Canada Consumer Optimism Rises on Outlook for Personal Finances

  • Pocketbook subindex climbs to highest in a year on benefits
  • Job security reading improves, while real estate’s weakens

Canadians’ optimism about their own financial situation rose to the highest in more than a year last week, raising overall consumer confidence, in a sign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s boost of transfer payments has had an impact.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index rose to 59.9 from 59.3 a week earlier, while the pocketbook subindex -- measuring personal finances and job security -- rose to 61.1 from 60.3 a week earlier. The subindex reached its highest point since May of 2015.

Optimism has increased in particular among those with household incomes under C$60,000 ($46,700), suggesting Trudeau’s increased child benefit payments, which took effect last month, are having an impact, Bloomberg economist Robert Lawrie said.

"The pattern prior to the oil-shock was for low-income households to have lower expectations than higher-income households. That pattern has since reversed," Lawrie said.

Consumer confidence spiked most in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province where overall optimism rose to 65.2 from 61.9 a week earlier.

Improving Finances

Nationally, the share of those saying their personal finances have improved over the past year rose to 19.9 percent, from 18.5 percent a week earlier. The share of those who said their finances are worse off also increased, to 24.5 from 23.8. The difference between the two -- at negative 4.6 percentage points -- is the narrowest since June 2015.

Nationally, 65.5 percent of respondents said their job was either secure or somewhat secure, up from 64 a week earlier.

The share of those expecting real estate values in their neighborhood to increase over the next six months fell to 43.7 from 44.1 a week earlier, while the share of those expecting the Canadian economy to weaken overall was unchanged.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index is based on a four-week rolling average of telephone polling with 1,000 respondents. It’s considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The latest round of polling ended Aug. 19.

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