(Adds details from report)
OTTAWA, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Canada's annual inflation rate rose in November to its highest level since the start of the year, lifted by an increase in gasoline and food prices, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.
The annual rate increased to 2.1 percent last month from 1.4 percent in October, topping economists' forecasts for 2.0 percent. It was the highest level since January and the first time inflation has hit the central bank's 2 percent target since February.
Underlying inflation also showed strength, with two out of three of the Bank of Canada's core measures rising on an annual basis.
Overall, prices were up in seven of the eight main consumer price categories, led by a 5.9 percent annual increase in the transportation component as gasoline prices accelerated. Higher costs for passenger vehicles also contributed to the strength.
Food prices were up 1.6 percent as consumers paid more for meat and fresh vegetables. Stripping out the effect of gasoline and food, the inflation rate was 1.8 percent.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bill Trott)