Depreciating Canadian Dollar Hits Personal Finances: Nanos Poll

  • Canadians who see worsening finances highest since May 2013
  • Prairie provinces hit new record lows amid oil price collapse

Financial-market turmoil and a weaker currency are beginning to take a toll on the pocketbooks of the nation’s consumers.

The share of Canadians who say their personal finances have worsened over the past year rose to 30.7 percent last week, the highest since May 2013, according to polling by Nanos Research Group. That gauge has marched up about 5 percentage points over the past month, a sudden deterioration of sentiment that reflects worries about the weaker dollar and sharp declines in global equity markets.

Every week, Nanos Research asks Canadians for their views on personal finances, job security, the outlook for the economy and where real estate prices are headed. This is what the survey data, which is compiled for Bloomberg News, captured for the week through Jan. 29:

*The share of Canadians who believe their personal finances improved over the past year fell to 16.3 percent last week, down from 18.5 percent the week before. The gauge touched a record low 14.1 percent in October and hasn’t really recovered. Pessimistic responses about finances exceeded optimistic ones by 14.4 percentage points, the widest gap since May 2013.

*The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index -- a composite gauge of all questions -- fell to 52.1, the second lowest score since 2013. The index reached a 2 1/2-year low of 52 in August.

*The decline in sentiment is being driven by the Prairies -- Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The confidence gauge for that region fell to 41.6, a record low.

*Expectations about the economy’s outlook were the most pessimistic since August, with 42.9 percent of respondents saying they expect it to worsen over the next six months. That’s well above the 12-month average 34.1 percent and almost double the share of those, 17.7 percent, who see the economy strengthening.

*The data show sentiment about the labor market is holding up, even with the gloom elsewhere. The 49.6 percent of respondents who felt secure in their jobs was the highest since November.

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.