Ottawa inflation rate holds steady at 1.6% in April

Market expectations were for a 1.7% increase in April, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

In its latest monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released on Friday, Statistics Canada said Manitoba was one of two provinces to see no change in their annual inflation rate from March to April.

"The modest core inflation we're seeing is probably the single, strongest argument the Bank of Canada has to do nothing", Porter said, adding that ongoing uncertainty over USA policy, particularly on trade, would be up there as well.

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The Bank of Canada's "common" core rate was 1.3 percent in April, the "median" core rate was 1.6 percent and the "trim" measure was 1.3 percent.

Saskatchewan's annual inflation rate sped up to 1.4 per cent last month after rising just 0.6 per cent in March.

CPI median, which shows the median rate across the various components, edged down to 1.6 percent. Still, the downward pace moderated from the previous month's annual 1.9 percent drop. Prices were 1.6 per cent higher than a year earlier.

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The agency says total retail trade in March was almost $48.3 billion thanks to stronger sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

The gain in retail sales suggests that the economy is continuing to be supported by consumers, said Jimmy Jean, senior economist at Desjardins.

There was also a strong 3.1% increase in electronics sales to give a 11.2% annual gain.

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"It does appear that it will extend a bit into the second quarter", he said.

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