Canadian Consumer Confidence Falls After Ottawa Shootings

Canadian consumer confidence dropped for a fourth consecutive week as a shooting at the national legislature and the murders of two Canadian soldiers shook the nation.

The Bloomberg Nanos gauge of consumer sentiment fell to 57.9 in the week ended Oct. 24, from 58.4 the previous week and as high as 60.6 in July. The index declined to the lowest since February, driven by waning confidence in the economic outlook and prospects for real estate prices.

The week began with the two soldiers being run down with a car near Montreal by a man who Canadian authorities said had become “radicalized.” One soldier died in that attack, and the driver was later shot and killed by police. Two days later, another man whose actions police say were motivated by ideology gunned down a soldier at the national war memorial in Ottawa before storming the federal legislature where he was killed in an exchange of gunfire.

“When major tragic events happen, there is a short-term chill effect,” said Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research. “That being said, this negative trend started before the shootings. It could just be the shootings have amplified a negative trend that already exists.”

The decline in confidence in recent weeks coincided with speculation global growth is faltering. Stock markets plunged earlier this month, sending the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index to six straight weeks of losses through Oct. 10 as it fell to the lowest since February. The recovery in global equities last week wasn’t reflected in the confidence gauge.

Weaker Economy

The share of Canadians who think the economy will improve over the next six months dropped to 16.1 percent in the week ended Oct. 24, the lowest since April 2013, the Nanos data showed.

Those who said they expect a weaker economy jumped to 24.7 percent of respondents from 17.2 percent four weeks ago.

The percentage of those who think real-estate prices will increase in the next six months fell to 37.1, from the prior week’s reading of 40.2 and an average of 40.5 this year.

The Nanos index is derived from weekly polling based on phone interviews with 1,000 people, using a four-week rolling average of 250 respondents. The results are accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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