slip to a record low in February
March 18, 2011
In February, consumer prices increased 0.3% over the previous month, matching the rate observed in January. The reading was slightly below market expectations of a 0.4% rise. Annual headline inflation inched down from 2.3% in January to 2.2% in February. Higher prices for energy (+10.6% year-on-year) continued to be the key inflation driver and increased at a faster pace than in January (+9.0% yoy). On the other hand, clothing and footwear prices as well as recreation, education and reading prices fell in February. Annual core inflation, which excludes oil and fresh food prices, fell from 1.4% in January to 0.9% in February, the lowest level since January 1984 and remains well below the 2.0% target set by the Bank of Canada. The drop in core CPI is purely transitory and associated with a sharp drop in hotel prices in February after they peaked during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The Bank of Canada forecasts headline inflation to average 2.1% in 2011 and 1.9% in 2012.