Rising prices: Canada’s inflation rate hit a new three-decade high in February, adding pressure on the Bank of Canada to raise rates, the Globe reports.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 5.7 per cent in February from a year earlier, up from 5.1 per cent in January, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. That was the highest inflation rate since August, 1991, and it marked the 11th consecutive month that inflation has surpassed the Bank of Canada’s target range of 1 per cent to 3 per cent. Households are feeling the pinch on several fronts. Shelter costs rose 6.6 per cent for the largest annual increase since 1983. Groceries rose 7.4 per cent, the most since 2009. And gas prices jumped 6.9 per cent in a single month. The average of the central bank’s core measures of inflation – which strip out volatile components and give a better sense of underlying price pressures – rose to 3.5 per cent, also the highest since 1991.
Hungrier: In the Star, Heather Scoffield observes that food prices, which have already gone up, will also be affected by the war in Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which not only throws Ukrainian farming into question but also has meant the closure of key shipping routes from the region, compounds the trouble — with devastating effects for food security in developing countries writ large, and among low-income populations around the world. “The end game is, a lot of people are going to be hungrier,” says agri-food consultant Ted Bilyea, a former executive at Maple Leaf Foods Inc…read more.
Premier John Horgan said Thursday that taxes on gasoline won’t be changing anytime soon amid surging prices brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
His position echoed that of B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston, who said earlier in the week the province would not delay the province’s one-cent carbon tax hike due to go into effect April 1.
“I’m not passing the buck when I say that the federal government has a climate action plan, as does the province of British Columbia, and pricing carbon is a key component of that,” Horgan said during a media briefing.
“It may be easy for [opposition] politicians to declare that taxes are the problem, but those taxes go to building our roads, to providing transit to making sure that our infrastructure is as modern as it can be.”
Prices in Metro Vancouver have been climbing towards $2 a litre over the past week amid heavy sanctions targeting Russia.
Earlier in the day BC Liberal Party Leader Kevin Falcon said the government had a tool for lowering taxes for British Columbians as carbon taxes on gasoline go up – revenue neutrality – but pointed out that the NDP government scrapped the revenue neutrality requirement of B.C.’s carbon tax…read more.
Metro Vancouver gas prices reached an all-time record high this weekend.
On Sunday (Feb.13), several outlets in the region were selling gas for 180.9 cents per litre, which broke the previous record of 176.9 cents set on Feb. 6.
Dan McTeague, the President of Canadians for Affordable Energy (and formerly of GasBuddy.com), predicted that gas prices would reach 179.9 by Sunday.
In early January, the petroleum analyst tweeted that he expected 2022 gas prices to rise an additional 20 per cent between February and May, which will also “hit food prices.”
Gasoline prices rose by roughly $0.14 per litre in the Lower Mainland between Dec. 22, 2021 and Jan. 1, 2022, when they hit $1.69 per litre. Metro Vancouver has seen those kinds of price spikes before, but they typically happen in the summertime, when demand for gasoline is higher, not in the wintertime…read more.
When demand is so overwhelming that you have to stop taking pre-orders, that’s usually a good sign – even when you’re battling a supply chain crisis.
This was the case with Ford’s new Maverick pickup truck which, priced at $20,000, has attracted so much demand that the automaker has been forced to stop taking orders until 2023.
With auto prices skyrocketing over the last 18 months, the Wall Street Journal reports that the demand is a surefire sign that customers are “hungry for more-affordable options” in the auto market.
On Monday of this week, dealers were told that Ford is “suspending customer orders” because it is “already straining to fill a backlog”. The company will resume taking orders this summer.
Dean Stoneley, general manager of Ford trucks told the WSJ: “We didn’t want to take more orders than we could build. We’re getting customers who would have perhaps bought a used car and are now buying the Maverick because it is so affordable.”…read more.
The cost of living is rising, and the added burden is weighing heavily on Canadians’ view of their personal finances.
A new report published today (Jan. 17) shows that confidence in meeting everyday expenses and reducing debt has weakened in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous period.
The MNP Consumer Debt Index recorded a reading of 88, its lowest since the index began in June 2017.
Forty-five per cent of respondents said they are not confident they can cover their living expenses this year – up 5 points from the fourth quarter of 2021 – while 43% are concerned about their current level of debt (also up 5 points).
“Nearly two years into the pandemic, financial confidence among Canadians has reached a record low, with household debt becoming increasingly worrisome,” said Grant Bazian, MNP president. “Canadians’ financial optimism typically wanes as the holiday bills become due, but this year more than any other, Canadians are feeling more financially insecure, likely as a result of the Omicron variant, and resulting pandemic fatigue, along with rising inflation, and the potential for interest rate increases this year.”…read more.