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Press release from Marketwire

2013 BMO Small Business Confidence Report Reveals Outlook for Performance, Economy, Growth and Investment

- 2013 outlook: 62 per cent positive about 2013 - Looking ahead: 52 per cent expect 2013 to be a better year for business - Business growth: 45 per cent anticipate business will grow and 28 per cent plan to invest more into their business

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

2013 BMO Small Business Confidence Report Reveals Outlook for Performance, Economy, Growth and Investment

06:00 EDT Tuesday, April 02, 2013

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 2, 2013) - According to the latest BMO Small Business Confidence Report released today, Canadian businesses remain confident in their business prospects and the state of the economy for 2013, with British Columbia and Atlantic Canada leading the way.

The BMO Small Business Confidence Report is designed to produce an index score that measures the level of confidence small business owners have in the economy and their business prospects based on a series of key indicators, including their predictions for performance, economic outlook, growth expectations and plans for investment. As a single-figure snapshot of small business confidence, the current index score would register at 59 out of 100 - a slight drop of four points from October.

OUTLOOK NATIONAL BC AB PRAIRIES ON QC ATL
Confidence Index Score 2013 59 64 59 54 59 57 62
2012 63 61 66 71 63 61 65

Outlook and Expectations of Businesses by Region

Based on their answers to a series of questions, the majority (62 per cent) of business owners have a positive outlook for 2013. Again, businesses in Atlantic Canada (70 per cent) and British Columbia (69 per cent) lead the charge as the most optimistic.

More than half (52 per cent) expect 2013 to be a better year for business and 45 per cent anticipate their business will grow. Further, a sizeable number expect the economy will improve rather than worsen (34 per cent versus 16 per cent). However, the positive sentiment has waned since the fall when optimists outnumbered pessimists by a 5-to-1 ratio (39 per cent versus 8 per cent).

The report, conducted by Pollara, also revealed that plans to invest are trending upward. Small business owners indicated they plan to invest more (28 per cent) into their business this year, up since the fall.

EXPECTATIONS & PLANS NATIONAL BC AB PRAIRIES ON QC ATL
2013 2012
Economy Improve 34 % 39 % 51 % 18 % 29 % 34 % 32 % 43 %
Worsen 16 % 8 % 8 % 16 % 26 % 15 % 23 % 8 %
Business Performance Better 52 % 56 % 64 % 47 % 41 % 56 % 40 % 63 %
Worse 16 % 12 % 18 % 11 % 17 % 17 % 16 % 15 %
Business Growth Grow 45 % 50 % 56 % 40 % 35 % 44 % 44 % 45 %
Shrink 11 % 6 % 21 % 4 % 8 % 12 % 10 % 5 %
Invest into Business More 28 % 25 % 31 % 35 % 24 % 30 % 26 % 18 %
Less 17 % 17 % 21 % 11 % 17 % 16 % 16 % 23 %

"The Canadian economy has weathered many storms through the recent economic downturn, and businesses across the country continue to perform well. However, it's important that businesses remain adaptable to change and look for ways to grow beyond our borders," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The U.S. economy is showing strong signs for growth this year, providing positive implications for Canadian businesses looking south for opportunities."

Mr. Murphy encouraged businesses to get their share of the $10 billion in credit BMO has made available, giving them access to the capital they need to grow.

Small business owners can take advantage of BMO's Online Banking for Business platform, which can assist them in making important foreign exchange transactions effectively. "BMO's Online Banking for Business allows businesses to manage all aspects of their treasury needs from global cash management to foreign exchange services, to investments, loans, and trade finance all from a user-friendly customizable home page," added Mr. Murphy.

For more information on BMO's cross-border cash management solutions, please visit http://www.bmo.com/home/commercial/banking/cash-management/global-solutions or contact your BMO representative.

Results cited above come from a Pollara telephone survey with 500 Canadian business owners, conducted between February 25 and March 15, 2013. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Contact Information:
Media Contacts:
Jessica Park, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
jessica1.park@bmo.com


Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com


Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com


Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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