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Reaching for yield or resiliency? Explaining the shift in Canadian pension plan portfolios

“Reach for yield”—This is the commonly heard explanation for why pension plans shift their portfolios toward alternative assets. But we show that the new portfolios also hold more bonds, offer lower average returns and produce smaller and less volatile solvency deficits. These shifts are part of a broader strategy to reduce solvency risk.

Household financial vulnerabilities and physical climate risks

Staff Analytical Note 2021-19 Thibaut Duprey, Colin Jones, Callie Symmers, Geneviève Vallée
Natural disasters occur more often than before, potentially exposing households to financial distress. We study the intersection between household financial vulnerabilities and severe weather events.

The Positive Case for a CBDC

Staff Discussion Paper 2021-11 Andrew Usher, Edona Reshidi, Francisco Rivadeneyra, Scott Hendry
We discuss the competition and innovation arguments for issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). A CBDC could be an effective competition policy tool for payments. A CBDC could also support the vibrancy of the digital economy. It could help solve market failures and foster competition and innovation in new digital payments markets.

Stressed but not Helpless: Strategic Behaviour of Banks Under Adverse Market Conditions

Staff Working Paper 2021-35 Grzegorz Halaj, Sofia Priazhkina
Our stress-testing tool considers banks under stress that can strategically manage their balance sheets. Using confidential Canadian supervisory data, we assess whether bank behaviour to maximize shareholder value can amplify a hypothetical stress scenario.

BoC–BoE Sovereign Default Database: What’s new in 2021?

Staff Analytical Note 2021-15 David Beers, Elliot Jones, Zacharie Quiviger, John Walsh
The BoC–BoE database of sovereign debt defaults, published and updated annually by the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, provides comprehensive estimates of stocks of government obligations in default.

Analyzing supply and demand for business loans using microdata from the Senior Loan Officer Survey

Staff Analytical Note 2021-13 Dylan Hogg
Both supply and demand factors help determine the level of business lending in the economy, but most data show only their combined effect on prices and quantities. Using the Bank of Canada’s Senior Loan Officer Survey microdata on financial institutions’ lending conditions and demand, we separate supply from demand effects.

An Optimal Macroprudential Policy Mix for Segmented Credit Markets

Staff Working Paper 2021-31 Jelena Zivanovic
How can macroprudential policy and monetary policy stabilize segmented credit markets? Is there a trade-off between financial stability and price stability? I use a theoretical model to evaluate the performance of alternative policies and find the optimal mix of macroprudential and monetary policy in response to aggregate shocks.

Bank Runs, Bank Competition and Opacity

Staff Working Paper 2021-30 Toni Ahnert, David Martinez-Miera
How is the stability of the financial sector affected by competition in the deposit market and by decisions banks make about transparency? We find that policies that aim to increase bank competition lead to higher bank deposit rates, increasing both withdrawal incentives and instability.

Can regulating bank capital help prevent and mitigate financial downturns?

Staff Analytical Note 2021-12 Alejandro García, Josef Schroth
Countercyclical capital buffers are regulatory measures developed in response to the global financial crisis of 2008–09. This note focuses on how time-varying capital buffers can improve financial stability in Canada

Shaping the future: Policy shocks and the GDP growth distribution

Can central bank and government policies impact the risks around the outlook for GDP growth? We find that fiscal stimulus makes strong GDP growth more likely—even more so when monetary policy is constrained—rather than weak GDP growth less likely. Thus, fiscal stimulus should accelerate the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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