Canadian business owners’ confidence in the state of the economy and their business prospects dropped slightly compared to the latter half of 2013, but it’s still up from a year ago, finds the semi-annual BMO Small Business Confidence Report.

The BMO Small Business Confidence Report index is at 65 out of 100—down slightly from last fall’s 70 out of 100, but up from 59 out of 100 a year ago.

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The report shows an upturn in confidence between the spring and fall of 2013, likely reflecting the weaker Canadian dollar, stronger U.S. economy and solid GDP growth in the second half of last year.

While the confidence score has dropped slightly over the past six months, the majority of business owners across the country share a positive outlook for the year ahead, with those in British Columbia and Alberta recording the highest scores.

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“With the U.S. economy experiencing an uptick, Canadian companies could benefit from looking beyond traditional markets to find new buyers for their products and grow their business,” says Steve Murphy, head, Canadian commercial banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “With impressive growth continuing in emerging economies – such as China, India, Brazil and south of the Canadian border – it’s important for business owners to tap into these markets as they represent another avenue for business success.”

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