TORONTO, April 12 /CNW/ - Rising food and gas prices have packed a
wallop for Ontario consumers, with 51 per cent saying the new expenses
have had a significant impact on their budget - the highest impact in
Canada - according to the March 2011 RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index (RBC CCO). Job anxiety has also risen in the province, with 28 per cent
reporting worries about themselves or someone in their household losing
their job or being laid off, up five per cent since last quarter and
well above the national average of 22 per cent.
While there are immediate concerns, Ontarians are still optimistic when
looking to the future, with 44 per cent expecting the Canadian economy
to improve over the next year, slightly higher than national
expectations (42 per cent). The province's overall outlook index also
rose this quarter by six points to 85 points.
"Unexpected costs can arise at any time, which makes it a good idea to
visit a financial planner whenever conditions change," said Jeff Boyd,
regional president, Ontario North and East, RBC. "In this way, you can
get a better idea of how to adjust your budget so that you can manage
debt and day-to-day costs, while still being able to put money aside
for future needs."
Meanwhile, the Ontario economy is expected to see its best performance
since 2002, with real GDP forecast to grow by 3.1 per cent, according
to the latest Economic Outlook from RBC Economics. "Conditions in Ontario are expected to continue to
improve this year, allowing the province to complete its recovery and
move into an expansion cycle," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president
and chief economist, RBC.
The RBC CCO is Canada's most comprehensive consumer assessment of the economy, personal financial situation and economic and
purchasing expectations. Other provincial highlights from the March 2011 RBC CCO include:
Debt Management: Thirty four per cent of Ontarians feel confident in their debt
management skills, compared to the national average of 38 per cent.
Nearly one-in-four Ontarians (37 per cent) think they are doing an
"okay" job managing their debt, but know they could be doing better.
Personal Financial Situation Outlook: Nearly four-in-ten of Ontario residents (39 per cent) expect their
personal finances to improve over the next year, up three per cent
since last quarter and on par with the national average.
Spending Outlook on Major Purchases: Six-in-ten Ontarians (60 per cent) have delayed making a major purchase
due to the current economy, a rise of three per cent since January -
the highest such ranking in the country and five percentage points
above the national average (55 per cent). Only one-in-four (24 per
cent) plan to increase spending over the next year.
The national RBC CCO release, full set of regional releases and related
comparative data charts can be accessed via www.rbc.com/newsroom/2011/0412-cdn-consumer.html.
About RBC's debt management and other financial advice and interactive tools
RBC's myFinanceTracker, a new online financial management tool, offers all personal RBC online banking clients the ability, at no cost, to create a set budget and track their
spending habits. Whether Canadians want to get more from their day to day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or
take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions (www.rbcadvicecentre.com). Interactive tools and calculators provide customized information
covering many facets of personal finance. In addition, online advice
videos are updated regularly to reflect current trends and to answer
the questions that are top of mind with Canadians. 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 banking service.
About the RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index
The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index (RBC CCO) is Canada's most comprehensive consumer assessment of the economy, personal
financial situation and economic and purchasing expectations.
Benchmarked as of November 2009, the RBC CCO is conducted online via Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel to 3,520 Canadians (534 British Columbia,
502 Alberta, 482 Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 901 Ontario, 582 Quebec, 519
Atlantic Canada). Weighting is 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 March 11 to 15,
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:
Chris De Vito, RBC Communications Director, (613) 564-2120, email@example.com
Kathy Bevan, RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-2727, firstname.lastname@example.org