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  • Writer's pictureJose Gustavo Salcedo

Inflation Surprise: No Need for Further Rate Hikes in Canada

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

In recent economic news, Canada’s inflation rate has taken an unexpected dip, prompting experts to rethink their predictions. Let’s break down the key points:

1. Inflation Rate on the Decline: Statistics Canada recently reported that Canada’s headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate dropped to 3.8% in September from the previous month’s 4%. This drop was primarily due to lower prices for groceries, durable goods, and travel-related services.

2. Monthly Decline: On a monthly basis, the headline CPI fell by 0.1% in September, following a 0.4% increase in August.

3. Encouraging Signs in Core Inflation: While headline inflation slowed down, core inflation measures also exhibited signs of deceleration. The CPI-trim eased to 3.7% year-over-year, and the CPI-median slowed to 3.8%. When looking at the three-month annualized change, these measures came in at 3.8% and 3.5%, respectively.

4. Gasoline Price Impact: Gasoline prices have seen a 7% decrease so far in October. This could lead to a significant deceleration in October’s CPI, potentially dipping into the low 3% range.

5. No Further Rate Hikes: Economists are now leaning towards the opinion that the Bank of Canada is unlikely to implement another rate hike in the near future. Given the lagging nature of inflation as an indicator, combined with a weakening economy, further rate hikes appear unnecessary.

6. Economic Dilemma: The Bank of Canada is now facing a dilemma. Although inflation has been rising, the economy’s growth in the second and third quarters is lower than anticipated. Additionally, consumer and SME confidence levels have reached lows typically seen during recessions.

7. Shelter Costs Rising: Among the various components contributing to inflation, shelter costs have become the fastest-growing. In September, shelter costs, which include rent and mortgage expenses, increased by 6% year-over-year, surpassing food costs.

8. Rent Index and Mortgage Costs: Within the shelter component, the rent index increased by 7.3% year-over-year, while the mortgage cost index slightly eased to +30.6% in September from +30.9% in August.

9. Regional Variation: Rent prices surged the most in Newfoundland and Labrador (+11.8%), Nova Scotia (+10.6%), and Alberta (+8.5%).

10. Mortgage Interest Costs: Interestingly, actual mortgage interest costs in dollar terms have risen by over 80% since the Bank of Canada began raising interest rates.

In summary, the unexpected drop in inflation has shifted the expectations for Canada’s monetary policy. While inflation remains a concern, experts believe that further rate hikes are not necessary in the current economic climate. The Bank of Canada faces a complex situation with signs of a slowing economy despite inflation surprises. Shelter costs, driven by rising rent and mortgage expenses, have become a significant factor in Canada’s inflation. The economic landscape is evolving, and it will be interesting to see how the Bank of Canada responds in the coming months.

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