This note investigates whether Canadian corporate spreads and the excess bond premium (EBP) lead Canadian economic activity. Indeed, we find that corporate spreads precede changes in real gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada over the subsequent year. The EBP accounts for most of this property. Further, an unanticipated increase in the Canadian EBP forecasts a deterioration of domestic macroeconomic conditions: a 10-basis-point increase results in a fall in both GDP and consumer price index (CPI) of 0.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively, over three years.
Technology, risk tolerance and regulation may influence dealers to reduce their trading as principals (using their own balance sheets for sales and purchases of securities) in favour of agency trading (matching client trades).