Fresh veg and mortgage costs pushed inflation higher in February

Canadians were paying more for fresh fruit and vegetables in February – and mortgage interest was also taking a larger bite out of household budgets.

Statistics Canada says the Consumer Price Index was up 1.5% year-over-year, rising from the 1.4% pace of January.

The shelter index saw the largest rise (2.4%). The services index gained 2.3% despite lower costs for internet services, traveller accommodation and travel tours, largely due to an 8.1% increase in the cost of the mortgage interest, partly reflecting higher interest rates from commercial banks over the 12 month period. Rents were up 0.4%.

Lower energy costs (down 5.7% year-over-year) were a positive note for household budgets but the decline in the cost of gasoline and other fuels were smaller than in January.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.3% in February, following a 0.1% decline in January. The transportation index (+0.9%) reported the largest increase, while the household operations, furnishings and equipment index (-0.3%) decreased.

Consumer prices rose more in five provinces in February on a year-over-year basis compared with the previous month. This growth was most pronounced in the Prairie provinces, where prices for gasoline rose the most on a month-over-month basis in February.

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