Canada’s annual inflation rate cooled more than expected in March, pulling away from the central bank’s target as food prices dropped for the sixth month in a row, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The annual rate fell to 1.6 per cent from the previous month’s 2.0 per cent, exceeding economists’ forecasts for a decline to 1.8 per cent.
The three measures of core inflation put in place by the Bank of Canada last year remained tame, with CPI common the lowest at 1.3 per cent.
The central bank, which has an overall inflation target of 2.0 per cent, had dismissed a recent rise in inflation, saying that reflected temporary factors.
Food prices were down 1.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis as Canadians paid less for food purchased in stores. Also weighing on the inflation rate was a 0.9 per cent decline in the cost of clothing and footwear.
But that was offset by a 4.6 per cent increase in transportation costs, led by higher prices for gasoline. Excluding food and energy, the March inflation rate was 1.7 per cent.