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B.C. bucks inflation trend, increases to 3.2% in November

First time in months that inflation in B.C. has risen rather than cooled.
Black Friday delivered major savings to consumers in November as prices for mobile services dropped dramatically last month, according to Statistics Canada.

British Columbians had to bite the bullet last month in the battle against inflation.

Inflation on the West Coast rose to 3.2 per cent in November, losing almost all the ground it had made up a month earlier when inflation cooled to 2.7 per cent in October.

Tuesday’s data from Statistics Canada revealed that B.C.’s inflation rate is now above that of the national average, which remained flat at 3.1 per cent.

It’s the first time in months B.C.’s inflation rate has exceeded that of Canada’s. It’s also the highest inflation has been in B.C. since July.

There were some savings on a national level.

Prices for mobile services decreased 22.6 per cent on an annual basis.

Gas prices also fell by 3.5 per cent year over year.

But mortgage interest costs (+29.8 per cent), rent (+7.4 per cent) and food purchased from stores (+4.7 per cent) hung over consumers’ bank accounts like black clouds.

Meanwhile, meat prices (up five per cent) and sugar (up 8.3 per cent) were two of the biggest inflation culprits in the grocery aisle.

"Despite the recent mirth over potential rate cuts in 2024, we clearly can't assume that the inflation fight is finished,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note.

“Not intending to completely douse the holiday spirit, the bigger picture is that Canadian inflation was still sitting at a towering 6.8 per cent a year ago, or almost four percentage points higher than today.”

TD senior economist Leslie Preston said the latest inflation data is akin to Canadians getting a "few lumps of coal" in their inflation stockings.

“Canada's economy has cooled in recent months, and inflation is slowly feeling the chill,” she said in a note.

“We expect weaker demand in the economy will gradually see inflation come down enough for the Bank of Canada to cut rates in the second quarter of next year.”

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