The CEO Poll: Losing confidence

Canadian business leaders rebuke central bank policies.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

Canadian CEOs are losing confidence in central banks as world economies falter, according to a recent web poll conducted by COMPAS Inc.

Asked to rate how confident they are in the Bank of Canada on a 100-point scale, the 138 respondents returned an average score of 74. That’s down from 81 in February 2008. The U.S. Federal Reserve is faring even worse. The average confidence score is 62, down from 81 in September 2005, when chairman Alan Greenspan stepped down after 18 years.

The drop in confidence is hardly surprising, COMPAS notes, given that 2009 is shaping up to be a bleak year in terms of the economy. The Bank of Canada has attempted to mitigate the damage by slashing interest rates and boosting lending to financial institutions, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be pain ahead. BMO Capital Markets, for one, predicts Canada’s gross domestic product will drop by 1.3% this year, driving unemployment up to nearly 8% from 6.3%.