November 13, 2014 In Canada, about one-third of publicly listed non-financial firms use financial derivatives. The use of derivatives is widespread across all sectors of the economy and increases during periods of greater uncertainty. Non-financial firms that use derivatives are typically larger and more profitable and have lower volatility of earnings than those that do not use derivatives. Overall, the firm characteristics of Canadian hedgers seem to be consistent with those found in other jurisdictions.
November 15, 2012
The financial crisis of 2007-09 and the subsequent extended period of historically low real interest rates have revived the question of whether economic agents are willing to take on more risk when interest rates remain low for a prolonged time period. This increased appetite for risk, which causes economic agents to search for investment assets and strategies that generate higher investment returns, has been called the risk-taking channel of monetary policy. Recent academic research on banks suggests that lending policies in times of low interest rates can be consistent with the existence of a risk-taking channel of monetary policy in Europe, South America, the United States and Canada. Specifically, studies find that the terms of loans to risky borrowers become less stringent in periods of low interest rates. This risk-taking channel may amplify the effects of traditional transmission mechanisms, resulting in the creation of excessive credit.
September 11, 2009 Recent evidence finds a positive association between the prevalence of loans of inferior quality and the growth in securitized products. Some attribute this development to the lack of incentives for originators to screen and monitor the performance of securitized loans; others stress that certain factors, such as balance-sheet management, also contributed to the problem, making it difficult to pin down the reason for the proliferation of such loans during the period of high securitization growth. The author reviews the conflicts of interest between participants in the securitization process that contributed to the ongoing financial turmoil and highlights the most recent policy measures and potential solutions for ameliorating these agency issues.