Canadian consumer confidence rises in March

Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:38am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Canada rose in March, but it was the fourth turn in sentiment in the past six months, highlighting the fragility of the economic recovery, the Conference Board of Canada said on Wednesday.

The board's consumer confidence index rose 4.3 points to 92.5 in March, but the rise was not enough to offset the previous month's decline, the research organization said.

Canadians were generally more optimistic about employment and plans to make major purchases, while sentiment toward future finances weakened.

Nearly a third of respondents said they expected jobs to be created in their communities over the next six months. And the share of those polled who felt there would be fewer jobs in six months fell, down 2.6 points to 16 percent. That was the lowest share of negative responses to the question since September 2007.

When asked if it was a good time to make a major purchase, such as a home or car, 46.6 percent said it was, an increase of 1.3 percentage points, while the share who responded that it was a bad time fell 3.2 points to 42.5 percent.

The share of Canadians who said they felt their financial situation would improve over the next six months fell 1.4 percentage points to 27.6 percent.

Negative responses to the same question rose 0.3 percentage points to 12.5 percent.

"Together, the two financial questions continue to provide the most disappointing results in the survey," the Conference Board said in its report.

The latest survey is based on more than 2,000 telephone interviews conducted in early March.

(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)