Canadian food prices fall for first time since 2000

Canada's annual inflation rate picked up in October as a rise in gasoline prices was offset by the first decline in food prices in nearly 17 years.

The annual rate was 1.5 per cent, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday 18 November, up from September's 1.3 per cent and matching analysts' expectations. The increase still left inflation below the Bank of Canada's 2 per cent target, which it renewed last month.

The Canadian dollar strengthened slightly against the greenback following the report.

A 2.5 per cent annual increase in gasoline prices drove total inflation higher. The cost of shelter rose 1.9 per cent, the biggest increase since January 2015 due to higher costs to maintain the value of the home and a rise in property taxes.

But food prices declined 0.7 per cent on an annual basis, the first decrease since January 2000. The cost of food bought at stores tumbled 2.1 per cent in the biggest decline since July 1992 as prices for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy all fell.

A surge in food prices made headlines at the beginning of the year, as the steep depreciation in the Canadian dollar at the time drove up the cost of fruits and vegetables.


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