March 22, 2019 / 12:45 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Canada annual inflation rate edges up to 1.5 pct in February

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OTTAWA, March 22 (Reuters) - Canada's annual inflation rate edged up to 1.5 percent in February but remained below the Bank of Canada's 2.0 percent target for the second successive month, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast the rate would stay at 1.4 percent. Excluding gas prices, which dropped by 11.9 percent from February 2018, the overall rate would have been 2.1 percent.

The central bank, which has put rate hikes on hold as the economy slows, said on March 6 that it expected overall inflation to stay slightly below 2.0 percent for most of 2019, in part due to cheaper gasoline.

The mortgage interest cost index rose by 8.1 percent while consumers paid 14.3 percent more for fresh vegetables than a year earlier.

The Bank of Canada's three measures of core inflation were all below 2.0 percent. CPI common, which the central bank says is the best gauge of the economy's underperformance, slipped to 1.8 percent from 1.9 percent in January.

CPI median, which shows the median inflation rate across CPI components, stayed at 1.8 percent while CPI trim, which excludes upside and downside outliers, was unchanged at 1.9 percent.

Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Bill Trott

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