Canadians Temper Optimism About Economic Recovery, Nanos Says – BusinessWeek

Canadians Temper Optimism About Economic Recovery, Nanos Says

March 23, 2010, 5:55 AM EDT

By Theophilos Argitis

March 23 (Bloomberg) — Canadians are tempering their optimism about the country’s economic prospects, as they anticipate weaker real estate prices and heed warnings that the recovery remains fragile, according to a poll by Nanos Research.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has warned that a global economic recovery could falter, saying Group of 20 nations need to press ahead with stimulus measures. While recent data have shown Canada’s economy is recovering, unemployment hasn’t declined much from the highest in more than a decade and exporters are still struggling with a strong currency and weak U.S. orders.

“We’re in a period now of muted optimism,” pollster Nik Nanos said in an interview. “What was the key message coming out of the federal budget: it’s time for restraint, the recovery is still fragile.”

Nanos says dampening expectations may also help to keep the economy from recovering too quickly, which could fuel inflation.

“In the long term, it’s actually good, because from a consumer confidence point of view we’re probably not looking at attitudes that will overheat the economy,” Nanos said.

Still High Jobless

Harper, whose government released its 2010 budget earlier this month, tried to mitigate expectations last week after Statistics Canada reported the country’s economy added jobs for the second straight month in February. Harper said the country’s unemployment rate was “still too high” and reducing jobless ranks was still his government’s “chief priority.”

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said March 15 that while the country’s economy is improving, the recovery is “fragile” and the government will maintain its stimulus spending until next year. Flaherty said his government is “conscious” of Canada’s high jobless rate.

According to the Nanos poll, confidence was highest in Western Canada, even though all regions showed a decline in optimism.

More Canadians believe their personal finances will improve over the next six months, and fewer say they expect them to worsen, than they did three months ago, according to the poll. That was offset by lower security about employment and growing expectations real estate prices will stall.

The proportion of Canadians who anticipate rising prices for real estate in their neighborhood fell to 41.7 percent, from 46 percent last December. The share of Canadians who say they believe their jobs are secure fell to 46.4 percent, from 50.4 percent.

Canadian home resales fell for a second month in February, the Canadian Real Estate Association said March 15.

The Nanos poll of 1,003 Canadians was taken between March 6 and March 12, and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

–Editors: Paul Badertscher, John Simpson

To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at; David Scanlan at

Posted via web from Toronto Real Estate News | Blog


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