Stephen Murchison was appointed Advisor to the Governor, effective 4 May 2015. In this role, Mr. Murchison serves as secretary to the Bank’s annual Financial System Review publication. He also serves as chair of the Systemic Risk Surveillance Committee (SRSC), a committee comprised of federal and provincial policy makers aimed at identifying vulnerabilities in the Canadian financial system.
Mr. Murchison joined the Bank in 1997 as an economist in the Canadian Projection and Model Development division of the Research Department, now Canadian Economic Analysis (CEA). Beginning in 1999, Mr. Murchison spent two years at the Department of Finance. He returned to the Bank in 2001 and occupied the increasingly senior positions of Principal Researcher, Assistant Chief, Research Director and Deputy Chief of CEA. In August 2013, Mr. Murchison was appointed Chief of CEA, a position he held until his current appointment.
Born in Barrie, Ontario, Mr. Murchison has a master’s degree in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.
We estimate the share of variable-rate mortgages with fixed payments that reached the so-called trigger rate—the interest rate at which mortgage payments no longer cover the principal. Amid rising interest rates, this share was close to 50% at the end of October 2022 and could potentially reach 65% in 2023.
For central banks, conducting policy in an environment of uncertainty is a daily fact of life. This uncertainty can take many forms, ranging from incomplete knowledge of the correct economic model and data to future economic and geopolitical events whose precise magnitudes and effects cannot be known with certainty.
Several authors have presented reduced-form evidence suggesting that the degree of exchange rate pass-through to the consumer price index has declined in Canada since the early 1980s and is currently close to zero.
This report provides a detailed technical description of an updated version of the Terms-of-Trade Economic Model (ToTEM II), which replaced ToTEM (Murchison and Rennison 2006) in June 2011 as the Bank of Canada’s quarterly projection model for Canada.
The authors provide a detailed technical description of the Terms-of-Trade Economic Model (ToTEM), which replaced the Quarterly Projection Model (QPM) in December 2005 as the Bank's principal projection and policy-analysis model for the Canadian economy.
When constrained by the zero lower bound, some central banks have communicated a threshold that must be met before short-term interest rates would be permitted to rise. Simulation results for Canada show that forward guidance that is conditional on achieving a price-level threshold can theoretically raise demand and inflation expectations by significantly more than unemployment thresholds. This superior performance is attributable to the fact that the price-level threshold depends on past inflation outcomes. In practice, however, history-dependent thresholds such as this might be more challenging for central banks to communicate.
Stephen Murchison reviews the findings of recent Bank of Canada research on the relative merits of inflation targeting and price-level targeting (PLT) for a small open economy, such as Canada's, that is susceptible to large and persistent terms-of-trade shocks.
This article examines recent research on the influence of various forms of economic uncertainty on the performance of different classes of monetary policy rules: from simple rules to fully optimal monetary policy under commitment. The authors explain why uncertainty matters in the design of monetary policy rules and provide quantitative examples from the recent literature. They also present results for several policy rules in ToTEM, the Bank of Canada's main model for projection and analysis, including rules that respond to price level, rather than to inflation.
The persistence of both core and total consumer price index inflation in Canada has declined significantly since the 1980s. In addition to providing up-to-date estimates of inflation persistence, this article examines possible reasons for the decline suggested in the literature. The role played by monetary policy, through its effect on price- and wage-setting behaviour, is distinguished from possible changes to the structure of the economy that are independent of monetary policy. The authors also discuss the implications for monetary policy of low structural persistence in inflation, including the choice of an inflation-targeting regime versus a price-level-targeting regime.
One of the most important factors that must be considered if countries are thinking about lowering the target level of inflation much below 2 per cent is the zero interest bound. Targeting inflation rates that are too low, the authors note, may restrict the ability of monetary policy to respond to economic shocks by limiting the amount by which interest rates can be eased.
The Terms-of-Trade Economic Model, or ToTEM, replaced the Quarterly Projection Model (QPM) in December 2005 as the Bank's principal projection and policy-analysis model for the Canadian economy. Benefiting from advances in economic modelling and computer power, ToTEM builds on the strengths of QPM, allowing for optimizing behaviour on the part of firms and households, both in and out of steady state, in a multi-product environment. The authors explain the motivation behind the development of ToTEM, provide an overview of the model and its calibration, and present several simulations to illustrate its key properties, concluding with some indications of how the model is expected to evolve going forward.
This article examines another strategy in the Bank's approach to dealing with an uncertain world: the use of carefully articulated models to produce economic forecasts and to examine the implications of the various risks to those forecasts. Economic models are deliberate simplifications of a complex world that allow economists to make predictions that are reasonably accurate and that can be easily understood and communicated. By using several models, based on competing paradigms, the Bank minimizes policy errors that could result from relying on one view of the world and one philosophy of model design. The authors review some of the models currently used at the Bank, as well as the role of judgment in the projection process.