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Manitoba's cost of living edges up

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The cost of living in Manitoba edged up a bit in September, as consumers forked out more for things like gasoline, furniture and home and mortgage insurance, Statistics Canada said today.

The agency said Manitoba’s annual inflation rate edged up to 1.7 per cent from 1.6 per cent in August.

That was the fourth highest rate among the provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest rate at 2.2 per cent, while British Columbia had the lowest at 0.5 per cent.

Consumer items that saw some of the biggest prices increases between September of last year and September of this year in Manitoba were furniture (up 11.8 per cent), homeowners’ home and mortgage insurance (11.4 per cent), homeowners’ maintenance and repairs (10.7 per cent) and gasoline (8.8 per cent), Statistics Canada said.

Canada’s annual inflation rate remained stuck at 1.2 per cent for the third consecutive month in October, continuing a level of stability that will give the Bank of Canada little reason to adjust interest rates.

The consumer price index compiled by Statistics Canada was slightly higher than economists had anticipated, given that gasoline prices were known to have fallen during the month, but still at the low end of the central bank’s target range.

The core inflation — which measures underlying price pressures by excluding volatile items such as energy — stood at 1.3 per cent in October, also below expectations.

Statistics Canada reported gasoline prices were down 1.2 per cent from September — not as big a decline as anticipated and still 4.0 per cent higher than a year earlier.

The consensus estimate had been for the annual inflation rate to fall to 1.1 per cent, which would have been the lowest since June 2010 when it was 1.0 per cent.

The central bank has set a target of keeping the inflation rate between 1.0 and 3.0 per cent.

Despite the low inflation rate and concerns about the global economy, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has stuck to saying that interest rates are likely to rise at some point. The statements seem primarily to be a warning to consumers, who have racked up record-high personal debt during a period of prolonged low borrowing costs.

— with files by Canadian Press

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

 

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