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Saskatchewan reports third highest inflation among Canadian provinces


National inflation is down to its lowest rate in more than two years, but it may not feel like it in Saskatchewan.

"If you were to look at all the provinces across Canada over the past year, we have the third highest inflation,” said Keith Willoughby, dean of the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business.

The national inflation rate is now at 2.8 per cent, according to the latest data released by Statistics Canada Tuesday, its lowest rate since March 2021.

Saskatchewan's inflation rate came in at 3.3 per cent Tuesday. Only British Columbia and Quebec had higher inflation rates. On the prairies, Manitoba came in at 2.1 per cent and Alberta at 1.9 per cent.

Willoughby says the formula Stats Canada uses has a lot to do with that, as consumers vary from person to person across the country.

"Think of it like a consumer having a cable package of television stations. Not every TV station is as important to them as what it might be for a fellow consumer,” Willoughby said.

So, while gas might be mightily important to one person’s budget, it might not be for a neighbour or someone three provinces away.

Much of the decrease is due to fuel prices falling. If you take fuel out of the equation, inflation rises to 4.4 per cent.

Compared to June 2022, fuel prices in Saskatchewan are 22 per cent lower Wednesday.

However, food is on par with the national average — roughly nine per cent more expensive.

"It's not going to roll back, it's still taking a bite out of everybody's abillity to spend,” Saskatoon shopper Riley Morris said.

A bag of cherries he buys in the summer months used to cost him roughly $8. On Wednesday that package cost him $13.

“It’s definitely more than it ever used to be, so it’s a pretty substantial increase for sure,” he said.

“I've noticed with the produce it's defenitely more expensive than it was"

Willoughby says food and housing costs in Saskatchewan are the biggest contributors to the higher inflation, but it is trending in the right direction and should follow the national decline in inflation many economists are predicting, which could also curb any future inflation hikes.

"I'm thinking that we are close to seeing a pause on that,” Willoughby said.

“I would consider the Bank of Canada to be quite prudent now to maintain a steady level with the Bank of Canada interest rate.”

Willoughby doesn't get too excited about national inflation data. Provincial data paints a better picture. And he one day hopes Stats Canada can do even better than that.

"At the end of the day it would really be valuable if we could even drill this down to a city by city comparison,” he said.

Despite rising costs at the grocery store, Willoughby says Saskatchewan's surplus provincial budget will help the province maintain good standing for the remainder of this year and into 2024. Top Stories

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