The Canadian corporate bond market has experienced a renaissance, in recent years, against a background of low inflation, reduced public borrowing, and the lowest levels of long-term interest rates in a generation. The authors examine the influences shaping the market and also compare the Canadian market with those of other countries.
The increased level of activity in the market has been accompanied by the development of new products and by greater investor interest in instruments with higher returns and higher credit risk. A more dynamic Canadian corporate bond market is a welcome development since it offers borrowers an alternative source of funds, especially companies that have typically relied on the banking system and on the U.S. corporate bond market for financings involving higher levels of credit risk.
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.