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The battle lines have now been clearly drawn in our burgeoning trade fight with the United States and one of the first casualties appears to be consumer confidence.

Two key indicators of consumer confidence, released just prior to Canada imposing retaliatory tariffs on the U.S., show sharp drops.

The Conference Board of Canada’s monthly measure is based on four, forward-looking questions put to a random sample of households. Its June report registered a 4.5 point drop in consumer sentiment. Optimism was down in the responses to all four questions and sentiment sagged in every area of the country except Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The Nanos-Bloomberg confidence poll for the week ending June 22 fell to 55.3 points, down from 57.1 the previous week. That is its lowest level since 2016 and it is the biggest drop in since weekly polling started in 2013

Nanos-Bloomberg saw sentiment deteriorate for all four of its polling questions, with economic expectations taking the hardest hit. Just 14.7% of respondents felt the economy would get stronger over the next six months. About 38% felt things will get worse.

The pollsters say the heated rhetoric coming from the president of the United States is largely to blame, but rising interest rates and slowing housing markets are also contributing to the consumer funk.

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