The combination of rising current account surpluses in Asia and a growing current account deficit in the United States has raised concerns that the resulting imbalances pose a threat to the world economy, especially if they are reversed in a disorderly manner. Some experts believe that normal market forces will resolve these imbalances over time; others argue that policy-makers should facilitate the adjustment with policies that curb domestic demand in deficit countries and stimulate it in surplus countries. Little and Lafrance provide a guide to the major issues and controversies involved in the debate.
The Bank of Canada's 2005 conference focused on two critical issues: price-level targets versus inflation targets, and the appropriate level of inflation. Session topics included new methodological approaches to examining the validity of the New Keynesian Phillips curve for Canada; the monetary policy implications of border effects and the financial-accelerator model; the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates; and inflation and welfare in general-equilibrium macroeconomic models. A panel of invited speakers discussed the issues of each session, and two distinguished speakers gave their perspectives on inflation.
While the volume and value of bank notes have continued to increase, the use of cash as a payment method has been affected by the growing use of electronic alternatives. Taylor reports on a 2004 Bank of Canada survey of consumers' payment habits and their perceptions of cash and its alternatives, including their confidence in the security of bank notes. Analysis of the survey results shows that numerous factors affect the demand for bank notes, including income, age, education, gender, the use of debit and credit cards, and the perceived convenience of cash. Taylor also includes a report on the construction of a bank note confidence index that will serve as a benchmark for future surveys.
This overview includes a brief history highlighting the government's use of the primary and secondary markets to develop a framework for distributing its debt securities to financial market intermediaries and end investors. The framework is also intended to meet the government's debt-strategy objectives of raising stable, low-cost funding and maintaining a well-functioning debt market. Pellerin reviews the government's adoption of a new framework in 1998 as well as the 2005 modifications aimed at attracting continued broad and competitive participation in government auctions.