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  • August 14, 1999

    Passive Money, Active Money, and Monetary Policy

    This article by the Bank's visiting economist examines the role of money in the transmission of monetary policy. Professor Laidler argues against the view of money as a passive variable that reacts to changes in prices, output, and interest rates but has no direct causative effect on them. He maintains that the empirical evidence supports the view of money playing an active role in the transmission mechanism. While he agrees that individual monetary aggregates can be difficult to read because of instabilities in the demand-for-money function, he argues that monetary aggregates, particularly those relating to transactions money, should have a more significant place in the hierarchy of policy variables that the Bank considers when formulating monetary policy.
  • August 13, 1999

    Recent Initiatives in the Canadian Market for Government of Canada Securities

    The initiatives reviewed by the author were undertaken to ensure a liquid and well-functioning market for Government of Canada securities in light of the significant shift in the government's financial position. They include changes made in 1998 by the Bank of Canada and the government to the rules governing auctions and to the Bank's surveillance of the auction process, changes to the treasury bill and bond programs, and implementation of a pilot buyback program for Government of Canada marketable bonds. In addition, the Investment Dealers Association of Canada adopted a code of conduct for the secondary market. These initiatives were well received by the market and appear to have had a positive impact. The Bank and the government are, however, continuing their search for ways to maintain and enhance the efficiency of this market.
  • August 12, 1999

    Recent Developments in Global Commodity Prices: Implications for Canada

    The authors examine the recent evolution of commodity prices. They discuss the factors behind the price declines that occurred between the summer of 1997 and the end of 1998, including the key supply factors and the drop in Asian demand caused by that region's concurrent financial and economic crisis. They then review the effects of the reduction in world commodity prices on economic activity in Canada. They point out that the depreciation of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar, together with the continued strength of the U.S. economy, has partly offset the negative effects on Canadian aggregate demand.
  • August 11, 1999

    Preparations by the Canadian Financial Sector for the Year 2000

    This article outlines the extensive work undertaken by the various participants in Canada's financial sector to ensure "business as usual" heading into January 2000 and beyond. The article looks at preparations in the Bank of Canada's own mission-critical systems and at those of the country's major clearing and settlement systems for which the Bank has oversight responsibility. It also looks at the steps taken by the financial institutions themselves. Contingency planning that takes account of specific year-2000 concerns is also reviewed.
  • May 19, 1999

    Monetary Policy Report - May 1999

    Six months ago, at the time of the last Monetary Policy Report, the global economic and financial environment was volatile and highly uncertain because of the adverse situation in Asia and the fallout from the Russian debt moratorium.
  • May 15, 1999

    Recent developments in the monetary aggregates and their implications

    In its conduct of monetary policy, the Bank of Canada carefully monitors the pace of monetary expansion for indications about the outlook for inflation and economic activity. In recent years, a number of factors have distorted the growth of the traditional broad and narrow aggregates. In this article, the authors discuss the uncertainty surrounding the classification of deposit instruments that has resulted from the elimination of reserve requirements and from other financial innovations. They introduce two new measures of transactions balances, M1+ and M1++ (described more fully in a technical note in this issue of the Review), that internalize some of the substitutions that have occurred. They attribute the deceleration in M1 growth in 1998 partly to the declining influence of special factors, partly to a lagged response to interest rate increases in 1997 and early 1998, and partly to some temporary tightening in credit conditions in the autumn of 1998. The broad monetary aggregate M2++, which includes all personal savings deposits, life insurance annuities, and mutual funds, grew at a steady pace in 1998, presaging growth of about 4 to 5 per cent in total dollar spending and inflation inside the target range.
  • May 14, 1999

    Open outcry and electronic trading in futures exchanges

    Despite the efficiency gains that accompany automation, most large futures exchanges have been reluctant to move away from the traditional trading floor, citing early evidence that open outcry exchanges were more liquid than electronic exchanges. More recent studies, however, suggest that electronic trading is superior to open outcry in many respects, including liquidity. In this article, the author compares the two trading systems. Although many exchanges are shifting towards electronic trading, there are still several obstacles to this transition. But as technology rapidly reduces the cost of automation and increases the demand for global 24-hour trading, a worldwide transition to electronic order-matching will likely be the next important milestone for futures exchanges. Less-automated exchanges (including the Canadian futures exchanges) will undoubtedly continue to study and promote automation in order to keep pace with technological innovations.
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