Confidence on the rise – Metro US

Confidence on the rise

Canadians are beginning to feel better about their financial prospects and that may signal that consumers are ready to re-engage in the economy, the Conference Board of Canada says.

The Ottawa think-tank’s monthly survey on consumer confidence continues a recent trend of better than expected indicators that chief economist Glen Hodgson says is consistent with an economy nearing the bottom of its rapid descent.

“We’re beginning to form a bottom of the recession. We’re starting to get people looking a little more creatively and optimistically ahead,” Hodgson said.

“They understand they can buy stuff at a much better price than they did six months ago, that they are able to re-finance their mortgage at really impressive rates and that they probably aren’t all going to lose their jobs.”

Encouraging signs yesterday included a surge in equity markets that builds on two weeks of gains — an implicit first-blush vote of confidence to U.S. President Barack Obama’s up to $1-trillion US plan to help out the financial sector — and new housing numbers showing a gain in sales south of the border.

The Conference Board’s March survey showed Canadian consumer confidence rising 2.7 points to 71.5, although the index remains well below the 100 level that was prevalent until about last summer.