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We’re paying more for bacon, but getting a break on coffee Add to ...

Okay, so Canada’s inflation rate shrunk to its post-recession low last month, and apparently we all have cheaper gasoline prices to thank.

(Although I find it hard to call $1.20-plus a litre cheap – I still remember filling up the old VW Bug with a $20 bill and getting back enough change to buy food for my pet dodo, but I digress.)

A break at the pump is always welcome – especially just ahead of a long weekend – but gasoline is but one component of the consumer price index.

And it’s one so prone to monthly mood swings that it is pointedly excluded from Statistics Canada’s “core” inflation reading, which is considered a more reliable picture of the country’s underlying inflation trend. Not that we should ignore it, but it’s just a small and notoriously unreliable part of the bigger picture.

On that note, let’s give some press to prices last month for a selection of other CPI components that may get overlooked a bit in the monthly inflation discussion, but that matter to many consumers nevertheless. (Percentage changes, April vs. March)

Going up

  • Sirloin steak, up 1.5 per cent (a sign we’ve entered barbecue season, perhaps?)
  • Bacon, 1.3 per cent
  • Corn flakes, 4.3 per cent
  • Sugar, 4.7 per cent
  • Waters/fuel/electricity utilities, 1 per cent
  • Public transportation, 1.5 per cent

Going down

  • Coffee, down 1.8 per cent
  • Orange juice, 2 per cent
  • Butter, 1.6 per cent
  • Apples, 2.1 per cent
  • Food from restaurants, 0.8 per cent
  • Clothing, 1.7 per cent

Going sideways

  • Milk, unchanged
  • Eggs, down 0.3 per cent
  • Bread, down 0.3 per cent
  • Cigarettes, up 0.1 per cent
  • Alcoholic beverages, up 0.2 per cent
  • Rent, up 0.1 per cent
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