Canadian retail sales increased 0.4 per cent on monthly in basis in February and were 3.5 per cent higher year-over-year. Sales were higher in only 4 of 11 sub-sectors representing less than half of total retail trade. With today's data, and all other data available thus far for the first quarter, we are tracking Canadian economic growth at about 1.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2018. In BC, retail sales were up 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis and 5.9 per cent year-over-year. Retail sales in the province continue to moderate back to historical trend after growing close to 10 per cent in 2017.
Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased again in March as prices rose 2.3 per cent year-over-year, up from 2.2 per cent in February. The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation were relatively unchanged at around 2 per cent. In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 2.6 per cent in the 12 months to March. Rising inflation and an economy operating at capacity signals further Bank of Canada tightening, potentially as soon as the next interest rate decision on May 30.
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.