2013 BMO Small Business Confidence Report Reveals Outlook for Performance, Economy, Growth and Investment

Tue Apr 2, 2013 6:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

  TORONTO, ONTARIO, Apr 02 (Marketwired) --
According to the latest BMO Small Business Confidence Report released
today, Canadian businesses remain confident in their business prospects
and the state of the economy for 2013, with British Columbia and Atlantic
Canada leading the way.

    The BMO Small Business Confidence Report is designed to produce an index
score that measures the level of confidence small business owners have in
the economy and their business prospects based on a series of key
indicators, including their predictions for performance, economic
outlook, growth expectations and plans for investment. As a single-figure
snapshot of small business confidence, the current index score would
register at 59 out of 100 - a slight drop of four points from October. 

OUTLOOK                       NATIONAL    BC    AB PRAIRIES   ON    QC   ATL
Confidence Index Score 2013         59    64    59       54   59    57    62
                       2012         63    61    66       71   63    61    65

    Outlook and Expectations of Businesses by Region

    Based on their answers to a series of questions, the majority (62 per
cent) of business owners have a positive outlook for 2013. Again,
businesses in Atlantic Canada (70 per cent) and British Columbia (69 per
cent) lead the charge as the most optimistic. 

    More than half (52 per cent) expect 2013 to be a better year for business
and 45 per cent anticipate their business will grow. Further, a sizeable
number expect the economy will improve rather than worsen (34 per cent
versus 16 per cent). However, the positive sentiment has waned since the
fall when optimists outnumbered pessimists by a 5-to-1 ratio (39 per cent
versus 8 per cent). 

    The report, conducted by Pollara, also revealed that plans to invest are
trending upward. Small business owners indicated they plan to invest more
(28 per cent) into their business this year, up since the fall.

                               2013  2012                                   
Economy              Improve     34%   39%  51%  18%      29%  34%  32%  43%
                     Worsen      16%    8%   8%  16%      26%  15%  23%   8%
Business Performance Better      52%   56%  64%  47%      41%  56%  40%  63%
                     Worse       16%   12%  18%  11%      17%  17%  16%  15%
Business Growth      Grow        45%   50%  56%  40%      35%  44%  44%  45%
                     Shrink      11%    6%  21%   4%       8%  12%  10%   5%
Invest into Business More        28%   25%  31%  35%      24%  30%  26%  18%
                     Less        17%   17%  21%  11%      17%  16%  16%  23%

    "The Canadian economy has weathered many storms through the recent
economic downturn, and businesses across the country continue to perform
well. However, it's important that businesses remain adaptable to change
and look for ways to grow beyond our borders," said Steve Murphy, Senior
Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The U.S.
economy is showing strong signs for growth this year, providing positive
implications for Canadian businesses looking south for opportunities." 

    Mr. Murphy encouraged businesses to get their share of the $10 billion in
credit BMO has made available, giving them access to the capital they
need to grow.

    Small business owners can take advantage of BMO's Online Banking for
Business platform, which can assist them in making important foreign
exchange transactions effectively. "BMO's Online Banking for Business
allows businesses to manage all aspects of their treasury needs from
global cash management to foreign exchange services, to investments,
loans, and trade finance all from a user-friendly customizable home
page," added Mr. Murphy.

    For more information on BMO's cross-border cash management solutions,
please visit http://www.bmo.com/home/commercial/banking/cash-management/g
lobal-solutionsor contact your BMO representative. 

    Results cited above come from a Pollara telephone survey with 500
Canadian business owners, conducted between February 25 and March 15,
2013. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.4 per cent, 19 times
out of 20.

    About BMO Financial Group

    Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly
diversified North American financial services organization. With total
assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000
employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking,
wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Media Contacts:
Jessica Park, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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