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Manitoba inflation stays up

MANITOBA'S annual inflation rate held steady at 1.8 per cent in May, but still remained one of the highest in the country, new Statistics Canada data show.

The agency said Friday Alberta was the only province where the cost of living increased at a faster pace between May of last year and May of this year. Its inflation rate was 2.3 per cent.

It said in total, eight provinces saw increases in consumer prices during the past year, while two saw declines.

Canada's annual inflation rate, meanwhile, was less than half of Manitoba's, at 0.7 per cent. That was a slight increase from the previous month, when it was an extremely low 0.4 per cent.

The Statistics Canada data show while some consumer items in Manitoba increased substantially in price over the May-to-May period, that was offset by price declines for others.

For example, passenger vehicle registration fees were up 29.4 per cent, while cigarettes were 10.8 per cent more expensive. On the flip side, the cost of prescribed medicines fell 12 per cent, and home entertainment equipment, parts and services were 6.5 per cent cheaper.

Canada's annual inflation rate for May was below analyst expectations. So, too, was the Bank of Canada's core index, which rose 1.1 per cent in the 12 months to May. That was on par with April's increase, and is near the low end of the Bank of Canada's target range.

April retail rings in $1.44B

MANITOBANS held the line on spending in April, with retail sales up a mere 0.6 per cent from the previous month.

Statistics Canada said Friday Manitoba retailers rang up $1.44 billion worth of sales during the month, versus $1.43 billion in March.

But despite the modest month-over-month gain, April's total was still a two per cent improvement from a year earlier, when $1.41 billion worth of goods were sold.

The agency said Manitoba was one of seven provinces to post a month-over-month increase in sales in April.

Canada saw virtually no change in its retail sales from March to April.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2013 B7

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