Canadian economic confidence at 16-month high

TORONTO – A new report based on an online survey this month suggests Canadian consumers are getting more optimistic about the economy, reversing a trend after three quarters of decline.

The survey, which collected 1,500 responses in November, found that nearly two-thirds of the respondents indicated they believe the economy is growing, the highest reading since July 2011.

Results of the survey by the Gandalf Group are contained in the most recent Consumerology Report by Bensimon Byrne.

The report said 55 per cent of the respondents believed they were better off than a year ago while 45 per cent believed they were worse off.

The firm’s research also suggests the higher the income of a Canadian, the better the current economy is treating them.

Half of those making $50,000 or less per year said they were doing better than last year, and the figure rises to 70 per cent among those making $100,000 or more.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 6 to Nov. 21.

The findings are in contrast with a monthly consumer confidence index compiled about the same time by the Conference Board of Canada.

The Ottawa-based private-sector forecaster, which took its reading between Nov. 1 and 12, said last week that its consumer confidence index fell 0.8 points in November to 80.3 points.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development noted on Wednesday that economic growth in Canada has been soft in the second half of 2012 and will remain so until mid-2013.

It warns Canada is not out of the woods yet. Beside the usual risks from Europe and elsewhere, the OECD says the domestic economy has become somewhat unbalanced since the 2008-09 recession.

The two big domestic risks, the OECD says, are the record level of debt Canadian families hold and their dependence on house prices remaining firm.

Overall, the OECD projects Canada’s economy will grow by 1.5 per cent in the final three months of this year and advance only 1.8 per cent in 2013.

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