November 23, 2004 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.
According to the Fisher hypothesis, the gap between Canadian nominal and Real Return Bond yields (or break-even inflation rate) should be a good measure of inflation expectations.