Optimism over personal finances on the rise
TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - Confidence among east coast residents that the
Canadian economy will improve in 2011 has fallen to 44 per cent from 55
per cent at this time last year, according to the January 2011 RBC
Canadian Consumer Outlook Index (RBC CCO). On a more positive note,
however, Atlantic Canadians are among the country's most optimistic
about their personal financial situation, with 44 per cent expecting to
see improvements this year, which is higher than the national average
of 38 per cent and up from 41 per cent in 2010.
This rise in optimism about their personal financial situation may be
reflected in Atlantic Canadians' spending over this past holiday
season. The RBC CCO found that 37 per cent of consumers in Atlantic
Canada overspent their holiday budgets - the largest percentage across
the country, and those that overspent did so by the largest amount
($521). These overspenders are now looking at cutbacks to pay their
holiday bills, including spending less on entertainment (44 per cent)
and day-to-day living expenses (41 per cent), using credit cards less
(40 per cent), as well as cutting back on smaller expenses such as
lunches and coffees (29 per cent).
"There's a balance that we all look for, between what we can afford
today and what we want to be able to afford tomorrow, and this is where
financial planning can make all the difference," said Peter Conrod,
regional vice-president, Commercial Financial Services, Atlantic
Provinces, RBC. "The beginning of each new year is a good time to
revisit or start developing your financial plan to ensure you can get
your bills paid off while still setting aside savings for the future."
Turning to the broader economic outlook for this region, RBC Economics
is forecasting economic growth for all of Atlantic Canada, but in
varying degrees, led by Newfoundland and Labrador at 3.8 per cent,
reflecting strong capital investment and further gains in mineral
extraction in that province.
"The pace of growth throughout the rest of Atlantic Canada is generally
expected to be slower than the national average of 3.2 per cent," said
Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "We're
anticipating that improvement in the global and U.S. economies will
help lead to growth of 2.2 per cent for Prince Edward Island, 1.9 per
cent for New Brunswick and 1.5 per cent for Nova Scotia."
Other provincial highlights from the January 2011 RBC CCO include:
Economic Outlook: The 44 per cent of Atlantic Canadians who expect the national economy
to improve over the next year ranks just above the national average (43
per cent). Albertans are the most optimistic about the Canadian economy
improving in 2011 (61 per cent) and Quebecers are the least optimistic
(32 per cent).
Personal Financial Situation Outlook: Albertans are the most confident their personal financial situation will
improve this year (48 per cent), while Ontarians (36 per cent) and
Quebecers (35 per cent) are the least optimistic.
Job Anxiety Outlook: At 19 per cent, job anxiety in Atlantic Canada is just below the
national average (20 per cent) and ranks evenly with the sentiments
expressed in B.C. and Alberta. Job anxiety is highest in Ontario (23
per cent) and lowest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (15 per cent).
Spending Outlook on Major Purchases: Atlantic Canadians have the highest expectations (24 per cent) that they
will increase their spending on major purchases over the next year,
followed by those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (23 per cent).
Quebecers were the least likely to increase their spending on major
purchases (17 per cent).
About RBC's financial advice and interactive tools
RBC's myFinance Tracker is a new online financial management tool that offers all personal RBC
online banking clients the ability, at no cost, to create a set budget
and track their spending habits. In addition, whether Canadians want to
get more from their everyday banking, protect what's important, save
and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses,
the RBC Advice Centre (www.rbcadvicecentre.com) can help answer their questions. Advice videos are updated regularly
to reflect current trends and to answer the questions that are top of
mind with Canadians. Interactive tools and calculators provide
customized information covering many facets of personal finance. With
the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live, Canadians
have access to free, no-obligation professional advice about RBC
products and services and personalized one-on-one service.
About the RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index
The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, benchmarked as of November 2009, is conducted online via Ipsos Reid's
national I-Say Consumer Panel to 3,533 Canadians (503 British Columbia,
476 Alberta, 589 Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 721 Ontario, 678 Quebec, 566
Atlantic Canada). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics
and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult
population according to Census data and to provide results intended to
approximate the sample universe. Data collection was January 4 to 10,
2011. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a
100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of
±1.65 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would
have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled.
For further information:
Lori Smith, RBC Public Affairs and Community Relations, (902) 421-8121
Gillian McArdle, RBC Media Relations, (416) 974-5506