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04/18/2023

Canada's inflation rate falls to 4.3% in March

Lowest since August 2021 spurred by reduced food prices.
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Vector of an arrow pointing downward with gold coins.

Canada's annual inflation rate fell to 4.3% in March as higher mortgage interest costs were offset by lower energy prices.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday (April 18) that inflation slowed from 5.2% in February, continuing along a downward trajectory that's expected to bring it down to 3% by mid-year.

The continued slowdown in inflation since last summer has now brought the annual rate down to the lowest it's been since August 2021.

The slowdown comes as global prices pressures ease and high interest rates weigh on the economy.

But the deceleration hasn't brought much relief to homeowners with new mortgages or renewing their mortgages at high interest rates. Mortgage interest costs rose at the fastest pace on record last month, up 26.4% from a year ago.

Grocery prices are also still rising rapidly, but at a slower pace. Grocery prices were up 9.7% on a year-over-year basis in March, down from 10.6% in February. Statistics Canada said the deceleration was driven by lower prices for fruits and vegetables.

The Bank of Canada's preferred measures of core inflation, which it uses to look through volatility in prices, also trended downward in March.

Inflation in Canada is expected to continue decelerating this year but the Bank of Canada has said it won't rest until inflation gets back to its 2% target.

The central bank has signalled interest rates may have to stay higher for longer to get there.

According to its latest forecasts, the Bank of Canada is expecting inflation to return to its 2% target by the end of 2024.