Food prices rise in April
If gasoline is excluded, the inflation rate was in positive territory at 1.4 per cent.
By ATB Economics 20 May 2020 1 min read
As expected, the overall inflation rate in April fell in both Alberta and Canada as a whole.
Compared to April 2019, the average price for the basket of consumer goods and services used by Statistics Canada to track inflation fell by 0.5 per cent in Alberta and by 0.2 per cent nationally.
In the 12 months prior to the pandemic coming to Alberta, the year-over-year inflation rate averaged 2.0 per cent.
Lower gas prices explain most of the drop with the average price at the pump in Alberta falling by 45.7 per cent compared to April 2019. If gasoline is excluded, the inflation rate was in positive territory at 1.4 per cent.
Electricity prices (-3.2 per cent) and natural gas prices (-8.8 per cent) were also down in April, but usage was likely up in many households with more people at home for longer periods.
Compared to last April, food prices in the province were up by 3.7 per cent. Food purchased from stores (+4.3 per cent) outpaced food purchased from restaurants (+2.5 per cent).
With higher gas prices in play, we should see the overall inflation rate rise in May.
It is not unusual for inflation to fall during economic slowdowns, but it remains to be seen how long the effects of the pandemic will press down on overall prices.
There has been some concern expressed about the possibility of a spike in inflation after the pandemic recedes, but it is too early to tell if this is a likely outcome.