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1393 Results

December 14, 1997

Recent economic and financial developments

The Canadian economy expanded at an average rate of over 4 per cent through the second half of 1996 and the first three quarters of 1997. The expansion was supported by accommodative monetary conditions, substantial employment gains, low inflation, an improved fiscal postion, and strong U.S. demand. These factors will continue to underpin a scenario of sustained growth in output and employment in the period ahead. With the situation in Asia still evolving, it is difficult to be precise about the size of its overall impact on Canada. At the same time, there have been some positive developments including stronger-than-anticipated economic performance in the United States, Mexico, and Europe and declining longer-term interest rates in most industrial countries. The core rate of inflation slipped slightly below the 1 to 3 per cent target range in the closing months of 1997. With the unwinding of some of the special factors that contributed to the decline, trend inflation is expected to move back inside the range in coming months.
December 13, 1997

The overnight market in Canada

The overnight market is an active forum where participants with a temporary surplus or shortage of funds can lend or borrow until the next business day. The level of interest rates in the overnight market has always been closely linked to the Bank of Canada's monetary policy operations. In this article, the authors describe the evolution of the market from its roots in the 1950s, the development of the Bank's monetary policy operations in the market, and how the market operates today. They also examine the outlook for the overnight market, particularly the implications of the new Large-Value Transfer System.
December 12, 1997

Potential output growth: Some long-term projections

This article examines factors that have affected the growth of potential output since the 1950s and presents three possible scenarios for its growth in the future. The authors conclude that there will be a marked slowing in the future growth of potential output as a result of slow population growth and a reduction in labour force participation as the population ages.
December 11, 1997

Price stability, inflation targets, and monetary policy: Conference summary

This article summarizes the proceedings of a conference hosted by the Bank of Canada in May 1997. The first conference held by the Bank on this subject was in 1993, two years after the introduction of inflation targeting in Canada. The 1997 conference revisited many of the analytic issues related to price stability that had been examined at the first conference, while also considering several additional questions. This time, with the extension of inflation-control targets beyond 1998 under consideration, particular emphasis was placed on the role and design of those targets. The conference also featured a round-table discussion among practitioners of monetary policy in three inflation-targeting countries—New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Their remarks, which focussed on the experience with inflation targets, bring out very clearly the common challenges facing monetary policymakers in open economies.
November 14, 1997

European economic and monetary union: Background and implications

The European Union, which currently consists of 15 states, occupies an important place among the advanced economies. The final stage of the European economic and monetary union (EMU) is scheduled to begin in January 1999 with the adoption of a common currency called the "euro." A decision on which countries will participate in the euro area in 1999 will be made next spring based in part on the achievement of the economic criteria laid out in the Maastricht Treaty. In this article, the authors, after a brief discussion of the historical background, cast some light on the institutional aspects of the EMU, on the formulation and implementation of economic policy, as well as on the internal and external effects of EMU completion. For Canada, the direct implications of the shift to the euro appear to be relatively modest, at least in the short run.
November 13, 1997

Statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation

As a guide for the conduct of monetary policy, most central banks make use of a trend inflation index similar to that employed by the Bank of Canada: the CPI excluding food, energy, and the effect of indirect taxes. In addition to their basic reference index, some central banks regularly publish statistical measures of the trend rate of inflation. The method used for producing these measures is, for the most part, based on the hypothesis that extreme price fluctuations generally reflect temporary shocks to the inflation rate, rather than its underlying trend. In this paper, the author offers a broad survey of studies on the measurement of trend inflation that have been published by the Bank of Canada and presents the results of the most recent work on the subject. Particular attention is paid to two statistical measures that the Bank follows more closely than other measures; namely, the CPIX, a price index that excludes eight of the most volatile CPI components, and CPIW, a measure that retains all the components of the overall index but gives a lower weighting to the most volatile.
November 12, 1997

Clearing and settlement systems and the Bank of Canada

Clearing and settlement systems are essential to the smooth functioning of a modern market-based economy such as Canada's. During the past decade, there have been significant efforts in Canada and abroad to improve electronic clearing and settlement systems that handle payments obligations, either uniquely or in conjunction with transactions related to the purchase and sale of a broad range of financial instruments such as debt, equity, foreign exchange, or derivatives. This article examines some of the risks faced by participants and end-users of these systems and reviews the Bank of Canada's role in relation to these systems. For a number of years, the Bank has been involved informally with major clearing and settlement systems with a view to ensuring that systemic risk is adequately controlled. In July 1996, the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act was proclaimed. This Act formalized the role of the Bank in the oversight of clearing and settlement systems for the purpose of controlling systemic risk. The article provides an overview of the Bank's responsibilities. It also describes certain new powers that the Act made available to the Bank that could be exercised in its dealings with clearing and settlement systems.
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