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Consumer Confidence Reaches Three-Month High on Canada's Prairies

Canadian consumer confidence edged higher as sentiment in the energy-producing prairies reached a three-month high, telephone polling shows.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index rose to 56.7 from 56.6 a week earlier, buoyed by increased expectations for the country’s economy overall and a larger share of respondents saying their personal finances have improved. Sentiment in the Prairies, the region that’s home to Canada’s oil patch and has the country’s lowest consumer confidence score, rose to 51.1 from 50.4.

Most of the index’s indicators were little-changed, however, as Canada’s economy limps toward 2017 with weaker-than-expected growth, soft inflation and dismal manufacturing output. The index is poised to close slightly above its 2016 average of 56.1.

“Economic sentiment has been moving in a positive direction over the past few weeks –- largely a result of more positive views in the energy-rich Western Canada,” Nanos Research Group Chairman Nik Nanos said in a statement.

Some 24.4 percent of respondents expect Canada’s economy to strengthen over the next six months, up from 24.1 percent. Another 29.1 percent expect the economy to weaken, up from 29 percent the week earlier.

The share of those saying their personal finances have improved over the past year rose to 16.1 percent from 15.6 percent a week earlier. Those who say their finances are worse off rose to 24.8 from 24.7.

On real estate, those expecting prices to decrease fell to 15.7 percent from 16.9 percent, reaching the lowest level in 10 weeks.

Asked about job-security, 65.8 percent of respondents reported their position is at least somewhat secure, down from 66.5 percent a week earlier.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index is based on a rolling, four-week average of 1,000 respondents and is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The latest round of polling ended Dec. 23.

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