Canada’s inflation rate falls to 2.7% in April, driving up odds of June rate cut

bank of canada interest rate

Canada’s annual inflation rate fell to 2.7 per cent in April amid a broad-based slowdown in price growth, boosting expectations of an interest rate cut next month.

Statistics Canada said the slowdown from 2.9 per cent in March was led by food prices, services and durable goods.

Tuesday’s consumer price index report bears good news for the Bank of Canada, which has been looking for a sustained decline in inflation toward its two per cent target.

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And for economists who have been expecting the central bank to deliver the first rate cut in June, the latest data has made them more confident in their call.

Financial markets have also upped the odds of a rate cut next month.

“Today’s data should have provided the all clear on the inflation front that the Bank of Canada needed to start cutting interest rates in June,” wrote Andrew Grantham, CIBC’s executive director of economics, in a client note.

Grocery prices grew at a modest pace, rising 1.4 per cent from a year ago, the data showed.

Meanwhile, higher gasoline prices moderated the deceleration in inflation last month, with pump prices rising 6.1 per cent year-over-year.

Excluding gasoline, prices were up 2.5 per cent from a year ago.

The Bank of Canada’s core measures of inflation, which strip out volatile prices, also slowed last month and are all now below three per cent.

The central bank has signalled that it is inching closer to cutting interest rates but wants to see the slowdown in inflation sustained for longer.

Prior to Tuesday’s release, economists were split on whether the Bank of Canada could move to cut rates in June or July.

TD says it still thinks the central bank will wait until July to cut, noting the annual inflation rate is still to close to the upper bound of the Bank of Canada’s one to three per cent inflation target range.

“But June or July, Canadians can be increasingly confident that alongside lower inflation, interest rates are headed lower soon,” wrote Leslie Preston, a managing director and senior economist at TD.

The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate currently sits at five per cent, the highest it’s been since 2001.

Here’s what happened in the provinces (previous month in brackets):

— Newfoundland and Labrador: 2.6 per cent (3.1)

— Prince Edward Island: 2.6 per cent (2.6)

— Nova Scotia: 3.1 per cent (3.3)

— New Brunswick: 2.9 per cent (2.6)

— Quebec: 3.0 per cent (3.6)

— Ontario: 2.7 per cent (2.6)

— Manitoba: 0.4 per cent (0.8)

— Saskatchewan: 1.0 per cent (1.5)

— Alberta: 3.0 per cent (3.5)

— British Columbia: 2.9 per cent (2.7)

The agency also released rates for major cities, but cautioned that figures may have fluctuated widely because they are based on small statistical samples (previous month in brackets):

— St. John’s, N.L.: 2.9 per cent (3.8)

— Charlottetown-Summerside: 2.7 per cent (2.5)

— Halifax: 3.4 per cent (3.6)

— Saint John, N.B.: 3.1 per cent (2.7)

— Quebec City: 3.0 per cent (3.4)

— Montreal: 3.1 per cent (4.1)

— Ottawa: 2.5 per cent (2.1)

— Toronto: 3.2 per cent (3.1)

— Thunder Bay, Ont.: 1.8 per cent (2.3)

— Winnipeg: 0.5 per cent (1.0)

— Regina: 1.2 per cent (1.9)

— Saskatoon: 1.4 per cent (1.8)

— Edmonton: 2.8 per cent (3.3)

— Calgary: 3.6 per cent (4.2)

— Vancouver: 2.7 per cent (2.8)

— Victoria: 2.5 per cent (2.3)

— Whitehorse: 1.8 per cent (2.4)

— Yellowknife: 1.0 per cent (2.2)

— Iqaluit: 1.1 per cent (2.2)

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