Bank of Canada Review Article

  • August 10, 1996

    Inflation expectations and Real Return Bonds

    The existence of a market for Real Return Bonds in Canada provides a direct tool with which to measure market expectations of inflation by comparing the yields on these bonds with those on conventional Government of Canada long-term bonds. However, there are other factors besides inflation expectations that may affect the yield differential. After reviewing these factors, the authors note that they can lead to a potentially large bias in the level of inflation expectations. The changes in the differential over time may, nonetheless, be a good indicator of movements in long-run inflation expectations. Based on this measure, expectations of long-run inflation have declined since late 1994.
  • May 11, 1996

    Recent developments in monetary aggregates and their implications

    In 1995, the broad aggregate M2+ grew at an annual rate of 4.5 per cent—almost twice the rate recorded in 1994—as competition from mutual funds drew less money from personal savings deposits. An adjusted M2+ aggregate, which internalizes the effect of close substitutes such as CSBs and certain mutual funds, grew by only 3.4 per cent. Gross M1 grew by 8.2 per cent during the year, reflecting an increased demand for transactions balances as market interest rates declined and as banks offered more attractive rates of interest on corporate current account balances. The robust growth of gross M1 in the second half of 1995 suggests a moderate expansion of economic activity in the first half of 1996, while moderate growth in the broad aggregates indicates a rate of monetary expansion consistent with continued low inflation. In this annual review of the monetary aggregates, the authors also introduce a new model, based on calculated deviations of M1 from its long-run demand, which suggests that inflation should remain just below the midpoint of the inflation-control target range over the next couple of years.
  • May 10, 1996

    Financing activities of provincial governments and their enterprises

    This article examines the changes that have occurred in the composition of funds raised by provincial borrowers during the 1990s. Higher financing requirements, coupled with the declining availability of funds from non-market sources such as the Canada Pension Plan, led provincial governments and their Crown corporations to broaden and to diversify their debt management programs. In particular, provincial borrowers expanded their presence in foreign bond markets, increased their issuance of floating-rate debt, and incorporated a wide variety of innovative debt instruments into their borrowing programs in order to minimize their borrowing costs and to manage the risks associated with the issuing of debt. As a result, the composition of funds raised by provincial borrowers during the 1990s differed markedly from that of the previous decade: between 1990 and 1995, provincial borrowing requirements were met almost entirely through the issuance of marketable debt, and net new foreign currency debt issues averaged nearly 50 per cent of funds raised, whereas between 1980 and 1989, non-market sources provided close to 30 per cent of funds raised, and net new foreign currency debt issues provided less than 20 per cent.
  • May 9, 1996

    The role of inventory management in Canadian economic fluctuations

    Swings in inventory investment have traditionally played a major role in Canadian business cycles. However, advances in inventory-control techniques and the reduced uncertainty associated with lower inflation have enabled firms to manage their inventories much more tightly and effectively. This article examines recent developments in the management of non-farm business inventories in Canada at both the aggregate and the sectoral level and looks at implications for the role of inventories as a source of economic fluctuation.
  • December 10, 1995

    Developments in trusteed pension funds

    Trusteed pension funds are one of the most important sources of retirement income for Canadians. They have also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Canadian financial market. Trusteed pension funds play an important role in capital markets, channelling billions of dollars of their members' contributions into investments in financial and real assets. This article presents an overview of the trusteed pension funds sector. It provides a context for this overview by briefly presenting other sources of retirement income in Canada. It then examines the sources of the sector's rapid growth, including regulatory developments that have affected it, namely the increase in allowable foreign content and the adoption of the prudent person rule. Finally, it looks at the evolution of the sector's asset mix and how the sector interacts with capital markets.
  • December 9, 1995

    Survey of the Canadian foreign exchange and derivatives markets

    Since 1983, the Bank of Canada has conducted a triennial survey of foreign exchange market activity in Canada. The latest survey was done in April 1995 and covered activity in both the foreign exchange market and in the derivatives markets. The central banks of most other industrialized countries with active foreign exchange and derivatives markets also conducted similar surveys. This was the first time that markets for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives were surveyed by central banks in a systematic and comprehensive fashion. The average daily turnover in the Canadian foreign exchange market, including foreign exchange derivatives, has continued to grow rapidly (by approximately 36 per cent to about U.S.$30 billion) since the last survey, although at a slower pace than during the 1980s. Foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives contracts dominate derivatives market activity, with equity and commodity derivatives activity being almost negligible in comparison. Through April 1995, daily turnover volume in Canadian foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives markets averaged about U.S.$19 billion and U.S.$15 billion, respectively, mostly in forward and swap transactions.
  • November 10, 1995

    The Government of Canada bond market since 1980

    This article focusses on a key component of the federal government's debt-management program, Government of Canada marketable bonds. It first provides a broad overview of the characteristics of these bonds and then discusses the workings of the domestic market, from the formulation of a debt-management strategy to the primary issuance of the bonds, the delivery and payment process, and transactions in the secondary market. Recent developments that have enhanced the overall efficiency of the market are also examined. This article is part of a series that describes and analyses features of the Canadian financial sector.
  • November 9, 1995

    The effect of foreign demand shocks on the Canadian economy: An analysis using QPM

    Historically, rapid and unsustainable increases in the demand for goods and services originating within the economies of Canada's major trading partners have had a significant impact on the domestic economy. These episodes are typically characterized by increases in world commodity prices and by a tightening of monetary conditions abroad to contain inflationary pressures. In this article, the author uses the Bank's quarterly projection model (QPM) (described in the autumn 1994 issue of the Review) to trace the mechanisms that transmit these foreign developments throughout the Canadian economy. In addition, he outlines the response that is required from domestic monetary authorities to maintain a target rate of inflation.
  • November 8, 1995

    The role of monetary conditions and the monetary conditions index in the conduct of policy

    In these excerpts from a presentation to a conference in Toronto, Deputy Governor Charles Freedman analyses the way in which the monetary conditions index (MCI) enters into the Bank's thinking and actions. He describes how the Bank works in the context of a forward-looking assessment of economic developments and inflationary pressures to decide upon a desired path for the MCI that will result in a rate of inflation, six to eight quarters ahead, that is within the Bank's target band. Mr. Freedman also uses specific examples to explain how various shocks to the economy can change the Bank's desired path for monetary conditions. He describes the role that tactical considerations relating to market circumstances play regarding the timing of Bank actions to bring monetary conditions onto the desired path and emphasizes the need to give precedence to steadying nervous markets.
  • August 10, 1995

    Aspects of economic restructuring in Canada, 1989-1994

    The way in which Canadian firms produce goods and services has changed dramatically during the 1990s. A major feature of this restructuring has been a shift towards greater use of capital goods, particularly computer-based technology, relative to labour in production processes. The author examines this phenomenon from a macroeconomic perspective, identifying the principal factors behind the trends in investment and employment since the late 1980s. The analysis focusses on the relative costs of capital and labour over the period and on their implications for output and employment.

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