Food price costs slow in October, gas escalated

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Elenathewise

A jump in gas prices and higher mortgage interest rates were moderated by slowing food prices last month, leading to an inflation rate of 6.9 per cent.

(Graph of monthly inflation courtesy of Statistics Canada)

(Graph of monthly inflation courtesy of Statistics Canada)

Since peaking at 8.1 per cent in June, inflation has continuously slowed, with October being the only month the rate didn’t not dip. Instead it matched September’s pace.

Inflation continued to plague G7 nations. However, only France, at 6.2 per cent and Japan, at 2.8, performed better than Canada.

Italy clocked the highest rate of the G7 last month at 11.8. The United Kingdom’s rate was 11.1 per cent, 10.4 in Germany, and the U.S., 7.7 per cent.

Consumers continue to struggle to keep up with the increase in costs. Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index report said average wages increased by 5.6 per cent from October 2021, still not keeping pace with inflation, although the gap shrunk slightly from September.

After slowing in recent months, gas prices ticked up 9.2 per cent last month as the Canadian dollar weakened and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, announced it would cut future worldwide oil production.

Food prices provided a small measure of good news in October’s report. It’s not that shopping in a grocery store was any more affordable. It wasn’t, as prices rose 10.1 per cent last month, but the rate of price increase slowed slightly from September when they rose 10.3 per cent.

Inside the Farm Boy grocery store on Wellington Rd. in London.

The price of meat rose 5.5 per cent. The increase for fresh fruit was 8.9 per cent, and 11 per cent for fresh vegetables. Consumers paid a lot more for a head of lettuce amid shortages. That cost grew 30.2 per cent.

Processed food prices rose at a faster pace. Fresh pasta jumped 44.8 per cent from October 2021, while margarine was up 40.4 per cent.

Many Canadians renewed or applied for new mortgages as the Bank of Canada hiked its key lending rate, resulting in an 11.4 per cent jump year over year in mortgage costs. Homeowners across Canada paid 3.6 per cent more in property taxes, and those who rented paid 4.7 per cent more as rental costs rose above four per cent for the ninth consecutive month.

Excluding food and energy prices, October’s inflation rate was 5.3 per cent. September’s rate was 5.4 per cent.