July 23, 2009 / 3:23 PM / in 8 years

Canada consumer sentiment up for 5th month in July

TORONTO (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Canada edged higher in July, marking its fifth consecutive month of increase, a new survey showed on Thursday.

The Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence climbed 0.8 points to 82.9 in July, fueled largely by an uptick in sentiment about major purchases such as a home or a car.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they felt that now was a good time to make major purchases, up 2.6 percentage points.

“The index now stands 12.7 points higher than it did at the beginning of the year -- perhaps indicating that consumers do indeed see a light at the end of the tunnel,” the Conference Board said, though it noted July’s move up was marginal.

The survey comes a day after government statistics showed a surprisingly big jump in Canadian retail sales in May as consumer confidence rebounded broadly on hopes of an economic recovery.

However, the Conference Board’s survey showed respondents were generally glum about their financial situation, with only 12 percent indicating they felt they were better off now than they were six months ago, a drop of 0.8 percentage points.

Consumers were also pessimistic about their financial outlook. The number of respondents who said they believed their financial situation would improve over the coming six months fell 0.4 percentage points to 26.6 percent.

But the share of respondents who felt their situation would worsen in six months tumbled to 11.6 percent, well below the 20.2 per cent who felt that way 12 months ago.

On employment, the percentage of consumers who said they believe there will be more jobs in communities six months from now fell to 15.2 percent, down 1.7 percentage points.

Overall, regional results were mixed, the board said, with gains concentrated in central Canada. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)

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