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Canada's inflation rate rises to highest level in a decade, at 3.6%

If price of gasoline is stripped out rate falls to 2.5%, but cost of living still going up at significant pace

The price of cars has risen by five per cent in the year up to May, pushing Canada's overall inflation rate to its highest point since 2011.

The price of cars has risen by five per cent in the year up to May, pushing Canada's overall inflation rate to its highest point since 2011.

Photo: Associated Press / Mark J. Terrill


Canada's inflation rate increased to 3.6 per cent in May, the fastest pace in a decade, Statistics Canada says.

The data agency said in a news release Wednesday that the cost of just about everything is going up at a much faster pace than usual, from shelter and vehicles, to food, energy and consumer goods.

The cost of shelter increased by 4.2 per cent in the year up to May, the fastest rise in the cost of putting a roof over one's head since 2008. And the cost of filling a home with furniture and appliances also went up, by 4.4. per cent. That's the fastest pace of an increase for so-called durable goods since 1989.

Furniture prices in particular rose by 9.8 per cent in the past year, their biggest jump since 1982. Last month the government slapped tariffs of up to 300 per cent on some types of upholstered furniture from China and Vietnam.

Gasoline prices have risen by 43 per cent in the past year, a figure that looks especially high because it's being compared to May of last year, when demand and prices for gasoline cratered. But even on a monthly basis, the cost of gasoline went up in May by 3.2 per cent compared to April's level.

Gas isn't the only part of driving that's getting more expensive either, as the price of new cars increased by five per cent in the past year. That's the biggest jump in vehicle prices since 2016, and the biggest reason for it is an ongoing shortage of semiconductors (new window), a global trend that has jacked up the price of anything that uses microchips.

And the price of traveller accommodation rose by 6.7 per cent. That's the highest rate seen since the pandemic began and demand for hotel stays plummeted.

Annual inflation rate Canada  chart in May 2021

Annual inflation rate Canada in May 2021

Photo: Stats Canada

Economists had been expecting the inflation number to be strong, with a consensus of those polled by Bloomberg expecting the rate to come it at around 3.5 per cent.

But the inflation rate was even higher than that, which suggests Canada's economy is, indeed, starting to kick into high gear after stalling out during COVID-19.

We're past the heating up stage now., TD Bank's economist James Marple said. Inflation in Canada is hot.

While undeniably hot, Canada's inflation rate is not as warm as the one in the U.S., where the cost of living went up at an annual rate of 3.8 per cent last month (new window).

CBC News