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B.C. inflation shows signs of easing after hitting 7.3% in August

Inflation on West Coast still exceeding national rate despite cooling over the summer
Grocery store prices in August grew at their fastest pace since 1981, according to Statistics Canada | Getty Images / Ismail Eren Yalcin

British Columbians are getting some relief at the check-out counter despite inflation levels exceeding the national rate for the second month in a row.

Inflation in the province eased to 7.3 per cent in August after hitting 8 per cent a month earlier, according to data released Tuesday by Statistics Canada

Meanwhile, the national rate reached 7 per cent annual growth last month, down from 7.6 per cent in July.

Much of that decline came as Canadians got some relief at the gas pumps. Prices grew annually at a rate of 22.1 per cent in August, representing a 9.6 per cent drop from a month earlier.

But shoppers at grocery stores were hit hard as prices grew at the fastest pace since 1981, increasing by 10.8 per cent.

Shoppers were paying substantially more for baked goods (up 15.4 per cent) and fresh fruit (up 13.2 per cent).

“Canadian inflation took a single step in the right direction in August, but it still has a long way to go,” TD senior economist Leslie Preston said in a note, adding the Bank of Canada has hiked its key rate by 300 basis points so far in 2022 in a bid to tamp down on inflation. 

“Even still, we expect more slowing in demand, which should help bring down inflation along with it.”

BMO economist Benjamin Reitzes, the bank's managing director of Canadian rates, said the latest national data should allow policymakers to breathe "modest sigh of relief, though they're miles from being out of the woods with inflation still nowhere near target [2 per cent]."

“This is about as good of an inflation report as we can hope for, especially after the strong U.S. figures out last week,” he said in a note, referring to U.S. inflation hitting 8.3 per in August.

“Unfortunately, inflation remains far too high, and the breadth of price increases hasn't backed off much, if at all.”

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