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B.C. inflation rises to 3.4% in December

December marks second month in a row West Coast inflation refused to cool
Prices for food purchased from stores rose 4.7 per cent year over year in December, according to data released Tuesday from Statistics Canada.

Workers may have taken some time off during the holidays, but B.C.’s inflation rate refused to take a break in December.

Inflation on the West Coast grew to 3.4 per cent annually last month – up from 3.2 per cent a month earlier, according to Statistics Canada data released Tuesday.

Canada as a whole saw the rate of inflation jump from 3.1 per cent to 3.4 per cent between the months of November and December.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note that Tuesday's data suggests that the Bank of Canada will “doggedly maintain a cautious stance” when it makes its next interest rate decision next week.

He does not forecast any rate cuts from the central bank until at least June, a sentiment echoed by RBC economist Claire Fan following Tuesday’s inflation numbers.

She described the numbers in a note as “mixed.”

"If you are looking for data to signal a rate cut is imminent, this isn't it," TD senior economist Leslie Preston said in a note. "December's inflation report underscores that the last mile of getting inflation all the way back to two per cent is the hardest."

She expects a rate cut from the Bank of Canada in April.

Gas prices increased in December (+1.4 per cent) after declines in November (-7.7 per cent).

Food prices at stores went up 4.7 per cent, while food purchased from restaurants increased 5.6 per cent.

But the No. 1 contributing factor to inflation last month was mortgage interest costs, which increased on an annual basis by a whopping 28.6 per cent.

Phone services (-20.6 per cent) and natural gas (-14.5 per cent) were the biggest downward contributors.

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