02/19/2016 09:12 EST

Vegetables Prices In Canada Soar 18.2% In Wake Of Loonie's Drop

Overall food prices are 4 per cent higher than a year ago.

The falling loonie continues to have an impact on prices in Canada, new data from StatsCan shows, with inflation accelerating in January.

Vegetable prices are 18.2 per cent higher than they were a year ago, the statistical agency reported Friday morning. Fresh fruit prices are up 12.9 per cent in the past year.

Canada imports most of its fruit and vegetables, making those items more sensitive to changes in the loonie.

Food led price growth in Canada in January, this chart from Statistics Canada shows. Clothing was the only major category to see lower prices.

Overall food prices were 4 per cent higher in January than they were a year earlier.

Gas prices have stopped falling. For the first time since October, 2014, gas prices are higher than they were a year earlier, up 2.1 per cent.

The overall consumer price index rose to 2 per cent in January, up from 1.6 per cent in December.

"Very strong indeed — much stronger report than what we expected,'' Desjardins senior economist Jimmy Jean said of the headline inflation number.

"(The increase) is largely in the usual suspects these days — fruits and vegetables.''

Year-over-year prices moved upwards in every category of the index except for clothing and footwear, which saw a decrease of 0.3 per cent compared to January 2015.

The five foods that rose the most between January 2015 and January 2016 were:

  • Lettuce — up 17.9 per cent.
  • Tomatoes — up 11.9 per cent.
  • Apples — up 16.6 per cent.
  • Oranges —up 11 per cent.
  • Nuts — up 7.4 per cent.

— With files from The Canadian Press