Canadian Inflation (Mar) - April 22, 2020
Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.9 percent in March year-over-year, down from a 2.2 percent increase in February. This marked the largest decline in the CPI since the measure began in 1992. Energy prices were the main drag on inflation, excluding this category, national CPI rose by 1.7 percent year-over-year. The downward pressure on gas prices began before the spread of COVID-19, but were exacerbated as global demand dropped (e.g., limitation on international travel), while supply continued to increase. The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation fell 0.2 percentage points, averaging 1.8 percent in March. Prices rose in six of the eight major components, led by shelter (+1.9%). In contrast, prices fell for transportation (-1.2%) and recreation, education, and reading (-0.5%).
In B.C., CPI grew to 1.2 percent year-over-year, following a 2.4 percent increase in the previous month. The drag on price growth was primarily due to a fall in gas prices (-14.5%) and to a lesser extent, transportation (-3.2%). Meanwhile, price growth was reported in clothing (2.2%) and household furnishings (1.1%).
Statistics Canada notes that the March CPI was largely unaffected by COVID-19, as the majority of prices were collected prior to the implementation of domestic physical distancing measures. As such, we can expect to see steep drops in prices in next month's CPI report.
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BCREA is the professional association for more than 23,000 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research, and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.
To demonstrate the profession's commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.
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