Canadian inflation hits the highest level since 1991

·2-min read
Woman shopping at a grocery store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 16, 2021. Canada's inflation rate reached 4.1% in August, highest since 2003 and as a result experts are predicting a big increase in grocery bills across Canada. (Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Rising food prices continue to put pressure on Canadian households (Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Inflation continues to run hot in Canada, with consumer prices rising 6.7 per cent year-over-year in March.

Statistics Canada says that's up from 5.7 per cent in February and the largest gain in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since 1991.

Higher prices were widespread, rising in all eight major components of the index.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove oil prices higher, leading to a 11.8 per cent gain in the price of gasoline from February to March. That increase means consumers are paying 39.8 per cent more for gas than the same time last year.

Automobile prices rose 7 per cent due to new 2022 models rolling out and supply chain problems.

Disruptions also helped make furniture 13.7 per cent more expensive.

Groceries were 8.7 per cent more expensive year-over-year, with pasta up 17.8 per cent, butter 16 per cent higher, and cereal prices increasing 12.3 per cent from 2021 levels. Dining out was 5.4 per cent more expensive.

Travel was also more expensive, with accommodation costs up 24.4 per cent and airfare 8.3 per cent higher.

“While March should represent the peak in inflation due to the slight pullback in energy prices from their highest point, any easing in the next few months will likely be fairly gradual due to continued supply disruptions emanating from the war in Ukraine and lockdown measures in China,” said CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham in a note.

“A more meaningful deceleration in inflationary pressure will likely wait until the second half of this year and into 2023.”

The Bank of Canada hiked its key interest rate by 50 basis points last week and warned of higher rates to come in order to fight inflation. Its next interest rate announcement is on June 1.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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