Bank of Canada Review Article

  • December 10, 1995

    Developments in trusteed pension funds

    Trusteed pension funds are one of the most important sources of retirement income for Canadians. They have also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Canadian financial market. Trusteed pension funds play an important role in capital markets, channelling billions of dollars of their members' contributions into investments in financial and real assets. This article presents an overview of the trusteed pension funds sector. It provides a context for this overview by briefly presenting other sources of retirement income in Canada. It then examines the sources of the sector's rapid growth, including regulatory developments that have affected it, namely the increase in allowable foreign content and the adoption of the prudent person rule. Finally, it looks at the evolution of the sector's asset mix and how the sector interacts with capital markets.
  • December 9, 1995

    Survey of the Canadian foreign exchange and derivatives markets

    Since 1983, the Bank of Canada has conducted a triennial survey of foreign exchange market activity in Canada. The latest survey was done in April 1995 and covered activity in both the foreign exchange market and in the derivatives markets. The central banks of most other industrialized countries with active foreign exchange and derivatives markets also conducted similar surveys. This was the first time that markets for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives were surveyed by central banks in a systematic and comprehensive fashion. The average daily turnover in the Canadian foreign exchange market, including foreign exchange derivatives, has continued to grow rapidly (by approximately 36 per cent to about U.S.$30 billion) since the last survey, although at a slower pace than during the 1980s. Foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives contracts dominate derivatives market activity, with equity and commodity derivatives activity being almost negligible in comparison. Through April 1995, daily turnover volume in Canadian foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives markets averaged about U.S.$19 billion and U.S.$15 billion, respectively, mostly in forward and swap transactions.
  • November 10, 1995

    The Government of Canada bond market since 1980

    This article focusses on a key component of the federal government's debt-management program, Government of Canada marketable bonds. It first provides a broad overview of the characteristics of these bonds and then discusses the workings of the domestic market, from the formulation of a debt-management strategy to the primary issuance of the bonds, the delivery and payment process, and transactions in the secondary market. Recent developments that have enhanced the overall efficiency of the market are also examined. This article is part of a series that describes and analyses features of the Canadian financial sector.
  • November 9, 1995

    The effect of foreign demand shocks on the Canadian economy: An analysis using QPM

    Historically, rapid and unsustainable increases in the demand for goods and services originating within the economies of Canada's major trading partners have had a significant impact on the domestic economy. These episodes are typically characterized by increases in world commodity prices and by a tightening of monetary conditions abroad to contain inflationary pressures. In this article, the author uses the Bank's quarterly projection model (QPM) (described in the autumn 1994 issue of the Review) to trace the mechanisms that transmit these foreign developments throughout the Canadian economy. In addition, he outlines the response that is required from domestic monetary authorities to maintain a target rate of inflation.
  • November 8, 1995

    The role of monetary conditions and the monetary conditions index in the conduct of policy

    In these excerpts from a presentation to a conference in Toronto, Deputy Governor Charles Freedman analyses the way in which the monetary conditions index (MCI) enters into the Bank's thinking and actions. He describes how the Bank works in the context of a forward-looking assessment of economic developments and inflationary pressures to decide upon a desired path for the MCI that will result in a rate of inflation, six to eight quarters ahead, that is within the Bank's target band. Mr. Freedman also uses specific examples to explain how various shocks to the economy can change the Bank's desired path for monetary conditions. He describes the role that tactical considerations relating to market circumstances play regarding the timing of Bank actions to bring monetary conditions onto the desired path and emphasizes the need to give precedence to steadying nervous markets.
  • August 10, 1995

    Aspects of economic restructuring in Canada, 1989-1994

    The way in which Canadian firms produce goods and services has changed dramatically during the 1990s. A major feature of this restructuring has been a shift towards greater use of capital goods, particularly computer-based technology, relative to labour in production processes. The author examines this phenomenon from a macroeconomic perspective, identifying the principal factors behind the trends in investment and employment since the late 1980s. The analysis focusses on the relative costs of capital and labour over the period and on their implications for output and employment.
  • August 9, 1995

    Uncertainty and the transmission of monetary policy in Canada (HERMES-Glendon Lecture)

    Gordon Thiessen, Governor of the Bank of Canada, delivered the HERMES-Glendon Lecture at York University, Toronto, in March 1995. The speech focussed on the interrelationships of uncertainty and the transmission of monetary policy to the economy. It looked at how the various types of uncertainty influence the behaviour of economic actors, and at how uncertainty affects the transmission of monetary policy through the economy. The first part of the lecture outlines the Bank of Canada's view of the transmission mechanism, with considerable attention paid to the role of uncertainty. In the second part, the various ways in which the Bank has tried to reduce uncertainty are discussed. The various kinds of uncertainty that impinge on the economy and on the policy process are addressed.
  • May 9, 1995

    Interpreting recent changes in monetary aggregates

    In 1994, broad monetary aggregates such as M2+ grew at an unusually slow rate, indicating a continuation of low inflation. Narrow money, M1, ballooned early in the year, partly for technical reasons. However, its overall deceleration for the year as a whole would be consistent with lower output growth in the first half of 1995 than was seen the year before. During the first half of 1994, there was a continued shift by investors from deposits into equity, bond and mortgage mutual funds. In the second half of the year, following a rise in interest rates and a fall in the yields posted by mutual funds, there was a movement back into M2+. In this annual review of the monetary aggregates, the author discusses the reasons for these shifts and their implications for M2+.
  • May 8, 1995

    Exchange rate fundamentals and the Canadian dollar

    Views in the economic literature on the main factors that influence exchange rates have evolved over time in response to economic developments and new trends in economic theory. This article provides a brief interpretative survey of the main theories of exchange rate determination. The factors that influence exchange rate developments are varied and complex. However, the authors show that the broad movements of the Canada-U.S. real exchange rate since the early 1970s can be captured by a simple equation that highlights the role of commodity prices and Canada-U.S. interest rate differentials. The equation is used to interpret the evolution of the real exchange rate over the last two decades. At times, the real exchange rate deviates significantly from what the equation would predict. One explanation is that the equation omits certain factors that can influence the exchange rate, particularly in the short run. These may include fiscal policy variables, international indebtedness, political uncertainty, and investor sentiments—factors that are difficult to quantify but that have been particularly relevant in recent years.
  • May 7, 1995

    Disinflation in the 1990s: The experience of the industrialized world

    Canada has not been alone in making substantial progress towards price stability. Average inflation in the industrialized countries fell markedly in the first half of the 1990s, the third such episode of broad-based disinflation in the last 20 years. By the latter part of 1994, inflation in many countries had fallen to rates that had not been sustained since the early 1960s, generally converging to within a range of 1 to 3 per cent. Despite the decline in inflation to similar low levels, there were a number of interesting developments across the industrialized countries. For example, the pace of disinflation slowed noticeably after 1992 despite continued weak demand conditions. Inflation in countries that experienced a sharp depreciation in their exchange rates in the first half of the 1990s was, on average, no higher than elsewhere. The author identifies various factors affecting inflation outcomes in the industrialized countries. These include special factors, such as changes to indirect taxes, as well as more fundamental determinants of inflation, including the degree of economic slack. The presence of these factors, and perhaps the way in which inflation responded to them, varied across countries. One common element, however, was an increased commitment by monetary authorities across the industrialized economies to the goal of achieving and maintaining price stability.

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