Meat leads Canadian industrial producer prices higher in May

Ottawa | Reuters — Canadian industrial producer prices rose 1.2 per cent in May on higher prices for meat, fish and dairy products, Statistics Canada said on Monday, as supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and increased demand boosted meat prices.

The gain in producer prices followed four months of consecutive decreases and matched a flash estimate released by the statistical agency earlier this month.

StatsCan said the May increase was driven by higher prices for meat, fish and dairy products as well as gains in energy and petroleum products. Of the 21 major commodity groups monitored by the agency, six rose, 11 fell, and four were unchanged.

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Meat product prices rose 13.3 per cent, led by fresh and frozen pork, which increased a record 31.3 per cent as disruptions in the supply chain from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and higher demand for meat products contributed to the gain.

Earlier this month, StatsCan had said it expected meat prices would rise following outbreaks of COVID-19 in Canadian and U.S. meat plants that forced operations to shut down or reduce capacity.

Meanwhile, prices for energy and petroleum products rose by 4.6 per cent.

In a separate release, the national statistical agency said Canadian building permits rose 20.2 per cent, the largest percentage increase since March 2009, as some provinces eased constraints imposed on the construction industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the May figure was still 20.4 per cent below the peak seen in January 2020, StatsCan said.

The value of residential permits was up in six provinces, rising 18.7 per cent, with most of the gains due to a jump in the value of permits in single-family homes, which rose 37.5 per cent. Meanwhile, commercial permits jumped 20.8 per cent.

— Kelsey Johnson reports on Canadian economic issues for Reuters from Ottawa.

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