Canadian Consumer Confidence Falls to American Levels

    OTTAWA, Jan. 2 /CNW/ - The latest Harris Decima Investors Group measure
of Canadian Consumer Confidence reveals:

    -   The overall index of Consumer Confidence in the economy fell in the
        period from August through December 2008. Canadian data has now
        reached similar levels to that found in the US by the University of
        Michigan. The index is based on five specific questions which probe
        sentiment about current and future economic conditions.

        Harris/Decima Investors Group Consumer Confidence Index
        To see chart, please visit

    The data reveals continuing pessimism about the economy as a whole, but
most individuals continue to feel more optimistic than pessimistic about their
own personal situation.

    -   Pessimism about the economic outlook for the coming year increased,
        with over 6-in-10 (64%) saying they expect bad times overall in the
        coming year, doubled from August when 32% answered in kind.

    -   However, the number of people who say they expect their personal
        financial situation to deteriorate in the coming year essentially
        remained stable at 18%. The number of people who say they are worse
        off today than they were last year, jumped 4 points to 28%, but far
        more still say they are the same or better off than last year.

        Negative Sentiment
        To see chart, please visit

        Positive Sentiment
        To see chart, please visit

    According to Harris/Decima Senior Vice-President Jeff Walker, "There
really are two very different streams of opinion informing consumer confidence
right now, one being a very widely held concern about the near term and the
longer term health of the economy, the other being relatively positive
sentiment about personal economic circumstances". "Whether this is a case of
cognitive dissonance or a true reflection of sentiment will bear itself out in
the first couple of months of 2009, likely influenced by the extent to which
unemployment rates rise nationally in the new year."
    "Despite recent negative reports regarding the economy in both the United
States and Canada, it is interesting to see that Canadian consumers are still
relatively positive about their own personal circumstances and outlook," said
Myron Knodel, Director, Tax and Estate Planning at Investors Group. "This
could be because the effects of the economic downturn have not been as severe
in Canada."
    Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through
teleVox, the company's national omnibus survey. These data were gathered
December 11th through 21st 2008 for a sample of just over 2,000 respondents.
The poll's margin of error is 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Jeff Walker, Senior Vice-President,
Harris/Decima, Tel: (613) 230-2200,,

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