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Inflation rate rises in January

Statistics Canada's offices at Tunny's Pasture in Ottawa are shown on Friday, March 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Inflation was up 2.4 per cent in January on a year-over-year basis, Statistics Canada says

The Consumer Price Index was up in January from a month earlier, when it was 2.2 per cent year-over-year

Economists had expected a reading of 2.3 per cent for January

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Statistics Canada says the annual pace of inflation in Canada jumped to 2.4 per cent to start 2020, fuelled by higher costs at the gas pump and pricey tomatoes.

The move compared with an year-over-year increase of 2.2 per cent in December.

Economists had expected a reading of 2.3 per cent for January, according to a poll by financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Gas prices in January were up 11.2 per cent compared with a year earlier as concerns about events in the Middle East boosted oil prices, which dropped later in the month in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Statistics Canada says excluding gasoline, the year-over-year inflation rate would have been two per cent in January.

Costs grew for fresh vegetables by five per cent, largely attributable the agency says to a 10.8 per cent bump in the price of tomatoes stemming from inclement weather in growing regions of the United States and Mexico.

The average of Canada’s three measures for core inflation, which are considered better gauges of underlying price pressures and closely tracked by the Bank of Canada, was 2.033 per cent compared with 2.067 per cent for December.