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BMO: Potential of a U.S. Recession Number One Concern Among Canadian Investors

- Vast majority of Canadian investors are proud of the way Canada's economy has performed relative to those of global peers

- Possibility of a U.S. recession identified as the number one potential threat to Canadian prosperity

- Other areas of concern include ongoing problems in the Eurozone, slowing growth in China and India and tensions in the Middle East



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 12, 2012) - Canadians have tremendous pride in and optimism for Canada's strong economic performance and financial outlook. However a BMO Harris Private Banking study found that many are anxious about how the rest of the world's financial challenges could affect their portfolios as they approach the second half of 2012.

According to the study, almost three-quarters of Canadians (72 per cent) are worried that global economic troubles may impact Canada's relative prosperity:

  • Forty-one per cent of Canadians believe that the possibility of the United States slipping into another recession represents the number one threat to Canada's economy

  • Close to one-quarter of Canadians (23 per cent) feel uneasy about the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone

  • Eight per cent of Canadians are concerned about slowing growth in China and India

  • Seven per cent worry about how tensions in the Middle East may affect Canada's financial markets

"Though the most recent recession is a few years behind us, the tentative economic recovery in the United States still troubles Canadian investors," said Paul Taylor, Chief Investment Officer, Fundamental Equities, BMO Asset Management Inc. and investment strategist for BMO Harris Private Banking. "Those concerns are warranted, because Canada is the United States' largest trading partner and it's only natural that we will be affected by what happens south of the border."

Mr. Taylor noted that the annual value of Canada's bilateral goods and services trade with the United States is approximately $600 billion; also, the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment abroad. In 2009, American direct investment in Canada was close to $288.3 billion, while Canadian direct-investment holdings in the U.S. reached $261.3 billion.*

Other key findings from the study include:

  • The majority of Canadians (83 per cent) are proud of Canada's overall economic performance relative to the economies of the United States, Europe and other parts of the world

  • Three-quarters (74 per cent) are optimistic about Canadian financial markets

  • Half of Canadians anticipate that their current investments will grow in value over the next year

"Canada's economy remains strong compared to those of our global peers," said Mr. Taylor. "But while American equity markets have performed fairly well recently, there have been some mixed economic signals coming out of the U.S. over the last year. When combined with the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone and other trouble spots around the world, the time is right for Canadian investors to ensure they balance risk in their portfolios and avoid being overweighed in one specific geography."

The online survey was conducted by Pollara with a sample of 1,000 adults, between June 14 and June 18.

For more information, please visit http://www.bmo.com/harrisprivatebanking.

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*Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Media contacts:
Amanda Robinson, Toronto
416-867-3996
amanda.robinson@bmo.com

Ronald Monet, Montreal
514-877-1873
ronald.monet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
604-665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com