Inflation in Canada picked up in September, but price pressures remained subdued as the nation’s economy emerges from the aftermath of the pandemic.

Annual inflation accelerated to 0.5 per cent in September, after hovering at 0.1 per cent in August and July, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday from Ottawa. Still, it remains at well below typical levels as companies keep prices in check -- giving the Bank of Canada license to keep interest rates at historic lows in order to stoke growth.

Economists had forecast annual inflation at 0.5 per cent in September.

The average of the core inflation measures -- often seen as a better gauge of underlying price pressures -- picked up slightly to 1.73 per cent in September, from 1.7 per cent in August. Economists were forecasting core inflation readings to remain unchanged at 1.7 per cent, below the bank’s two per cent inflation target.

On a monthly basis, prices fell 0.1 per cent, matching the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Excluding gasoline, consumer prices rose one per cent.

Wednesday’s report suggests the social distancing measures and capacity restrictions on businesses are keeping price pressures subdued and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon with the second wave of COVID-19 apparent in several large Canadian cities.

The inflation data and a separate retail sales release are the last major indicators the Bank of Canada will see before its Oct. 28 rate decision and monetary policy report.