Canadian inflation was slightly stronger than expected in October as prices rose for almost all consumer items, but the rate remained well below the central bank’s 2 per cent target, suggesting interest rate hikes are still a long way off.
Annual inflation held steady at 1.2 per cent, unchanged from September but above the 1.1 per cent forecast by market players. The consumer price index rose 0.2 per cent in October from September. Gasoline and electricity prices grew at a slower year-on-year pace than in September while prices for food, air travel and property taxes rose more sharply, Statistics Canada said in a report on Friday.
Core inflation, which strips out gasoline and other volatile items, was unchanged from September at 1.3 per cent year-on-year. Market players had forecast 1.2 per cent core inflation.
With price pressures holding below 2 per cent since March, there is little pressure on the Bank of Canada to follow through on its warning that it may need to raise interest rates, a stance that has made it an outlier among major economies. The consumer price index rose 1.2 per cent in October year-on-year, while the core inflation rate, which excludes prices for gasoline and other volatile items, was up 1.3 per cent. Compared with September, the gauges rose 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.
The annual rates were unchanged from September but slightly above forecasts of 1.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent inflation by market players in a Reuters poll.
The lack of inflationary pressure means Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has no reason to raise rates soon.
He is the only central bank chief in the world’s major industrialised economies to talk about hiking rates, a move that would be made to prevent inflation from overshooting the bank’s inflation target in the medium term.
“It doesn’t really change the story -it’s really limited inflation pressure in Canada,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
“Both measures, headline and core, are running a bit below the Bank of Canada’s estimates for the fourth quarter, so it may need to revise down its inflation outlook again,” he said.