August 16, 2012 An important channel in the transmission of monetary policy is the relationship between the short-term policy rate and long-term interest rates. Using a new term-structure model, the authors show that the variation in long-term interest rates over time consists of two components: one representing investor expectations of future policy rates, and another reflecting a term-structure risk premium that compensates investors for holding a risky asset. The time variation in the term-structure risk premium is countercyclical and largely determined by global macroeconomic conditions. As a result, long-term rates are pushed up during recessions and down during times of expansion. This is an important phenomenon that central banks need to take into account when using short-term rates as a policy tool.
December 18, 2006 The Bank of Canada's interest in fixed-income markets spans several of its functional areas of responsibility, including monetary policy, funds management, and financial system stability and efficiency. For that reason, the 2006 conference brought together top academics and central bankers from around the world to discuss leading-edge work in the field of fixed-income research. The papers and discussions cover such topics as the efficiency of fixed-income markets, price formation, the determinants of the yield curve, and volatility modelling. This article provides a short summary of each conference paper and the ensuing discussion.