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  • November 14, 1997

    European economic and monetary union: Background and implications

    The European Union, which currently consists of 15 states, occupies an important place among the advanced economies. The final stage of the European economic and monetary union (EMU) is scheduled to begin in January 1999 with the adoption of a common currency called the "euro." A decision on which countries will participate in the euro area in 1999 will be made next spring based in part on the achievement of the economic criteria laid out in the Maastricht Treaty. In this article, the authors, after a brief discussion of the historical background, cast some light on the institutional aspects of the EMU, on the formulation and implementation of economic policy, as well as on the internal and external effects of EMU completion. For Canada, the direct implications of the shift to the euro appear to be relatively modest, at least in the short run.
  • November 13, 1997

    Statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation

    As a guide for the conduct of monetary policy, most central banks make use of a trend inflation index similar to that employed by the Bank of Canada: the CPI excluding food, energy, and the effect of indirect taxes. In addition to their basic reference index, some central banks regularly publish statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation. The method used for producing these measures is, for the most part, based on the hypothesis that extreme price fluctuations generally reflect temporary shocks to the inflation rate, rather than its underlying trend. In this paper, the author offers a broad survey of studies on the measurement of trend inflation that have been published by the Bank of Canada and presents the results of the most recent work on the subject. Particular attention is paid to two statistical measures that the Bank follows more closely than other measures; namely, the CPIX, a price index that excludes eight of the most volatile CPI components, and CPIW, a measure that retains all the components of the overall index but gives a lower weighting to the most volatile.
  • November 12, 1997

    Clearing and settlement systems and the Bank of Canada

    Clearing and settlement systems are essential to the smooth functioning of a modern market-based economy such as Canada's. During the past decade, there have been significant efforts in Canada and abroad to improve electronic clearing and settlement systems that handle payments obligations, either uniquely or in conjunction with transactions related to the purchase and sale of a broad range of financial instruments such as debt, equity, foreign exchange, or derivatives. This article examines some of the risks faced by participants and end-users of these systems and reviews the Bank of Canada's role in relation to these systems. For a number of years, the Bank has been involved informally with major clearing and settlement systems with a view to ensuring that systemic risk is adequately controlled. In July 1996, the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act was proclaimed. This Act formalized the role of the Bank in the oversight of clearing and settlement systems for the purpose of controlling systemic risk. The article provides an overview of the Bank's responsibilities. It also describes certain new powers that the Act made available to the Bank that could be exercised in its dealings with clearing and settlement systems.
  • Modelling the Behaviour of U.S. Inventories: A Cointegration-Euler Approach

    Staff Working Paper 1997-19 Iris Claus
    Cyclical contractions are often referred to as inventory cycles, in part because movements in inventories can amplify cyclical fluctuations in output. An unanticipated slowing in demand generally leads to an unintended buildup of inventories: only with a lag do firms adjust production and their actual holding of inventories relative to the desired level.
    Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): International topics JEL Code(s): E, E2, E22
  • October 7, 1997

    Challenges ahead for monetary policy

    Remarks Gordon Thiessen Vancouver Board of Trade Vancouver, British Columbia
    Today, I would like to talk about some of the important issues and challenges facing monetary policy in the period ahead and how the Bank of Canada proposes to deal with them. This is not an unusual topic for me since the business of central banking is seldom without challenges. But what a difference the past two years have made to the challenges we face!
  • September 16, 1997

    The recent economic record in Canada and the challenges ahead for monetary policy

    Remarks Gordon Thiessen New England-Canadian Business Council Boston, Massachusetts
    It has been a little over two years since my last public speech to an audience in the United States. During this time, a lot has happened in terms of economic developments in our two countries. One thing that continues to impress me is the remarkable performance of the U.S. economy, which has achieved six years of steady economic expansion, with high rates of job creation and low inflation.