The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday edition that Canada's annual inflation rate hit its highest level in nearly a decade last month, as rebounding gasoline prices were compared with early pandemic lows, and a broad range of consumer prices increased even as much of the economy remained in lockdown. The Globe's Mark Rendell writes that the consumer price index rose to 3.4 per cent in April compared with the previous year, up from 2.2 per cent in March, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. Economists had expected a surge in the headline inflation rate, which is calculated on a year-over-year basis. Much of this was driven by a record 62.5-per-cent jump in gasoline prices compared with last April. The "base year" effect of gas prices on the CPI will be temporary, Statscan said. What caught observers by surprise was the size of the month-to-month CPI increase. "The breadth of the strength in CPI this month, when much of the country was in lockdown or under tightening restrictions, is notable," said Benjamin Reitzes at BMO Capital Markets. "Many of the sectors reporting gains likely aren't repeatable, but that doesn't mean those types of increases won't be seen elsewhere, especially as the economy reopens."
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