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Consumer prices fall 0.2 per cent year-over-year in April

Last Updated May 20, 2020 at 6:22 am PDT

Statistics Canada building and signs are pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Statistics Canada is expected to report that the consumer price index decreased in April, the first full month the economy was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Statistics Canada says the annual inflation rate turned negative in April as the economy came to a standstill in the first full month of the pandemic.

The agency reports the consumer price index for April fell 0.2 per cent compared with a year ago as gasoline prices plunged by 39.3 per cent, the largest year-over-year decline on record.

The overall drop was the first year-over-year decline in the CPI since September 2009.

The reading compared with a year-over-year increase of 0.9 per cent in March when the pandemic began.

Economists on average expected a reading of -0.1 per cent for April, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

But other prices for other consumer goods were up, particularly for cleaning products, toilet paper and food, the agency reported.