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November 10, 1996

The market for futures contracts on Canadian bankers' acceptances

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.
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.
November 8, 1996

Money markets and central bank operations: Conference summary

This article summarizes the proceedings of a conference hosted by the Bank of Canada in November 1995. The conference examined the interaction between monetary policy operations and the money market. It provided an opportunity to assess current operations before the introduction of a large-value transfer system leads the Bank to change the techniques it uses to implement monetary policy on a day-to-day basis. From the Bank's perspective, the papers prepared externally provided some useful insights into recent innovations in money markets and their implications for the implementation of monetary policy. Meanwhile, the sessions devoted to the Bank's operations in financial markets were designed to provide market practitioners and academics with further insight into how the Bank operates in these markets.
August 11, 1996

Real short-term interest rates and expected inflation: Measurement and interpretation

This article compares different measures of real short-term interest rates for Canada over the period from 1956 to 1995. A new measure for the expected real interest rate is constructed using a proxy for inflation expectations that is based on the properties of past inflation. The history of inflation in Canada suggests that the characteristics of inflation have changed considerably over time. Past inflation can be characterized by three different types of behaviour: an environment in which average inflation is low and shocks to inflation have only temporary effects; an environment of moderate inflation with more persistent disturbances; and an environment of drifting inflation in which shocks have permanent effects on the level of inflation. The proxy for inflation expectations uses a statistical model, called a Markov Switching Model, to take account of changes in the behaviour of inflation over time. It is found that uncertainty about the changing characteristics of inflation behaviour leads to uncertainty about estimates of inflation expectations and thus about measures of real interest rates. Target ranges for keeping inflation low should help reduce the uncertainty about inflation behaviour. The behaviour of inflation and interest rates suggests that the credibility of the Bank of Canada's inflation-control objectives is growing. This should reduce inflation uncertainty and lead to lower nominal interest rates over time.
August 10, 1996

Inflation expectations and Real Return Bonds

The existence of a market for Real Return Bonds in Canada provides a direct tool with which to measure market expectations of inflation by comparing the yields on these bonds with those on conventional Government of Canada long-term bonds. However, there are other factors besides inflation expectations that may affect the yield differential. After reviewing these factors, the authors note that they can lead to a potentially large bias in the level of inflation expectations. The changes in the differential over time may, nonetheless, be a good indicator of movements in long-run inflation expectations. Based on this measure, expectations of long-run inflation have declined since late 1994.
May 11, 1996

Recent developments in monetary aggregates and their implications

In 1995, the broad aggregate M2+ grew at an annual rate of 4.5 per cent—almost twice the rate recorded in 1994—as competition from mutual funds drew less money from personal savings deposits. An adjusted M2+ aggregate, which internalizes the effect of close substitutes such as CSBs and certain mutual funds, grew by only 3.4 per cent. Gross M1 grew by 8.2 per cent during the year, reflecting an increased demand for transactions balances as market interest rates declined and as banks offered more attractive rates of interest on corporate current account balances. The robust growth of gross M1 in the second half of 1995 suggests a moderate expansion of economic activity in the first half of 1996, while moderate growth in the broad aggregates indicates a rate of monetary expansion consistent with continued low inflation. In this annual review of the monetary aggregates, the authors also introduce a new model, based on calculated deviations of M1 from its long-run demand, which suggests that inflation should remain just below the midpoint of the inflation-control target range over the next couple of years.