The initiatives reviewed by the author were undertaken to ensure a liquid and well-functioning market for Government of Canada securities in light of the significant shift in the government's financial position. They include changes made in 1998 by the Bank of Canada and the government to the rules governing auctions and to the Bank's surveillance of the auction process, changes to the treasury bill and bond programs, and implementation of a pilot buyback program for Government of Canada marketable bonds. In addition, the Investment Dealers Association of Canada adopted a code of conduct for the secondary market.
These initiatives were well received by the market and appear to have had a positive impact. The Bank and the government are, however, continuing their search for ways to maintain and enhance the efficiency of this market.
The supply of treasury bills has fallen considerably since 1995, reflecting a decline in the financing needs of the Canadian government and a change in its debt-management strategy. This has had a major impact on different segments of the money market.
Among the various implications of this development, the authors point out the decrease in turnover and, hence, liquidity in the treasury bill market since 1995, as well as high rates of growth in the market for short-term interest rate derivatives and for short-term asset-backed securities.
The Montreal Exchange introduced futures contracts on 3-month Canadian bankers' acceptances, known as BAX, in 1988. In this article, the author explains the nature of this new instrument, which is bought and sold on the floor of the Exchange, and its role in hedging, speculation, and arbitrage. She briefly reviews the technical aspects of the market and explains the difference between BAX contracts and forward rate agreements. She also examines the market's rapid growth and its relationship to the market for treasury bills.