OTTAWA - Canada's annual inflation rate rose as expected in April as consumers paid more for food and shelter, bringing the rate closer to the central bank's target, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

The annual inflation rate was 1.7 per cent last month, in line with economists' forecasts. The core inflation rate, which strips out some volatile items and is watched by the Bank of Canada, was more robust, rising to 2.2 per cent.

Nonetheless, the figures were unlikely to change the path of monetary policy as the bank has said inflation is being influenced by temporary factors. The central bank, which has an inflation target of 2 per cent, is widely expected to hold interest rates at 0.50 per cent when it meets next week.

Overall, prices rose on an annual basis in seven of the consumer price index's eight major components. Canadians paid 3.2 per cent more for food, though the pace of the increase was slightly slower than the month before. The cost of shelter rose 1.4 per cent, mainly due to smaller declines for natural gas and fuel oil prices.

The decline in energy prices moderated, with prices down 3.2 per cent compared to the hefty annual 7.8 percent decrease seen in March. Excluding energy, inflation rose to 2.1 percent.