Freedman and Engert focus on the changing pattern of lending and borrowing in Canada in the past thirty to forty years, including the types of financial instruments used and the relative roles of financial institutions and financial markets. They examine how borrowing mechanisms have changed over time and consider the challenges facing the Canadian financial sector, including whether our financial markets are in danger of disappearing because of the size and pre-eminence of U.S. financial markets.
Some of the trends examined here include syndicated lending, securitization, and credit derivatives, a form of financial engineering that has become increasingly important in the last few years. They also study bond and equity markets to determine whether Canadian capital markets have been hollowed out or abandoned by Canadian firms and conclude that the data do not provide much support for that view.Topics: Financial Institutions; Financial markets; Financial services; Recent economic and financial developments
Financial market expectations regarding future changes in the target for the overnight rate of interest are an important source of information for the Bank of Canada. Financial markets are the mechanism through which the policy rate affects other financial variables, such as longer-term interest rates, the exchange rate, and other asset prices. An accurate measure of their expectations can therefore help policy-makers assess the potential impact of contemplated changes.
Johnson focuses on the expectations hypothesis, which measures expectations of future levels of the target overnight rate as implied by current money market yields. Although expectations can be derived from the current yield on any short-term fixed-income asset, some assets have proven to be more accurate predictors than others. The implementation of a policy of fixed-announcements dates has coincided with the increased predictive power of these short-term assets. As a result of this improvement, a relatively simple model of the yield curve can now provide an accurate measure of financial market expectations.Topics: Exchange rates; Financial markets; Interest rates
Explanations of changes in asset prices as being due to exogenous changes in risk appetite, although arguably controversial, have been popular in the financial community and have also received some attention in attempts to account for recent financial crises. Operational versions of these explanations are based on the assumption that changes in asset prices can be decomposed into a part that can be attributed to changes in riskiness and a part attributable to changes in risk aversion, and that some quantitative measure can capture these effects in isolation.Topics: Economic models; Financial markets