B.C. inflation shows no signs of cooling, hits 7.8% in October

West Coast inflation rate highest among all the large provinces

Food prices rose more than 10 per cent across Canada in October, according to Statistics Canada |Pedro Arquero/Moment/Getty Images

Surging inflation showed signs of easing across Canada last month – that is, for those not living on the West Coast.

The inflation rate in B.C. grew at an annual rate of 7.8 per cent in October, marking the third consecutive month of expansion, according to data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.

The national rate remained at 6.9 per cent in October.

This is also the fourth month in a row in which inflation in B.C. exceeded that of the national average:

  • July: 8 per cent (B.C.) vs. 7.6 per cent (Canada)
  • August: 7.3 per cent (B.C.) vs. 7 per cent (Canada)
  • September: 7.7 per cent (B.C.) vs. 6.9 per cent (Canada)
  • October: 7.8 per cent (B.C.) vs. 6.9 per cent (Canada)

The latest numbers show British Columbians facing the highest rate of inflation among all the large provinces.

Beyond rising food (+10.1 per cent) and gasoline (+17.8 per cent) prices, Statistics Canada noted B.C. property taxes rose at the highest rate among all the provinces at 8.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the national statistics agency attributed the return of university classes and rising immigration levels to driving up rental prices last month.

For those hitting the grocery aisles, pasta (44.8 per cent), margarine (40.4 per cent) and lettuce (30.2 per cent) experienced the biggest gains among individual products.

“Make no mistake, current inflation pressures are still too high and too broad for the Bank of Canada’s liking. But early signs of easing price pressures will give the BoC some confidence that interest rates are near levels that are restrictive enough to ensure inflation returns back to target over time," RBC economist Claire Fan said in a note, referring to the national data.

She predicts the central bank will hike its key rate by 25 basis points next month – down from last month’s hike of 50 basis points.

"We'll call this one a tie, as it matched consensus and held the annual inflation rate steady at just below seven per cent," BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note. 

He pointed out that October’s national rate of 6.9 per cent now puts Canadian inflation at the second-lowest level in the G7, exceeding only Japan. German, Italy and the U.K. are all facing rates in the double digits.

“We still expect much lower inflation by the latter half of 2023, but today's data were generally a reminder that we need to first see downward pressure … from softer job and income gains to make that happen,” CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfield said in a note.

torton@biv.com

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