Canada consumer confidence lowest since 1982

Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:24pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Canada dropped further in November to a fresh 26-year low as global economic turmoil intensified, the Conference Board of Canada said on Monday.

The report comes a day after Canada's Conservative government conceded for the first time that the country may be in a technical recession.

"Consumer sentiment has fallen to depths previously reached only in 1982 and 1990, which were both periods of recession in Canada," said Paul Darby, a Conference Board economist.

"The ongoing troubles in equity markets undoubtedly had a negative effect on consumers' view of their family financial situations and future job prospects in their communities."

World markets have been falling dramatically in recent months due to a global credit crisis emanating from the soured U.S. housing market.

The crisis has hit Canada in the form of slumping prices for the country's main commodity exports and weakening auto sales that threaten the heart of its manufacturing sector.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said over the weekend that Ottawa would use fiscal stimulus to boost the economy out of a recession if needed.

The Conference Board's report showed a 2.9 point drop in its consumer index from October to 71.

The Conference Board said its survey, conducted from November 6-13, also showed a small increase in the number of respondents who said it was a good time to make a major purchase, which "may indicate that the slide in the index is bottoming out."

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)