Cost of food lifts consumer price index

In October, the consumer price index rose 1% over a year ago due to a rise in the cost of food. Still, lower gas prices continued to weigh on the index.

Statistics Canada says prices were up in seven of the eight major components measured on a year-over-year basis, led by higher food costs.

And, the Bank of Canada’s core index (which excludes some of the most volatile components) was up 2.1% over a year ago, matching the increase in September. Economists had expected an increase of 2%.

Food prices were up 4.1%, compared with a year ago, boosted by the cost of food bought in stores, which increased 4.6% compared with last year. Most notably, the cost of fresh fruit was up 13% compared to a year ago, while fresh vegetables increased 13.9% and meat gained 5%.

Offsetting those increases was the transportation index, which fell 3.2% compared to a year ago. That was mainly due to a drop in the price of gasoline, with the gasoline index dipping 17.1% compared to a year ago.

Overall prices rose in nine provinces, with Manitoba posting the largest increase via a gain of 1.9%. Saskatchewan and Alberta followed since they both posted a 1.4% increase.

Meanwhile, the consumer price index in Prince Edward Island posted its 11th consecutive year-over-year decline. The island province saw a drop of 0.8% compared with a year ago.

The latest read on inflation came as Statistics Canada also reported that retail sales fell 0.5% in September to $43.3 billion. Sales were down in eight of 11 subsectors as retail sales in volume terms edged up 0.1%.