Food Prices Remain Elevated as Inflation Rate Continues to Climb 

Rising grocery prices continued to dent the budgets of Canadian consumers as the May inflation rate hit its highest in nearly four decades. 

Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that overall inflation hit 7.7% in May, up from the 6.8% gain in April and the largest yearly increase since January 1983. 

Although the May increase in inflation was largely attributed to gasoline prices - which jumped 12% in the month alone - prices for food purchased from stores rose 9.7%, matching the gain in April. Supply chain disruptions, as well as higher transportation and input costs, continued to put upward pressure on food prices, StatsCan said. 

“With price increases across nearly all food products, Canadians reported food as the area in which they were most affected by rising prices.” the government agency said. 

StatsCan’s edible fats and oils category recorded its largest increase on record, soaring 30% in May, mainly driven by higher prices for cooking oils amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of sunflower oil. Fresh vegetable prices increased 10.3% in May, following an 8.2% gain in April. Prices for other fresh vegetables, including onions, peppers and carrots, contributed the most, rising 10.2% on a year-over-year basis. 

On the other hand, meat prices increased at a slower pace in May (+9%) compared with April (+10.1%), moderating the food purchased from stores index. 

On a year-over-year basis, overall inflation rose more in May than in April in every province, led by higher prices at the gas pump. Among the provinces, prices increased the most in Prince Edward Island (+11.1%), as a result of higher prices for gasoline (+57.7%) and fuel oil and other fuels (+120.2%). 

Compared to a year earlier, Canadian consumers paid 48% more for gasoline in May, stemming from high crude oil prices, which also resulted in higher prices for fuel oil and other fuels (+95.1%). 

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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