November 16, 1999 The Canadian corporate bond market has experienced a renaissance, in recent years, against a background of low inflation, reduced public borrowing, and the lowest levels of long-term interest rates in a generation. The authors examine the influences shaping the market and also compare the Canadian market with those of other countries. The increased level of activity in the market has been accompanied by the development of new products and by greater investor interest in instruments with higher returns and higher credit risk. A more dynamic Canadian corporate bond market is a welcome development since it offers borrowers an alternative source of funds, especially companies that have typically relied on the banking system and on the U.S. corporate bond market for financings involving higher levels of credit risk.
November 15, 1999 In this article, the author reviews the factors behind the recent evolution of liquidity in the market for Government of Canada (GoC) securities. He finds that liquidity has been supported by changes in the structure of the market, notably the introduction and increasing size of benchmark bond issues. He also notes that while the GoC bond market has generally benefited from changes in market structure, liquidity in the treasury bill market has decreased since the mid-1990s, largely because of the declining supply of these securities. This article also presents some comparisons of liquidity in the government securities markets of other industrialized countries and finds that liquidity in the Canadian market appears to compare favourably with all but the large U.S. Treasury market.
November 14, 1999 In this article, the authors explain the methodology used to construct real exchange rate (RER) indexes. They also compare and assess various Canadian RER indexes from both an empirical and conceptual standpoint. The authors conclude that both theory and empirical evidence suggest that the best RER indexes are those based on unit labour costs. They note, however, that, for practical reasons, policy-makers should also consider RER indexes based on prices when formulating monetary policy.