RTTNews - Canadian consumer prices rose 0.4% in the 12 months to April 2009, down from the 1.2% increase in March, according to data released Wednesday morning by Statistics Canada.

While upward pressure on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came primarily from food, the slowdown was due mainly to price declines for energy and reduced upward pressure from non-energy shelter components.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI fell 0.3% from March to April, after falling 0.2% from February to March. April's decline was due primarily to a 1.0% drop in the shelter price index. Tempering the fall was a 0.2% increase in prices for food.

Excluding food, the CPI fell 1.1% in the 12 months to April. Excluding energy, the CPI rose 2.4% over the same period.

Food prices rose 7.1% during the 12-month period to April, slower than the 7.9% rise in March.

Shelter costs rose 0.2% during the 12-month period to April after increasing 2.1% in March. A sharp decline in natural gas prices mitigated growth in the shelter index in April. The 12-month change in the shelter price index has been slowing since July 2008.

Transportation costs fell 8.0% in the wake of year-over-year declines in prices for both gasoline and passenger vehicles.

Excluding food and energy, the seasonally adjusted monthly CPI posted no change from March to April, after increasing 0.1% in the previous period.

Food costs continued to be pushed up primarily by the price of food purchased from stores, which rose 8.3%. This was slower than the 9.5% rise observed in March.

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