Consumer prices in Alberta rose in April higher on an annual basis than the Canadian average, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.
The federal agency reported that the Consumer Price Index in Alberta was up 2.2 per cent from April 2018 while the Canadian average was two per cent.
Both the Alberta and Canadian average rates of inflation rose by 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis.
StatsCan said seven of the eight major components were up year over year in April across the country, with shelter prices (+2.7 per cent) contributing most to the increase. The household operations, furnishings and equipment index fell 0.1 per cent in the 12 months to April.
“Energy prices rose 0.7 per cent year over year in April, the first 12-month gain in the index since October 2018. Gasoline prices increased 10.0 per cent compared with the previous month, as refineries switched to summer-blend fuels, global oil prices continued to rise due to production cuts, and carbon levies were introduced or increased in six provinces,” it said.
“Natural gas prices increased 10.2 per cent over the 12 months to April, driven in part by higher commodity prices and the introduction of carbon levies in several provinces. Alberta saw the largest year-over-year gain in natural gas prices, due to recent rate increases.”
James Marple, senior economist with TD Economics, said inflation in Canada remains well contained and is likely to remain there over the foreseeable future.
“The strange combination of weak economic growth and a strong labour market will keep policy makers on their toes. At best it suggests that firms are still looking to expand, but are maintaining flexibility by adding employees rather than increasing investment. At worst it suggests a burgeoning productivity problem that means lower potential growth and less running room for policy. Ultimately policy makers will have to watch how this plays out. In the meantime, with global economic uncertainty increasing, monetary policy is likely to remain on standby,” said Marple in a commentary note.
– Mario Toneguzzi