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."
This article first outlines the activities of the Bank's regional offices and looks at how regional economic analysis fits into the Bank's decision-making process. The changing role of the regional offices in communications and in information gathering is examined, focusing on the quarterly surveys of industries and associations. The second section reviews, from a regional perspective, economic developments since the Asian crisis and future prospects.
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.