This note investigates whether the recent weakness in inflation in Canada can be related to global factors not included in the current staff analytical framework (domestic slack, movements in commodity prices and in the exchange rate). A global common factor for inflation among selected advanced economies appears to contain marginal information for Canadian inflation beyond what is found in movements in commodity prices and the exchange rate.
Decomposing total inflation in Canada as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) into its key macroeconomic factors, as presented in the most recent Monetary Policy Report, is an interesting exercise that shows how the exchange rate pass-through, commodity prices and the output gap have influenced the evolution of the total inflation rate over time. This aggregate approach, however, may mask important sectoral changes.
In an open economy such as Canada’s, exchange rate movements can have a material impact on consumer prices. This is particularly important in the current context, with the significant depreciation of the Canadian dollar vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar since late 2012.