Canada: Inflation hits an eight-month high in January
Consumer prices increased 0.1% from a month earlier on a seasonally-adjusted basis in January, softer than December’s 0.4% uptick. According to Statistics Canada, higher prices for transportation, food, and clothing and footwear drove the increase in January.
Inflation increased to 2.4% in January (December: 2.2%), which marked the highest level since May 2019 and was likely due to higher gasoline prices at the pump, while the reintroduction of carbon pricing in Alberta also added some upward pressure. January’s reading beat market analysts’ expectations and remained above the 2.0% midpoint of the Central Bank’s 1.0%–3.0% target range for the third consecutive month. Meanwhile, annual average inflation increased to 2.0% in January from 1.9% the month prior.
Commenting on January’s print, James Marple, a senior economist at TD Economics, noted:
“The positive contribution to inflation from higher oil prices will certainly unwind in February, bringing the headline down with it. While oil and gasoline prices rose at the start of January, they plummeted through the month as news around the COVID-19 outbreak spread.”
This year, inflation should be supported by robust wage growth and the recently introduced carbon tax. That being said, developments in commodity prices remain a key risk to the inflation outlook.