‘Hopefully we have seen the peak’: Economists await July CPI data

Statistics Canada is set to release the latest set of consumer price inflation data on Tuesday.

The median estimate among economists is a 7.6 percent year-over-year rise in July.

“I think we’re going to see lower overall inflation,” Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, said over the phone Monday.

“Hopefully we have seen the peak at 8.1 percent last month and we’ll see something lower than that with the July data.”

In June, CPI data climbed to the highest year-over-year level since January 1983.

Surging gasoline costs were a big contributor to overall inflation, with prices rising 6.2 percent on the month and 55 percent year-over-year.

Antunes said there has been some price pressure relief in areas like gasoline, food and real estate, which could contribute to lower inflation data.

But even if CPI data falls in July, Antunes believes this doesn’t mean the Bank of Canada is going to take its foot off the gas pedal with interest rate hikes.

“We still have three interest rate hikes decisions scheduled for this year and the next one will be in September,” Antunes said.

“I think we can bet that we’re going to see a few more increases again.”

RISK OF A RECESSION

Several prominent Bay Street economists have flagged that a recession could be on the horizon for Canada, as inflation pressures continue to rise.

Antunes warned equity markets and yield curves are indicating that there could be a recession within the next year.

“If enough people believe a recession is coming then it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Antunes said.

“What the tea leaves are telling us is that we’re essentially in a 50/50 spot for a recession within the next year.”

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