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

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.

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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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About the Author
Economics Reporter

David Parkinson has been covering business and financial markets since 1990, and has been with The Globe and Mail since 2000. A Calgary native, he received a Southam Fellowship from the University of Toronto in 1999-2000, studying international political economics. More


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