An objective assessment of the effects of the appreciation of the Canadian dollar in 2003 and 2004 on exports and imports requires a detailed review of the numerous other factors which may have been at play. Dion, Laurence, and Zheng discuss the influences that have affected Canada's international trade over the past two years, including exchange rate movements, global and sector-specific shocks, constraints on the domestic supply of a few products, and competition from emerging economies, most notably, China. The analysis is complemented with econometric models developed at the Bank which provide statistically valid estimates of the contribution of the Canadian-dollar appreciation to the recent developments in exports and imports.
To track how firms were affected by the appreciation of the Canadian dollar in 2003 and 2004 and the steps they took in response, the Bank included supplementary questions in the quarterly Business Outlook Survey conducted by its regional offices. About half of the firms surveyed reported being adversely affected, one-quarter experienced a favourable impact, and the remainder reported no effect. Jean Mair classifies and summarizes the firms' responses, identifying the sectors that were most and least affected. Causes of the impacts are identified, as well as the actions firms took as a result of the appreciation. The article looks at these actions over time to see what they tell us about firms' adjustment process.
Understanding what causes the exchange rate to move has been on ongoing challenge for economists. Despite extensive research, traditional macro models of exchange rate determination—with the exception of the Bank of Canada's exchange rate equation—have typically not fared well, motivating economists to explore new ways to model exchange rate movements that incorporate more complex and realistic settings. Within the context of the sharp appreciation of the Canadian dollar in 2003 and 2004, Bailliu and King review the macroeconomic models of exchange rates, as well as the micro-structure studies that highlight the importance of trading mechanisms, information asymmetry, and investor heterogeneity for explaining short-term dynamics in exchange rates. In addition to summarizing the current state of knowledge, they highlight recent advances and identify promising alternative approaches.
An essential element of the Bank of Canada's inflation-targeting framework is a floating exchange rate that is free to adjust in response to shocks that affect the Canadian and world economies. This floating rate plays an important role in the transmission mechanism for monetary policy. A practical question is how the Bank of Canada incorporates currency movements into the monetary policy decision-making process. Only after determining the cause and persistence of exchange rate change, and its likely net effect on aggregate demand, can the Bank decide on the appropriate policy response to keep inflation low, stable, and predictable. Ragan reviews the need to target inflation and the transmission mechanism for monetary policy, including the role of the exchange rate, before describing two types of exchange rate movements and their implications for monetary policy.