G-20 representatives, academics, market participants, and members of international financial institutions were brought together in Ottawa to explore the connection between robust financial markets and economic growth and development, share experiences, and to develop policy recommendations, where possible. Participants identified several areas they deemed critical for fostering strong domestic financial markets and reducing external vulnerability: sound macroeconomics policies, strengthened financial infrastructures and banking systems, and exchange rate flexibility for countries with widely open capital accounts. Papers presented in the six sessions and keynote address highlighted a number of issues, including currency mismatches, the sequence of financial liberalization and supervisory reforms, the development of local financial markets, infrastructure building and governance, and appropriate incentives.
The authors describe a special survey of the payment and financial-reporting practices of Canadian firms conducted by the Bank of Canada's regional offices to determine if the U.S. dollar has started to displace the Canadian dollar as a preferred unit of account. A cross-section of firms was asked what currency (or currencies) they used: (i) for quoting sales to Canadian customers, (ii) for quoting prices to foreigners, (iii) for reporting their financial results, and (iv) for quoting salaries and wages. The survey results reported here extend some earlier results reported in a previous Review article by Murray and Powell.
The data indicate that, despite the dominance of the U.S. dollar in world trade and as an international standard of value, use of the U.S. dollar in Canada is very limited. The vast majority of Canadian firms price their products and keep their financial statements in Canadian dollars, and very few workers in Canada have their salaries paid in a foreign currency. The Canadian dollar is still strongly preferred for most pricing and financial-reporting activities in Canada, and there is very little evidence of "dollarization."
The sharp depreciation of the Canadian dollar and the successful launch of the euro have sparked a lively debate in Canada about the possible benefits of formally adopting the U.S. dollar as our national currency. Some observers have suggested that this debate is largely irrelevant, since Canada is already highly "dollarized." Canadian businesses and households, they assert, often use the U.S. dollar to perform standard money functions in preference to their own currency. Very little evidence has been provided, however, to support these claims.
The authors review the available data with a view to drawing some tentative conclusions about the extent to which Canada has already been informally dollarized. The evidence suggests that many of the concerns that have been expressed about the imminent demise of the Canadian dollar have been misplaced. The Canadian dollar continues to be used as the principal unit of account, medium of exchange, and store of value within our borders. Moreover, there is no indication that dollarization is likely to take hold in the foreseeable future. Indeed, in many respects, the Canadian economy is less dollarized now than it was 20 years ago.
The sharp depreciation of the Canadian dollar and the successful launch of the euro have spawned an animated debate in Canada concerning the potential benefits of formally adopting the U.S. dollar as our national currency.
This article examines the efforts of the major advanced countries to strengthen the international financial system in order to avoid financial crises such as those that occurred in emerging-market economies in the 1990s. These efforts have focused on crisis prevention and crisis management.
The prevention of such crises has necessitated the formation of new international groups that include emerging markets in their membership. Measures have also been taken to reduce the vulnerability of countries to such crises. These measures have centered on the need for appropriate macroeconomic policies, including the need for sustainable exchange rate regimes, sound domestic financial systems, and prudent risk management.
In the area of crisis management, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been given access to additional resources for lending to countries that experience financial crises. The IMF has also established new lending facilities for use in such circumstances. It has also been agreed that the private sector will need to play a greater role in the management of such crises in the future.