The authors trace the development of the Basel III standards for banking regulation. Basel III builds on two earlier frameworks, in response to weaknesses revealed during the global financial crisis. They highlight how implementation of the standards will underpin greater financial stability and provide a sound foundation for economic growth.
This report examines detailed data on home mortgages to provide a better understanding of the vulnerabilities associated with the mortgage market. The proportion of low-ratio mortgages is growing, particularly in regions with strong house price growth. Moreover, these borrowers exhibit less flexibility to adverse shocks, since they have high debt levels relative to income and have taken mortgages with long amortization periods.
This issue of the Financial System Review reflects the Bank’s judgment that the high level of household indebtedness and housing market imbalances remain the most important vulnerabilities. While these vulnerabilities are still elevated, improving economic conditions and recent changes to housing policy should support an easing of these vulnerabilities over time. A third vulnerability highlighted in the FSR concerns cyber threats and the interconnectedness of the financial system.
Oil prices have declined sharply over the past three years. While both supply and demand factors played a role in the large oil price decline of 2014, global supply growth seems to have been the predominant force. The most important drivers were likely the surprising growth of US shale oil production, the output decisions of the Organization of the Petro-leum Exporting Countries and the weaker-than-expected global growth that followed the 2009 global financial crisis.
Merchants universally accept cash. Consumers widely hold cash but also carry debit and credit cards. The cost of using a method of payment has only a small influence on which method consumers use. Large merchants accept all payments, while only two-thirds of small and medium-sized businesses accept credit cards. Merchants report that credit cards are the costliest payment method compared with cash and debit cards. However, costs are not the only consideration. Merchant acceptance of credit accounts for the many con-sumers that want to use credit cards. This interaction between consumers and merchants is known as network externalities.
The neutral rate serves as a benchmark for measuring monetary stimulus and provides a medium- to long-run anchor for the real policy rate. Global neutral rate estimates have been falling over the past few decades. Factors such as population aging, high corporate savings, and low trend productivity growth are likely to continue supporting a low global neutral rate. These global factors as well as domestic factors are exerting downward pres-sure on the Canadian real neutral rate, which is estimated to be between 0.5 to 1.5 per cent. This low neutral rate has important implications for monetary policy and financial stability.
The Bank of Canada made changes to several of the tools that make up its framework for operations and liquidity provision. These changes came about after a comprehensive re-view of the framework and are designed to help the Bank better achieve its objectives of reinforcing the target for the overnight rate and supporting the well-functioning of Cana-dian financial markets under normal market conditions.
Is shale oil production in the United States a factor in the 2014 oil price decline? Which methods of payment are commonly accepted by merchants in Canada? Bank researchers share their insights on these topics. They also provide an update on the neutral rate of interest as well as on changes to the Bank’s operational framework for market operations.
Results from the autumn Business Outlook Survey point to continued positive business sentiment across the country, with business activity becoming entrenched. Firms’ prospects remain healthy, although several survey indicators have moderated from the strong summer results.