Canada consumer confidence rises for 7th month

Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:46am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Canada improved for a seventh straight month in September, with people's willingness to make big-ticket purchases showing the biggest gain, the Conference Board of Canada said on Tuesday.

The board's index of consumer confidence rose 2.5 points in September, marking the longest climb since 2002.

When asked if now was a good time to make a major purchase, 49.9 percent of respondents said yes, up 2.2 percentage points from August. The percentage who said it was not a good time fell 1.8 percentage points to 40.1 percent.

"This is the highest share of positive responses on the major purchases question since November 2007," the conference board said in its report.

After a deep recession lasting three quarters, Canada's economy began to rebound in June and is expected to grow in the third quarter on a year-on-year basis.

The Conservative government issued an economic report on Monday that noted Canada's housing market has started to recover and that consumers and businesses were feeling more confident.

The Conference Board's consumers' outlook on future employment prospects also improved in September, with 72.8 percent expecting at least as many jobs to be available six months from now. The percentage expecting more jobs rose 1.3 points to 22.8 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs fell to 22.2 percent.

Views on personal finances were mixed. The majority of those surveyed saw no change in their current financial situation. Those who felt their finances were worse off than before outweighed those who saw an improvement by a margin of 23.6 percent to 13.7 percent. Still, the share of those who were upbeat increased 3.2 points from the previous month.

Future expectations, however, worsened slightly. A majority of respondents, 53.9 percent, expected no change, but the portion that were more upbeat about their finances shrank by 0.8 points to 27.5 percent. Those pessimistic about the future rose by 1.1 points to 12.5 percent.

The survey was conducted from September 3 to 13 and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percent.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<p>People go shopping in a mall in downtown Toronto, December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>