Lethbridge Herald

Business confidence ticks higher



Business confidence in Canada has edged higher as global trade tensions have eased, but the Prairies, hard hit by a drop in energy prices, continue to remain a weak spot, according to the latest outlook survey by the Bank of Canada.

The central bank said Monday that its Business Outlook Survey, which is based on interviews with senior management at about 100 firms, found that outside of the energyprod­ucing regions of the country, reports of improved indicators of future sales are widespread.

It said foreign demand, particular­ly from the U.S., continued to lift exports as businesses reported improved orders from foreign customers compared with a year ago.

“In addition, with concerns around trade tensions declining somewhat, firms’ expectatio­ns for U.S. economy growth have recovered slightly,” the bank said in its report.

“Many firms expect to benefit directly from U.S. demand, notably in constructi­on and tourism industries. However, some reported dampened prospects due to protection­ism and other U.S. policies that are more favourable to their U.S. competitor­s.”

The bank’s survey also suggested that labour shortages are a key obstacle to meeting an unexpected rise in demand except in the Prairies.

“Businesses in the Prairies continued to report limited capacity pressures, often citing weak demand and readily available labour,” the report said.

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