OTTAWA Jan 13 Canadian businesses were hopeful
in the fourth quarter of 2013 that sales would increase over the
next year and were more upbeat on investment and hiring than in
the previous quarter, according to a Bank of Canada survey
released on Monday.
But the positive outlook was not shared evenly among the
senior managers participating in the bank's quarterly survey.
Details of the responses showed that companies benefiting from
an improving global economy appeared more encouraged than those
relying solely on the domestic market.
"The winter business outlook survey provides some positive
signs for the economic outlook, notably for exports and
investment, although responses do not yet appear to suggest a
significant strengthening," the central bank said in its report.
The bank cited "weak demand and domestic uncertainty" as
weighing on some companies as they looked to the year ahead.
The inflation outlook has been a huge concern for the Bank
of Canada as the inflation rate has been persistently below the
bank's 2 percent target. In the survey, the vast majority of
businesses expected the rate to remain within the bank's target
range of 1 to 3 percent over the next two years.
Sixty-eight percent saw inflation at the bottom end of that
range, between 1 and 2 percent, largely unchanged from 70
percent in the third-quarter survey. Twenty-nine percent
expected inflation of between 2 and 3 percent.
Fifty-three percent of companies expected their employment
levels to rise, up from 43 percent in the third quarter; and 42
percent expected investments to rise, versus 34 percent
(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Peter Galloway)