Canadian retail sales increased 0.6 per cent on a monthly basis in March and were 4.1 per cent higher year-over-year. Sales were higher in 6 of 11 sub-sectors representing 53 per cent 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 2.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2018. In BC, retail sales were up 0.6 per cent on a monthly basis and 5.1 per cent year-over-year. Retail sales in the province continue to moderate back to historical trend after growing more than 9 per cent in 2017.
Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), ticked slightly lower in April to 2.2 per cent after registering 2.3 per cent in March. The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation were slightly higher with two of the three measures moving above 2 per cent. In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 2.7 per cent in the 12 months to March. Stronger than expected first quarter growth and inflation at or near the Bank of Canada's target of 2 per cent means an interest rate increase from the Bank is very likely, potentially at its next meeting on May 30th.
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.