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Canada’s inflation rate rises to new 30-year high of 4.8% | CBC News

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The Consumer Price Index increased at an annual pace of 4.8 per cent in December, as food and energy led to the cost of living going up at its fastest rate since 1991.

Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that grocery prices increased by 5.7 per cent, the biggest annual gain since 2011.

The price of fresh produce is being walloped by two things, the data agency said: “Unfavourable weather conditions in growing regions, as well as supply chain disruptions.”

The price of apples has increased by 6.7 per cent in the past year, and oranges by almost as much — 6.6 per cent. 

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The U.S. is the major supplier of oranges to Canada, and because of bad weather and a plant disease called citrus greening, the major growing region of Florida is on track to produce the smallest number of oranges since 1945. 

That’s causing the price of frozen concentrated orange juice to skyrocket on commodities markets.

“If you’re an orange juice drinker, it means your prices are going to be going up at the store,” analyst Phil Flynn, with Chicago-based commodity trading firm Price Group, told CBC News. “The cost of orange juice has almost doubled here in the last few months, and that’s going to be passed down to the consumers.”

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Other types of food are going up quickly, too. The price of frozen beef has gone up by almost 12 per cent in the past year, while ham and bacon are up by about 15 per cent.

WATCH | Here’s why your grocery bill is on track to be higher than ever this year:

Canadian food prices expected to rise 5-7% in 2022, report says

Canada’s Food Price Guide, an annual report published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, suggests that next year could see the biggest annual increase in food bills on record. Sylvain Charlebois is the chief researcher on the report and a professor studying food distribution and security at Dalhousie University in Halifax. 8:01

Economist Tu Nguyen with consultancy RSM says food price increases could be set to get even worse in the coming weeks and months because of new rules forbidding unvaccinated truckers from entering the country.

“The current bout of inflation is driven by supply chain disruptions, pent-up demand and inflation expectations,” she said. “While pent-up demand is expected to ease as pandemic spending winds down, supply chain and inflation expectations remain paramount challenges.”

Prices for oranges and orange juice are set to rise because of bad weather and a citrus disease in Florida, which supplies most of Canada’s oranges. (Bruna Prado/Getty Images)

Food is far from the only thing getting more expensive.

An ongoing lack of semiconductor microchips continues to drive up the price of just about anything with a microchip in it. That includes durable goods like washing machines and other household appliances, the price of which have gone up by 5.7 per cent in the past 12 months. New car prices are up by even more — 7.2 per cent. 

If there was one area of relief for consumers, it was gas prices, where the price to fill up at the pump fell by 4.1 per cent during the month. That’s the biggest monthly drop since April of 2020. But compared to a year ago, gas prices are still 33 per cent higher than they were in December of 2020.

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