November 18, 2001 While the Bank of Canada's inflation-control target is specified in terms of the rate of increase in the total consumer price index, the Bank uses a measure of trend or "core" inflation as a short-term guide for its monetary policy actions. When the inflation targets were renewed in May 2001, the Bank announced that it was adopting a new measure of core inflation. This measure excludes the eight most volatile components of the CPI and adjusts the remaining components for the effect of changes in indirect taxes. In this article, the author discusses the definition of the new measure of core inflation and describes some of its advantages relative to the previous measure. He notes that the new measure has a firmer statistical basis, has a better correspondence with economic theory, and does a better job of predicting future changes in overall inflation. While the new measure has these advantages, the Bank will continue to monitor a broad range of indicators when assessing the likely future path for inflation.
November 17, 2001 Uncertainty about the level of future inflation adversely affects the economy because it distorts the savings and investment decisions of households and businesses. Since these decisions typically involve planning horizons of many years, the adverse effects from inflation uncertainty can be reduced by adopting a policy framework that makes future inflation more predictable over long time horizons. When the inflation-control target was renewed in May 2001, the agreement affirmed that monetary policy will be directed at moving inflation to the 2 per cent midpoint of the target range over a six-to-eight-quarter horizon. The author describes how this policy commitment increases the predictability of average inflation over periods longer than one year. This relationship is illustrated using the Canadian experience from the inflation-targeting period.