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Canada inflation picks up pace, hits 1 percent

Anti-virus lockdown begins - Geoff Robins / ©AFP
Anti-virus lockdown begins - Geoff Robins / ©AFP

(AFP)

Canadian inflation picked up speed at the start of the year, rising 0.3 percentage points led by consumer prices to 1.0 percent in January, the government statistical agency said Wednesday.

Consumer spending expectations were higher in the month with the beginnings of a rollout of Covid-19 vaccines that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed would wrap up in September.

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But public health measures such as lockdowns were extended or reimposed in some regions to slow the spread of the virus, resulting in job losses.

Statistics Canada said gasoline prices rose for a second month straight, as global production was cut, and the introduction of new models of cars and trucks pushed up vehicle prices in January.

Meat and vegetable prices, as well as the costs of smartphones and service plans — after Christmas holiday promotions ended — also went up.

Meanwhile airfares fell amid a government crackdown on non-essential travel, and electricity prices fell, most steeply in Ontario province which temporarily set all time-of-use prices at off-peak rates.

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