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Consumer confidence fell in August: Conference Board

Workers prepare an organic foods grocery store in Toronto on Apr.25, 2002, for its upcoming opening. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The Conference Board of Canada says its index of consumer confidence fell in August to its lowest level in more than two years, as it conducted its monthly survey during a recent wave of stock market turmoil.

The board says the index fell 6.6 points in August to 74.7, the lowest since July 2009.

“The index has declined for four months, but this is the first really substantial month-to-month decline,” the Conference Board’s Pedro Antunes said.

“Negativity towards future job creation and an unwillingness to make a major purchase were the primary signs of this waning consumer confidence.”

The survey found pessimism was higher on answers to questions about current and future household finances.

It also suggested consumers were at their most pessimistic since April 2009 about whether it is a good or a bad time to make a major purchase.

The survey was done between Aug. 4 and Aug. 14, a volatile period for financial markets that saw daily triple-digit swings and debt-rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgrade the credit rating of the United States.

Consumer confidence in Ontario fell 4.3 points to 67.8, while it fell 12.7 points to 67.1 in Quebec, the lowest level in Canada.

The index fell eight points in the Prairies, but it remained at 90.5, its highest level in the country. Atlantic Canada saw a drop of 12 points that erased gains made by the region in July.

Only British Columbia avoided a decline as the provincial index rose 1.1 points to 86.1.