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OTTAWA, April 22 (Reuters) - Canada's annual inflation rate cooled last month as lower gasoline prices pulled the rate closer to the lower end of the central bank's target range, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The inflation rate fell to 1.3 percent in March from the previous month's 1.4 percent, though the decline was not as steep as the 1.2 percent analysts had forecast.
On a year-over-year basis, the gasoline component was down 13.6 percent. Excluding gasoline, the inflation rate was 1.9 percent.
Overall, prices were up in six of the consumer price index's eight major components, with food and shelter leading the way higher. Food prices rose 3.6 percent as consumers paid more for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat than they did a year ago.
Core inflation, which strips out some volatile items and is watched by the Bank of Canada, was more robust at 2.1 percent from February's 1.9 percent.
The Bank of Canada has an inflation target of 1 to 3 percent but has said it is looking through some of the temporary factors that are currently impacting the rate.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum