Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Inflation Accelerates to 1.6% in September; Retail Trade Contracts in August

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Inflation Accelerates to 1.6% in September; Retail Trade Contracts in August

Article excerpt

Inflation rises to 1.6%; retail sales down

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OTTAWA - The country's annual inflation rate accelerated last month but economists believe it's unlikely the increase will push the Bank of Canada to raise its key interest rate next week.

Higher gasoline prices helped push the annual pace of inflation in September to 1.6 per cent, up from 1.4 per cent a month earlier and away from its two-year low of just one per cent in June, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

Experts, however, say the inflation reading remained weak enough to encourage the bank to hold off on moving its benchmark rate at next Wednesday's scheduled policy meeting.

The inflation-targeting central bank scrutinizes Statistics Canada's consumer price index ahead of its rate decisions.

Only one of the bank's three preferred measures of core inflation, which seek to look through the noise of more-volatile items, was higher in September while the others stayed put. All three were below the bank's ideal target of 2.0 per cent.

Overall, excluding gas prices, inflation was only 1.1 per cent.

Nick Exarhos, senior economist for CIBC World Markets, predicted the inflation outlook could actually remain "anemic" for quite some time.

"(This) also actually suggests that the Bank of Canada will take a more-gradualist approach with interest-rate hikes going forward," Exarhos said.

Canada's central bank has already raised its key rate twice this year, in July and September, to 1.0 per cent from 0.5 per cent -- a historically low level.

Josh Nye, economist for RBC Economics Research, agreed the Bank of Canada will likely keep its key rate at one per cent next week. …

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