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A file photo of a Walmart store in Okotoks, Alta. (Chris Bolin/Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)
A file photo of a Walmart store in Okotoks, Alta. (Chris Bolin/Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)

Consumers regaining confidence Add to ...

Canadian consumers have regained some of their confidence about the economy, according to a new monthly survey, but when it comes to their own financial situation they're keeping a fairly negative opinion.

A monthly consumer confidence index compiled by the Conference Board of Canada registered 92.5 in March, up 4.3 points from the previous month.

The private-sector economic forecaster says the confidence gain logged in March wasn't enough to completely recover from a drop in February but still leaves the index 36.4 points ahead of where it was a year ago.

When it comes to specific questions in the survey, Canadian's sentiment was more optimistic on both employment and major purchases.

But the board said that a slightly lesser percentage of respondents answered in a positive manner than last month when asked about their current and future finances.

"Consumers continue to exhibit considerable negativity to their own financial situation," the board said in the report.

"Attitudes toward future finances degraded for a second consecutive month."

Only 14.6 per cent said their financial situation has improved over the past six months, up just 0.6 percentage point from February and only 3.2 points higher than at the low point last spring.

The share of respondents who said their financial situation would improve over the next six months fell 1.4 percentage points from February to 27.6 per cent, while the number of respondents who thought their situation would worsen increased by 0.3 percentage points to 12.5 per cent.

People in Canada's western provinces continued to be more optimistic than those in the East, with results from British Columbia logging a record one-month improvement, increasing 25.9 points to 121.1.

The survey found that respondents in Ontario had the least confidence in the country, down 2.7 points to 81.3.

The Conference Board compiles the index based on answers to a series of questions. The most recent survey of 2,000 people was conducted from March 4 to March 14.

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