OTTAWA (AFP) - Canadas inflation was 1.8 percent in the 12 months to July, Statistics Canada said Friday, slightly less than analysts had predicted. The consumer price index, which tracks the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households, climbed on the back of a hike in consumption taxes in three Canadian provinces, the government agency said. On July 1, a harmonized sales tax (HST) came into effect in Ontario and British Columbia. At the same time, Nova Scotia increased its HST by two percentage points. The July inflation figure was slightly less than the 2.0 percent projected by most economists, after the index had risen 0.9 percent in June. Consumers paid 2.7 percent less for clothing and footwear in July than a year earlier, said Statistics Canada. Prices rose for non-alcoholic beverages, sugar and confectionery, and dairy products and eggs, while prices for fresh fruit and fresh vegetables fell. Consumers paid more for cable television and satellite services as well as for recreational facilities and services. However, prices for home entertainment equipment, parts and services and computer equipment and supplies fell. Higher consumer prices were recorded in July for homeowners replacement costs, up 5.5 percent. But the mortgage interest cost index, which measures the change in the interest portion of payments on outstanding mortgage debt, declined 4.2 percent in July. Energy prices rose 7.9 percent. Passenger vehicle insurance premiums also rose 5.1 percent, and prices for food purchased from restaurants increased 2.8 percent.