- Gap between economic optimists and pessimists narrows
- Crude oil registers largest weekly gain since August
Canadian consumer confidence advanced as oil prices gained and expectations for the nation’s economic outlook continued to stabilize.
Telephone polling showed the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index rose to 53.6 in the period ended Feb. 26, up from 53.5 previously and following a jump from 52.1 the week before that was the biggest increase in two and a half years. West Texas Intermediate crude prices ended the week at $32.84 a barrel, up more than 10 percent in the biggest increase since August, and the currency reached the highest this year.
Confidence had crumbled over the past several months, slumping with resource prices as economic growth stalled. Statistics Canada will probably report tomorrow gross domestic product was flat in the fourth quarter, according to median economist estimates. Yet the picture is improving, with the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rising about 8 percent since bottoming on Jan. 20, and sentiment on the prairies -- epicenter of the oil crash -- picking up last week from near-record lows.
Views on the outlook for production have stabilized, with the share of those who see the economy weakening in the next six months falling to 36.6 percent, compared with 38.4 percent in the prior period. That narrowed the gap between pessimists and optimists to the smallest this year at 16 points.
On personal finances, the proportion of those who see themselves better off than they were a year ago rose to 12.4 percent, from 12 percent previously, while the share of those who believe they’re worse off declined. Still, sentiment on personal finances remained close to the lowest since at least 2008, when the Nanos polling began.
Nanos Research produces the weekly confidence index from questions on personal finances, job security, the outlook for the economy and real estate prices. The survey is based on phone interviews with 1,000 people and uses a four-week rolling average of 250 respondents. The national results are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.