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412 Results

December 17, 2001

The Canadian Fixed-Income Market: Recent Developments and Outlook

The Canadian fixed-income market is in the midst of a structural transformation similar to those occurring in other national financial markets around the world. The authors examine recent developments and trends in the market and discuss their possible effects. The simultaneous shrinking of the federal government's financial requirements and steady rise in issues of corporate securities have significantly altered the composition of Canada's fixed-income market. Government of Canada securities constitute a predominant portion of outstanding fixed-income securities and play a pivotal role, serving as benchmarks for the valuation of other traded securities and as a hedging vehicle for market participants trying to control their exposure to risk. The reduced issuance of federal government securities has contributed to a decline in the liquidity of the benchmark market. This raises broader issues regarding the future of the Canadian fixed-income market, since the corporate market is still fairly underdeveloped and illiquid compared with that for Government of Canada issues. There are thus currently few benchmark and hedging alternatives. The federal government is, however, committed to preserving the integrity of the market for benchmark issues and is adopting initiatives to enhance market liquidity and alleviate some of the pressures on the effective supply of these securities. Another evolving trend in the market is the emergence of electronic trading platforms. These platforms have the potential to facilitate the price-discovery mechanism, increase cost efficiency, and improve the liquidity and transparency of the market.
August 16, 2001

Innovation and Competition in Canadian Equity Markets

Innovations in communications and information technology and the related globalization of financial markets have created the potential for important changes to the structure of Canadian equity markets. Established marketplaces can now compete more effectively on an inter-regional and international basis. At the same time, reduced costs have lowered the barriers to entry faced by new competitors known as alternative trading systems (ATSs). In response to this heightened competition, established Canadian stock exchanges have taken measures to improve market quality. While regulators see innovation as positive for the development of Canadian markets, there is some concern that market liquidity may be fragmented in the short run. The Canadian Securities Administrators have proposed a framework that attempts to address this issue and that would allow ATSs to compete with traditional exchanges for the first time. The authors provide an overview of the Canadian equity market and its structure, focusing on these recent developments.

The Future Prospects for National Financial Markets and Trading Centres

This paper investigates the effects of the continuation of globalization and technological developments on the future of national-level financial markets and trading centres, particularly in smaller countries such as Canada. We foresee the development of a single global market in the most-liquid assets based on equity-market linkages.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Financial markets JEL Code(s): G, G1, G10

Reactions of Canadian Interest Rates to Macroeconomic Announcements: Implications for Monetary Policy Transparency

Staff Working Paper 2001-5 Toni Gravelle, Richhild Moessner
In this study we statistically quantify the reactions of Canadian and U.S. interest rates to macroeconomic announcements released in Canada and in the United States. We find that Canadian interest rates react very little to Canadian macroeconomic news and are significantly affected by U.S. macroeconomic news, which indicates that international influences on the Canadian fixed-income markets are important.
December 16, 2000

The Bank of Canada's Management of Foreign Currency Reserves

This article describes the Bank's management of the liquid foreign currency portion of the government's official reserves. It broadly outlines the operations of the Exchange Fund Account (EFA), the main account in which Canada's reserves are held. It then briefly reviews the evolution of the objectives and management of the EFA over the past 25 years, particularly in light of the changing level of reserves and developments in financial markets. The EFA is funded by Canada's foreign currency borrowings in capital markets. The article focuses on the comprehensive portfolio framework used to manage the Account, which matches assets and liabilities. Under this framework, funds are invested in assets that match, as closely as possible, the characteristics of foreign currency liabilities issued, helping to immunize the portfolio against currency and interest rate risks.
November 16, 2000

Credit Derivatives

Credit derivatives are a useful tool for lenders who want to reduce their exposure to a particular borrower but are unwilling to sell their claims on that borrower. Without actually transferring ownership of the underlying assets, these contracts transfer risk from one counterparty to another. Commercial banks are the major participants in this growing market, using these transactions to diversify their portfolios of loans and other risky assets. The authors examine the size and workings of this relatively new market and discuss the potential of these transactions for distorting existing incentives for risk management and risk monitoring.

Steps in Applying Extreme Value Theory to Finance: A Review

Staff Working Paper 2000-20 Younes Bensalah
Extreme value theory (EVT) has been applied in fields such as hydrology and insurance. It is a tool used to consider probabilities associated with extreme and thus rare events. EVT is useful in modelling the impact of crashes or situations of extreme stress on investor portfolios.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Financial markets JEL Code(s): C, C0, C4, C5, G, G1
August 14, 2000

Approaches to Current Stock Market Valuations

The increase in North American stock prices in 1999 and early 2000 has generated interest in the valuation assumptions that would make these price levels sustainable. Here, commonly used valuation techniques are applied to stock markets in Canada and the United States. For the comparative yield approach, real interest rates (rather than nominal rates) are preferred as the comparator of choice to yields on stock market indexes. The spreads between real interest rates and stock market yields have generally increased over the last two years. The dividend-discount model (DDM) approach provides an analytic linkage between the equity-risk premium and the expected growth of dividends. It suggests that market values (measured at the end of February 2000) could be sustained only by rapid growth of dividends in the future or by the continued assumption of an uncharacteristically low risk premium on equity. The spectacular rise in the value of technology stocks in 1999 is noted (Chart 4), and then the valuation measures for the Canadian stock market excluding the technology sector are examined. When this is done with the comparative yield approach, yield spreads are slightly lower, and for the DDM approach, one does not need to assume as high a growth of dividends or as low a risk premium to validate market valuations. Two effects of the "new economy" on the stock market are noted. One is the lowering of dividend yields, as new-economy technology companies tend to have a high reinvestment rate and a low dividend payout rate. Another relates to the potential for a higher track for the economy's productivity growth, which would mean that higher-than-historical assumptions about future earnings growth would be more plausible. Several explanations for the decline in risk premiums on equity are considered. While short-term volatility in the stock market has, if anything, increased in recent years, low inflation and improved economic performance, along with demographics and investor preferences, may have contributed to a decline in the risk premium demanded by investors. A scenario of rapid growth of dividends in the near term slowing to historical norms in the longer term is examined. While this approach can go partway towards explaining high stock market valuations, it requires assumptions that are outside historical experience.

Modelling Risk Premiums in Equity and Foreign Exchange Markets

Staff Working Paper 2000-9 René Garcia, Maral Kichian
The observed predictability of excess returns in equity and foreign exchange markets has largely been attributed to the presence of time-varying risk premiums in these markets. For example, excess equity returns were found to be explained by various financial and economic variables.
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