Times Colonist

Consumer confidence plummets during May

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OTTAWA — Canadian consumer confidence tumbled in May to its lowest level in at least seven years, the Conference Board of Canada said yesterday.

The seven point drop to 85.8 showed a widespread souring of the mood of consumers, led by their view toward future income conditions and making major purchases, it said.

It was the lowest level of confidence since the think-tank began its monthly survey of confidence in December 2001.

“Every region experience­d waning levels of confidence with Central and Eastern Canada bearing the brunt of the decline,” the Conference Board said.

“Part of the reason behind the drop in consumer confidence could be the rise in gasoline prices observed over the past month,” it said.

The report noted that the last time consumer confidence fell significan­tly was in the fall of 2005 following hurricane Katrina, when gas prices soared.

The index of confidence is based on the level in 2002 being equal to 100.

The release of the results of the survey, which was conducted in the first week of May, follows news last week that the Canadian economy contracted in the first quarter of this year for the first time in nearly five years.

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