24/03/2012 09:54 AST

Canadian inflation accelerated for a second month in February on higher costs for electricity and meat, as the central bank’s key price measure reached the fastest in more than three years.

The consumer price index rose 2.6 percent in February from a year earlier, following January’s 2.5 percent gain, Ottawa- based Statistics Canada said. The core rate, which excludes eight volatile items, accelerated to 2.3 percent, the fastest since December 2008. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted the total rate would quicken to 2.7 percent and core inflation would be 2.2 percent, according to the median of 25 estimates.

The Bank of Canada said March 8 that inflation will be higher than it had forecast in January because of “reduced economic slack and higher oil prices.” Policy makers also said price gains will slow in the second quarter and inflation will then stay near 2 percent through next year.

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