• November 24, 2004

    Asset Prices and Monetary Policy: A Canadian Perspective on the Issues

    The issue addressed in this article is the extent to which monetary policy in Canada should respond to asset-price bubbles. The article concludes that maintaining low and stable consumer price inflation is the best contribution that monetary policy can make to promoting economic and financial stability, even when the economy experiences asset-price bubbles. In extreme circumstances—when an asset-price bubble is well identified and likely to have significant costs to the economy when it bursts—monetary policy might better maintain low and stable consumer price inflation by leaning against a particular bubble even though it may mean that inflation deviates temporarily from its target. Such a strategy might reduce the risk that a crash in asset prices could lead to a recession and to inflation markedly below target in the longer run. The circumstances where this strategy is possible will be rare because economists are far from being able to determine consistently and reliably when leaning against a particular bubble is likely to do more harm than good. Housing-price bubbles should be a greater concern for Canadian monetary policy than equity-price bubbles, since rising housing prices are more likely to reflect excessively easy domestic credit conditions than are equity prices, which are largely determined in global markets.
  • November 24, 2004

    Bank of Canada Review - Autumn 2004

    BoC Review - Autumn 2004

    Cover page

    Bus Transportation Tokens and Tickets

    The pieces illustrated on the cover range in size from 12 mm to 38 mm in diameter or width. They form part of the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada.

    Photography by Gord Carter, Ottawa

  • November 23, 2004

    Real Return Bonds: Monetary Policy Credibility and Short-Term Inflation Forecasting

    The break-even inflation rate (BEIR) is calculated by comparing the yields on conventional and Real Return Bonds. Defined as the average rate of inflation that equates the expected returns on these two bonds, the BEIR has the potential to contain useful information about long-run inflation expectations. Yet the BEIR has been higher, on average, and more variable than survey measures of inflation expectations, which may be explained by the effects of premiums and distortions embedded in the BEIR. Because of the difficulty in accounting for these distortions, the BEIR should not be given a large weight as a measure of long-run inflation expectations at this time. However, as the Real Return Bond market continues to develop, the BEIR should become a more useful indicator of inflation expectations. At present, it demonstrates no clear advantage over survey measures and even past inflation rates in forecasting near-term inflation.
  • November 22, 2004

    The Evolving Financial System and Public Policy: Conference Highlights and Lessons

    At the 12th annual Bank of Canada economic conference, held in Ottawa on 4 and 5 December 2003, representatives from various public and private organizations and Bank of Canada staff discussed papers presented on three key issues affecting the financial system: financial contagion, the implications of bank diversification, and financial sector regulation. Papers on financial contagion studied the effect of globalization on Canadian foreign-asset exposures, developed a general-equilibrium model of a competitive interfirm lending market in which firms can borrow or lend, and used market-based indicators to determine the probability that contagion can be generated by interbank exposures. The papers on bank diversification focused on the links between the changing behaviour of financial institutions and risk-return trade-offs. Issues of financial sector regulation included the relationship between governance and financial sector soundness, the theoretical basis of bank regulations for capital requirements, and the implications of bank capital requirements for the transmission of monetary policy. A panel discussion provided extended discussion of the conference papers.
  • November 21, 2004

    Summary of the G-20 Workshop on Developing Strong Domestic Financial Markets, 26-27 April 2004

    G-20 representatives, academics, market participants, and members of international financial institutions were brought together in Ottawa to explore the connection between robust financial markets and economic growth and development, share experiences, and to develop policy recommendations, where possible. Participants identified several areas they deemed critical for fostering strong domestic financial markets and reducing external vulnerability: sound macroeconomics policies, strengthened financial infrastructures and banking systems, and exchange rate flexibility for countries with widely open capital accounts. Papers presented in the six sessions and keynote address highlighted a number of issues, including currency mismatches, the sequence of financial liberalization and supervisory reforms, the development of local financial markets, infrastructure building and governance, and appropriate incentives.
  • November 20, 2004

    Monetary Policy and Uncertainty

    Remarks by David Longworth, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada to the Canadian Association for Business Economics


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