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  • June 20, 2008

    The Canadian Debt-Strategy Model

    In its role as fiscal agent to the government, the Bank of Canada provides analysis and advice on decisions about the government's domestic debt portfolio. Debt-management decisions depend on assumptions about future interest rates, macroeconomic outcomes, and fiscal policy, yet when a debt-strategy decision is taken, none of these factors can be known with certainty. Moreover, the government has various financing options (i.e., treasury bills, nominal bonds, and inflation-linked bonds) to meet its objectives of minimizing debt-service charges while simultaneously ensuring a prudent risk profile and well-functioning government securities markets. Bank of Canada staff have therefore developed a mathematical model to assist in the decision-making process. This article describes the key aspects of the debt manager's challenge and the principal assumptions incorporated in the debt-strategy model, illustrated with specific results.
  • June 17, 2008

    A Tool for Assessing Financial Vulnerabilities in the Household Sector

    In this article, the authors build on the framework used in the Bank of Canada's Financial System Review to assess the evolution of household indebtedness and financial vulnerabilities in response to changing economic conditions. To achieve this, they first compare two microdata sets generated by Ipsos Reid's Canadian Financial Monitor and Statistics Canada's Survey of Financial Security. They find that the surveys are broadly comparable, despite methodological differences. This enables them to use the combined information content for the identification of the threshold value of the debt-service ratio (DSR). The article then presents an innovative framework that uses household-level microdata to simulate changes in the distribution of the DSR under various stress scenarios. The authors show how this framework can be used by analyzing the effects of two different scenarios on the distribution of the debt-service ratio and the impact on vulnerable households. This tool will enable researchers to refine their analyses of current risks to the financial health of Canadian households. The article concludes with comments on future directions for refining the Bank's analyses of household sector risk.
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