This discussion paper is the third in the Financial Markets Department’s series on the structure of Canadian financial markets. These papers are called “ecologies” because they study the interactions among market participants, infrastructures, regulations and the terms of the traded contract itself.
The use of bank notes in Canada for payments has declined consistently for some time, and similar trends are evident in other countries. This has led some observers to predict a cashless society in the future.
Since 2010, the liquidity of corporate bonds has improved on average, while their trading activity has remained stable. We find that the liquidity and trading activity of riskier bonds or bonds issued by firms in different sectors have been stable. However, the liquidity and trading activity of bonds issued by banks have improved. We observe short-lived episodes of deterioration in liquidity and trading activity.
This paper studies the effects of financial development, taking into account both formal and informal financing. Using cross-country firm-level data, we document that informal financing is utilized more by rich countries than poor countries.
In recent years, the liquidity in the secondary market for Canadian provincial bonds was a concern for many market participants. We find that a proxy for the bid-ask spread has deteriorated modestly since 2010. However, a proxy for price impact as well as measures of trade size, the number of trades and turnover have been stable or improved since 2010. This holds for bonds issued by different provinces and for bonds of different ages and sizes. Alberta bonds provide an interesting case study: After the fall in oil prices in 2014–15, the province increased its borrowing in the bond market and its credit rating was downgraded. Yet trading activity for Alberta bonds increased significantly. Overall, we interpret the evidence as a sign of resilience in the provincial bond market.
We present a simple model to study the risk sensitivity of capital regulation. A banker funds investment with uninsured deposits and costly capital, where capital resolves a moral hazard problem in the banker’s choice of risk.
Worst-case analysis is used among financial regulators in the wake of the recent financial crisis to gauge the tail risk. We provide insight into worst-case analysis and provide guidance on how to estimate it. We derive the bias for the non-parametric heavy-tailed order statistics and contrast it with the semi-parametric extreme value theory (EVT) approach.
Using an exclusive data set of payment times for retail transactions made in Canada, I show that cash is the most time-efficient method of payment (MOP) when compared with payments by debit and credit cards. I model payment efficiency using Cox proportional hazard models, accounting for consumer choice of MOP.
Can securities be settled on a blockchain and, if so, what are the gains relative to existing settlement systems? We consider a blockchain that ensures delivery versus payment by linking transfers of assets with payments and operates using a proof-of-work protocol. The main benefit of a blockchain is faster and more flexible settlement, whereas the challenge is to avoid settlement fails when participants fork the chain to get rid of trading losses.
The scale of safe assets suggests a structural demand for a safe wealth share beyond transaction and liquidity roles. We study how investors achieve a reference wealth level by combining self-insurance and contingent liquidation of investment. Intermediaries improve upon autarky, insuring investors with poor self-insurance and limiting liquidation.