Robert Lafrance

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Staff Discussion Papers

China's Exchange Rate Policy: A Survey of the Literature

Staff Discussion Paper 2008-5 Robert Lafrance
China's integration into the world economy has benefited its people by reducing poverty and raising living standards, and it has benefited the industrialized world by producing manufactured goods at lower cost. It has also raised geopolitical concerns as China's power grows, economic concerns as the manufacturing base in many industrialized countries erodes, and polemics as proposals of protectionist measures to counter China's export growth are put forward.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff discussion papers Topic(s): Exchange rate regimes JEL Code(s): F, F3, F33, F36

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Staff Working Papers

The Turning Black Tide: Energy Prices and the Canadian Dollar

Staff Working Paper 2006-29 Ramzi Issa, Robert Lafrance, John Murray
The authors revisit the relationship between energy prices and the Canadian dollar in the Amano and van Norden (1995) equation, which shows a negative relationship such that higher real energy prices lead to a depreciation of the Canadian dollar.

Does Exchange Rate Policy Matter for Growth?

Previous studies on whether the nature of the exchange rate regime influences a country's medium-term growth performance have been based on a tripartite classification scheme that distinguishes between pegged, intermediate, and flexible exchange rate regimes.

Optimal Currency Areas: A Review of the Recent Literature

Staff Working Paper 1999-16 Robert Lafrance, Pierre St-Amant
This paper surveys the recent literature on optimal currency areas (OCAs). Topics that are covered include theoretical developments in the context of general-equilibrium models and empirical work on shocks asymmetry and adjustment mechanisms. Issues relating to the endogeneity of OCA criteria, the role of exchange rate flexibility in promoting greater macroeconomic stability, and the links […]
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Exchange rate regimes JEL Code(s): E, E4, E42, F, F3, F33

Evaluating Alternative Measures of the Real Effective Exchange Rate

Staff Working Paper 1998-20 Robert Lafrance, Patrick Osakwe, Pierre St-Amant
This paper discusses the merits and shortcomings of alternative price indices used in constructing real effective exchange rate indices and examines the effects of different weighting schemes. It also compares selected measures of the real effective exchange rate in terms of their ability to explain movements in Canadian net exports and real output. The paper […]

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Bank Publications

Bank of Canada Review articles

June 19, 2008

China's Integration into the Global Financial System

Despite having the world's largest GDP when measured in terms of purchasing-power parities, the third-largest share in world exports, and the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, China has only a minor role in the global financial system. Its banks have a modest international presence; China's currency, the renminbi, is virtually not used outside the country; and Chinese capital markets are not a significant source of financing for foreign borrowers. China's modest level of integration into the global financial system is explained by the emphasis given to domestic policy priorities. As the Chinese economy matures, and as reforms strengthen the domestic financial system, China will become more important in global financial markets. Changes are already occurring as China's financial might is being channeled towards overseas investments, and the authorities have committed to greater exchange rate flexibility. These changes will facilitate integration into the global financial system. In this article, the authors describe the current situation and speculate on the future evolution of Chinese financial institutions and markets.
June 16, 2006

Global Imbalances—Just How Dangerous?

The combination of rising current account surpluses in Asia and a growing current account deficit in the United States has raised concerns that the resulting imbalances pose a threat to the world economy, especially if they are reversed in a disorderly manner. Some experts believe that normal market forces will resolve these imbalances over time; others argue that policy-makers should facilitate the adjustment with policies that curb domestic demand in deficit countries and stimulate it in surplus countries. Little and Lafrance provide a guide to the major issues and controversies involved in the debate.
November 21, 2004

Summary of the G-20 Workshop on Developing Strong Domestic Financial Markets, 26-27 April 2004

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.
November 19, 2002

Purchasing-Power Parity: Definition, Measurement, and Interpretation

This article examines the concept of purchasing-power parity (PPP) and its implications for the equilibrium value of the Canadian exchange rate. PPP has two main applications, as a theory of exchange rate determination and as a means to compare living standards across countries. Concerning exchange rate determination, PPP is mainly useful as a reminder that monetary policy has no long-run impact on the real exchange rate, since the exchange rate can deviate persistently from its PPP value in response to real shocks. To compare living standards across countries, PPP exchange rates constructed by comparing the prices of national consumption baskets are used to translate per capita national incomes into a common currency. These rates are useful because they offset differences in national price levels to obtain comparable measures of purchasing power, but they are not an accurate measure of the equilibrium value of the exchange rate. The authors conclude that the current deviation of the Canadian exchange rate from the PPP rate does not imply that the exchange rate is undervalued, but that this deviation reflects the impact of persistent real factors, in particular, lower commodity prices.
December 15, 1999

The Exchange Rate, Productivity, and the Standard of Living

This article examines the recent proposition that the decline in Canada's standard of living relative to that of the United States is causally related to the decline in our exchange rate. The authors explore the main channels through which the exchange rate and the standard of living could be related—productivity and the terms of trade—focusing mainly on productivity. They conclude that the decline in world commodity prices and weak demand for domestic output were affecting both Canada's standard of living and the exchange rate and that the flexible exchange rate regime itself did not play an independent role.
November 14, 1999

Real Exchange Rate Indexes for the Canadian Dollar

In this article, the authors explain the methodology used to construct real exchange rate (RER) indexes. They also compare and assess various Canadian RER indexes from both an empirical and conceptual standpoint. The authors conclude that both theory and empirical evidence suggest that the best RER indexes are those based on unit labour costs. They note, however, that, for practical reasons, policy-makers should also consider RER indexes based on prices when formulating monetary policy.
November 9, 1996

Canada and international financial institutions

International financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements, are important players in the global financial system. This article provides an overview of the major international financial institutions to which Canada belongs. The paper highlights their activities and the nature of Canada's involvement, including that of the Bank of Canada. Recent initiatives coming out of the Halifax and Lyon Summits to improve the effectiveness of international financial institutions are also noted.
May 8, 1995

Exchange rate fundamentals and the Canadian dollar

Views in the economic literature on the main factors that influence exchange rates have evolved over time in response to economic developments and new trends in economic theory. This article provides a brief interpretative survey of the main theories of exchange rate determination. The factors that influence exchange rate developments are varied and complex. However, the authors show that the broad movements of the Canada-U.S. real exchange rate since the early 1970s can be captured by a simple equation that highlights the role of commodity prices and Canada-U.S. interest rate differentials. The equation is used to interpret the evolution of the real exchange rate over the last two decades. At times, the real exchange rate deviates significantly from what the equation would predict. One explanation is that the equation omits certain factors that can influence the exchange rate, particularly in the short run. These may include fiscal policy variables, international indebtedness, political uncertainty, and investor sentiments—factors that are difficult to quantify but that have been particularly relevant in recent years.

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