The FSR reports on developments and trends in financial systems here and abroad, summarizes recent research by Bank staff on financial sector policies, and promotes discussion of how to strengthen our financial system. In short, the goal of the FSR is to improve financial system efficiency and stability.
The hedge fund industry has been growing so quickly that meetings like this one are welcome—they provide a chance to step back and look at context and trends. And that's what I propose to do this morning. Specifically, I'd like to speak about volatility in both the real economy and in financial markets and discuss how it has been affected by monetary policy and financial innovation.
As major producers of commodities, both Canada and Australia rely heavily on international trade for our economic expansion, and we each rely extensively on global capital markets. So, what I would like to talk about first is how we see the global and Canadian economies unfolding and what we might expect to see in the future. Following that, I'll also talk about some of the policies that can best help countries like ours to deal with the challenges of today's global economy, looking at this from both a domestic and an international perspective.
Things have changed somewhat since then. While global economic growth is expected to be a little higher than anticipated last spring, a weaker near-term outlook for the U.S. economy has curbed the near-term prospects for Canadian exports and growth.
How can we develop human capital to its fullest potential, and retain that capital? How can we foster research, innovation, and commercialization in this province? How can we improve Ontario's competitiveness in the global marketplace?
In our latest Monetary Policy Report, which we released this morning, we judge that the Canadian economy is currently operating just above capacity. While global economic growth is expected to be a little higher than previously anticipated, a weaker near-term outlook for the U.S. economy has curbed the near-term prospects for Canadian exports and growth.
The Canadian economy is judged to be operating just above its production capacity. While global economic growth is expected to be a little higher than previously anticipated, a weaker near-term outlook for the U.S. economy has curbed the near-term prospects for Canadian exports and growth.
First, I should explain what I mean by flexibility. As most of you are surely aware, the Bank of Canada has been openly discussing the importance of promoting policies that support economic efficiency, including financial system efficiency. Efficiency refers to the allocation of scarce economic resources to the most productive uses, in a cost-effective way.
The Bank of Canada is keenly interested in productivity—for a number of reasons. Productivity gains are a key determinant of growth in potential output and, hence, of Canada's sustainable pace of non-inflationary economic expansion.
Canada and Brazil both rely on international trade and foreign investment for economic growth, and both are major producers of commodities. Because we share these attributes, we also share a keen interest in the health of the global economy.
Canada and Chile both rely heavily on international trade and foreign investment for economic growth, and are both major producers of commodities. Because we share these attributes, we also share a keen interest in the health of the global economy.
Overall, the Bank's outlook for growth and inflation in Canada is largely unchanged from that in its April Monetary Policy Report (MPR). Growth in the first half of 2006 appears to have been a little stronger than projected, and the Canadian dollar has traded in a higher range than was envisaged in the April MPR.
As Canada's central bank, we are committed to conduct monetary policy in a way that fosters confidence in the value of money. This is our primary responsibility. But the Bank has a number of other functions that are very important to economic life in Canada. We promote the safety and soundness of the financial system.
Since the start of the millennium, developments in the global economy have led to important changes throughout the Canadian economy and to serious challenges for many sectors and regions. Because nobody can anticipate precisely how the world will unfold, the best we can do is to ensure that our economy is as flexible as possible.
The two key components of the Bank's monetary policy framework are an "anchor," the inflation target, and a "float," the flexible exchange rate. Living by the ocean, you know better than I that a good mooring is one that keeps a boat in place, yet allows some give and take for the wind and the tide.
The Bank of Canada Act calls on us to "mitigate … fluctuations in the general level of production, trade, prices and employment, so far as may be possible within the scope of monetary action, and generally to promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada." Over time, it has become clear that the best way for us to fulfill this mandate is to keep inflation low, stable, and predictable.
Many analysts have examined the relationship between the financial system and economic development. They have uncovered some interesting facts regarding the characteristics of the financial system—characteristics that contribute to the best possible allocation of savings to productive investments, which are themselves engines of economic growth.
Total and core inflation were projected to average close to 2 per cent, beginning in the second half of this year. This projection assumed oil prices at roughly US$64 per barrel, a level then indicated by futures prices. Our projection also assumed stable commodity prices, government spending that was growing roughly in line with revenues, and a Canadian dollar continuing to trade in a range of 85 to 87 cents U.S.
The Canadian economy continues to grow at a solid pace, supported by robust global growth, firm commodity prices, and strong domestic demand. At the same time, global competition and the past appreciation of the Canadian dollar continue to pose challenges for a number of sectors.
The ultimate goal of Canadian monetary policy is to help our economy achieve its maximum sustainable growth, and thus contribute to rising living standards for Canadians. The best way to achieve this goal, we've learned from experience, is to keep inflation low, stable, and predictable.
The world needs an international institution to promote a new monetary order—a well-functioning, market-based global financial system. This will be the subject of my remarks today.
These imbalances reflect the financial flows associated with mismatches in savings and investment on a global scale. Since the late 1990s, many economies outside the United States have increased their net national savings.
As economies have become more interconnected through trade and financial flows in a truly global marketplace, economic developments in one location can quickly have repercussions on the other side of the globe. In 1997, what began as a currency devaluation in Thailand became a crisis with repercussions not just in Asia, but in countries as far away as Russia, Brazil, and Canada.
Canada and Barbados may not have much in common in terms of climate, but we both have very open economies. So we both rely on good economic performance globally for good performance domestically.
World economic growth has been remarkably strong over the past three years, averaging close to 4 1/4 per cent, and it is expected to stay around 4 per cent this year and next.
The Canadian and world economies are evolving essentially in line with the Bank's expectations, and the outlook for growth and inflation in Canada is similar to that in the October MPR. Canada's economy continues to adjust to global developments and to the associated changes in relative prices.
The constant economic change that we've been experiencing makes it critical for the central bank to stand on a firm foundation as it works to enhance the country's economic strength. The Bank of Canada's monetary policy framework is such a foundation.