Canada’s inflation rate clocked at 0.1% in August as price of gas and plane tickets plummet

Canada’s inflation rate was 0.1 per cent in August, Statistics Canada says, the same level  it was at in July.

Economists had been expecting the figure to come in at around 0.4 per cent, but gasoline and airline tickets dragged down the overall rate.

Gas prices were down by 11.1 per cent in August, compared to where they were a year ago. Prices for air travel, meanwhile, declined by 16 per cent. “Demand for air travel has fallen during the pandemic and airlines continue to offer travel discounts to encourage a return to travel,” the data agency said.

Gas and plane tickets got cheaper but not everything did. There was a 7.2 per cent rise in the cost of personal care products, a category which includes things like haircuts.

“This increase was mainly attributable to higher prices for haircuts and hairdressing as increased costs related to safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were passed along to consumers,” Statscan said.

And jewellery prices rose 6.8 per cent, largely due to record prices for gold.

There was wide variation across the country, too, as the inflation rate was positive in five provinces, but negative in the other five.

Toronto-Dominion Bank economist James Marple says the inflation numbers will do nothing to convince the Bank of Canada to change its policy on interest rates any time soon.

“With little in the way of inflation, the Bank of Canada has no reason to change its communication that interest rates will remain at low for an extended period of time in order to support a stronger economic recovery,” he said.