Cana­di­ans beaten down by trade fight

The Province - - NEWS | CANADA - GREG QUINN

Cana­di­ans are low­down af­ter months of wran­gling over U.S. trade, with pes­simism about the econ­omy reach­ing the high­est since the last re­ces­sion, a re­cent tele­phone polling shows.

Some 45.6 per cent of re­spon­dents said the econ­omy will be worse in six months, the high­est mon­thend read­ing since 2009, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey con­ducted by Nanos Re­search.

The fig­ure has surged from 27.8 per cent in May and more than dou­bled this year.

Eco­nomic pes­simists out­num­ber op­ti­mists by three to one, a stark im­bal­ance given un­em­ploy­ment is near record lows and the hous­ing mar­ket ap­pears to be sta­bi­liz­ing af­ter years of price es­ca­la­tion.

Tit-for-tat tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum, and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s threats to re­strict au­to­mo­bile im­ports are cast­ing a big­ger shadow.

Signs of a break­through on the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment did lit­tle to dis­pel the gloom.

The Bloomberg Nanos head­line con­fi­dence in­dex fell to 54.7 in July from 54.9 in June, hold­ing near a twoyear low.

The de­cline was caused by a com­bi­na­tion of a plunge in the Ex­pec­ta­tions mea­sure track­ing the econ­omy and real es­tate, and sta­bil­ity in the Pock­et­book met­ric cov­er­ing per­sonal fi­nances and job se­cu­rity.

The con­fi­dence in­dex for home­own­ers has reached a 12-month low, even with the Bank of Canada say­ing new reg­u­la­tions are work­ing to curb ex­ces­sive spec­u­la­tion in the Toronto and Van­cou­ver hous­ing mar­kets.

About 13 per cent of re­spon­dents ex­pect real es­tate prices to fall, the high­est share this year.

The polling is based on 250 ran­dom phone in­ter­views done each week, cre­at­ing a four-week rolling av­er­age. The lat­est re­sults through July 27 have a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3.1 per­cent­age points, 19 times out of 20.

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