Bank of Canada Business Outlook Survey

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The Bank of Canada released its latest Business Outlook Survey this morning. As referenced in the notes below (courtesy of, it's a leading indicator of economic health, affecting spending, hiring, and investment, and it can have predictive qualities regarding future economic conditions because the surveyed firms are selected in accordance with their composition of the nation's GDP.

The survey is shown in its entirety here:

Highlights of the survey show that:

  • firms report an improvement in sales growth over the past year
  • firms are not expecting an increase in sales growth over the next 12 months, falling to just below zero
  • firms still plan to increase investment, but remain somewhat cautious
  • intentions to increase employment rose modestly
  • production capacity pressures are little changed
  • reports of labour shortages are essentially unchanged
  • firms expect input prices to rise at about the same rate
  • firms expect output prices to increase at a slower rate
  • inflation expectations continue to be concentrated within the Bank's inflation-control range of 1 to 3 per cent.
  • firms no longer report a net easing in credit conditions, which had tightened over the past three months due to an increase in borrowing costs


In a nutshell, businesses are anticipating a slower-to-zero sales growth for 2012 and tightened credit conditions…not a robust outlook for healthy growth.

Additionally, today's data released on Canadian Building Permits shows a decline, as shown on the graph below.

Data on the Canadian New Home Price Index is due for release this Thursday…it's an indicator worth watching over the next months, since it's a leading indicator of the housing industry's health…also, as I mentioned in my last post, forecasters have warned that Canada's 13-year housing boom has reached its end: If Canada's housing bubble bursts (watch for early signs in Ontario and Quebec), all hell will break loose, in my opinion.

Toronto's Read Estate Index is currently trading near the 2008 highs before prices plunged, as shown on the Weekly chart below.

The 5-Day chart below shows price trading up against near-term resistance.