Food price increases slow in October, gas escalated

A slowdown in food prices led to higher gasoline prices and higher mortgage rates last month, driving inflation to 6.9 percent.

(Monthly inflation graph provided by Statistics Canada)

Inflation has been slowing since peaking at 8.1% in June, with October being the only month that did not decline. Instead, it matched September’s pace.

Inflation continues to plague the G7 countries. However, only 6.2% of France and 2.8% of Japan outperformed Canada.

Italy’s G7 interest rate was 11.8 last month, the highest in the G7. The tax rate in the UK is 11.1%, in Germany it is 10.4%, and in the US it is 7.7%.

Consumers continue to struggle to keep up with rising costs. Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index report said average wages have risen 5.6 per cent since October 2021, and while the gap narrowed slightly from September, it still lags behind inflation.

After slowing in recent months, natural gas prices edged up 9.2 percent last month as the Canadian dollar weakened and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced it would cut future global oil production.

Food prices provided a small piece of good news in the October report. Not that grocery shopping is more affordable. That’s not the case, as prices rose 10.1% last month, but the pace of price increases slowed slightly from September’s 10.3% rise.

Inside the Farm Boy grocery store on Wellington Road. in London.

Meat prices rose 5.5%. Fresh fruit rose 8.9 percent and fresh vegetables rose 11 percent. Consumers paid more for a head of lettuce amid shortages. That cost rose 30.2 percent.

Prices of processed food rose rapidly. Fresh pasta is up 44.8% from October 2021, while margarine is up 40.4%.

Many Canadians renewed or applied for new mortgages as the Bank of Canada raised its main lending rate, leading to an 11.4 per cent year-over-year increase in mortgage costs. Homeowners across Canada paid a 3.6 per cent increase in property taxes and renters paid a 4.7 per cent increase as rents rose more than 4 per cent for the ninth straight month.

Excluding food and energy prices, inflation was 5.3% in October. Growth in September was 5.4%.

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