Canadian firms are becoming more positive about the economy, saying they are increasing sales and are planning to hire new workers over the coming year, the Bank of Canada reported yesterday in its quarterly survey of conditions.

The summer poll of business conditions, and a separate survey of loan officers also released yesterday, show that firms are having an easier time obtaining loans, a critical pre-requisite for expansion.

“Overall, (business executives) are positive about the outlook for business activity over the next 12 months,” the central bank said in a release yesterday.

“For the first time in two years, firms, on balance, reported an improvement in their past sales activity.”

The outlook survey increases the odds that the bank's governing council will feel less reticent about hiking interest rates another quarter point next week, since it points to a strengthening recovery.

Not all the results obtained by the Bank of Canada in the summer sampling of 100 firms were positive, however.

Business executives expressed concerns about “recent global economic and financial uncertainties and possible spillover effects in Canada.”

And on a balance of opinion, the survey found a decline in expectations that sales volumes would increase at a greater rate over the next 12 months.

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