Inflation and prices

  • December 11, 1996

    The impact of exchange rate movements on consumer prices

    In the first, mostly theoretical, part of this article, the author analyses the factors that affect the pass-through of exchange rate movements to consumer prices. In the second part, she studies the recent Canadian experience in this area, starting from 1992. The analysis in the first part of the article is used to investigate why the depreciation of the Canadian dollar by almost 20 per cent between 1992 and 1994 did not produce as much of an increase in the inflation rate as predicted by conventional estimates of the exchange rate pass-through. The author first explains this phenomenon using the factors described in the theoretical part of the article: demand conditions, the costs of adjusting prices, and expectations about the depreciation's duration. She then examines the role of more specific factors, such as the abolition of customs duties on trade between Canada and the United States and the restructuring of the retail market. It is clear that the latter two factors helped neutralize the effect of the depreciation on prices.
  • August 11, 1996

    Real short-term interest rates and expected inflation: Measurement and interpretation

    This article compares different measures of real short-term interest rates for Canada over the period from 1956 to 1995. A new measure for the expected real interest rate is constructed using a proxy for inflation expectations that is based on the properties of past inflation. The history of inflation in Canada suggests that the characteristics of inflation have changed considerably over time. Past inflation can be characterized by three different types of behaviour: an environment in which average inflation is low and shocks to inflation have only temporary effects; an environment of moderate inflation with more persistent disturbances; and an environment of drifting inflation in which shocks have permanent effects on the level of inflation. The proxy for inflation expectations uses a statistical model, called a Markov Switching Model, to take account of changes in the behaviour of inflation over time. It is found that uncertainty about the changing characteristics of inflation behaviour leads to uncertainty about estimates of inflation expectations and thus about measures of real interest rates. Target ranges for keeping inflation low should help reduce the uncertainty about inflation behaviour. The behaviour of inflation and interest rates suggests that the credibility of the Bank of Canada's inflation-control objectives is growing. This should reduce inflation uncertainty and lead to lower nominal interest rates over time.
  • Does Inflation Uncertainty Vary with the Level of Inflation?

    Staff Working Paper 1996-9 Allan Crawford, Marcel Kasumovich
    The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that inflation uncertainty increases at higher levels of inflation. Our analysis is based on the generalized autoregressive conditional heteroscedasticity (GARCH) class of models, which allow the conditional variance of the error term to be time-varying. Since this variance is a proxy for inflation uncertainty, a positive relationship between the conditional variance and inflation would be interpreted as evidence that inflation uncertainty increases with the level of inflation.

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