Negative inflation rate holds

Canada’s annual inflation rate stayed anchored well below zero for the fourth consecutive month in September, but that beneficial aspect of the economic downturn is about to end.

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OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate stayed anchored well below zero for the fourth consecutive month in September, but that beneficial aspect of the economic downturn is about to end.

The consumer price index slid by one-tenth of a point last month to minus-0.9 per cent — matching a 53-year low that was also recorded in July. The inflation rate in August was minus-0.8 per cent.

On a month-to-month basis, there was no change in the seasonally unadjusted consumer price index, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

As has been the case for the better part of a year, it was the disparity in gasoline prices between last year and this year that was the main contributor to the negative inflation rate.

The cost of filling up at the pump was 23-per cent less in September than 12 months earlier.

But the gap is certain to close in the next inflation report, because it was at about this time last year that gasoline prices began falling in response to recessionary forces and the collapse in global oil demand.

No other component of the consumer price index has been as critical in suppressing inflationary pressures as energy, the agency noted.

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