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Province's inflation rate down, but still highest in Canada

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Manitoba’s annual inflation rate crept a little lower in September, but still remained at the highest level in the country.

Statistics Canada said today that Manitoba’s rate dipped to 2.5 per cent from 2.7 per cent in August and 3.0 per cent in July.

But even with the decline, Manitoba’s rate was still more than double the Canadian rate of 1.1 per cent. In fact, only one other province — Prince Edward Island at 2.2 per cent — had an annual rate higher than two per cent. The rest were all between zero and 1.7 per cent.

Some of the consumer items in Manitoba that have dropped in price in the past year are prescribed medicines (down 7.4 per cent), household appliances (-6.7 per cent) and furniture (-6.4 per cent).

And some items that kept the inflation rate elevated were passenger vehicle registration fees (up 29.4 per cent from a year earlier), fresh vegetables (up 23.5 per cent), and cigarettes (up 10.3 per cent).

The higher vehicle-registration fees were due to a $35 increase that was included in the 2012 provincial budget.

Nationally, Statistics Canada said seven of the eight major components posted year-over-year increases in September.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, prices rose 0.2 per cent in September, following a 0.1 per cent increase in August.

"Canadian inflation is (the) same as it ever was . . . low and stable," BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note.

RBC Economics said the data suggest that the Bank of Canada will hold steady on interest rates.

"Against this backdrop, the Bank of Canada is likely to maintain the policy rate at 1.0 per cent at next week’s interest rate policy meeting."

— Staff/Canadian Press

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