BoC released its autumn Business Outlook Survey, which indicates that business sentiment improved slightly, but regional differences are more pronounced.
- Indicators of future sales suggest moderate sales growth ahead. Sales expectations are positive in most regions, notably in Quebec, but are soft in the Prairies. Foreign demand continues to support export sales prospects, though they are being weighed down by trade tensions.
- Investment and hiring plans are healthy, mainly outside the energy-producing regions.
- The share of firms reporting pressures on production capacity and the share reporting labour shortages are at somewhat elevated levels. These firms are concentrated in Central Canada and British Columbia.
- Input price growth is expected to soften modestly due to less pressure from various commodity-related inputs. Nevertheless, firms anticipate output prices will grow at a slightly greater rate than over the past 12 months. As in recent surveys, a majority of businesses expect inflation to be in the lower half of the Bank of Canada’s inflation-control range.
- Firms reported a marginal easing in credit conditions over the past three months.
- Although below the high levels reached in 2017 and 2018, the Business Outlook Survey indicator moved up, signalling a slight improvement in overall business sentiment.