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417 Results

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.
November 16, 1999

The Corporate Bond Market in Canada

The Canadian corporate bond market has experienced a renaissance, in recent years, against a background of low inflation, reduced public borrowing, and the lowest levels of long-term interest rates in a generation. The authors examine the influences shaping the market and also compare the Canadian market with those of other countries. The increased level of activity in the market has been accompanied by the development of new products and by greater investor interest in instruments with higher returns and higher credit risk. A more dynamic Canadian corporate bond market is a welcome development since it offers borrowers an alternative source of funds, especially companies that have typically relied on the banking system and on the U.S. corporate bond market for financings involving higher levels of credit risk.
November 15, 1999

Markets for Government of Canada Securities in the 1990s: Liquidity and Cross-Country Comparisons

In this article, the author reviews the factors behind the recent evolution of liquidity in the market for Government of Canada (GoC) securities. He finds that liquidity has been supported by changes in the structure of the market, notably the introduction and increasing size of benchmark bond issues. He also notes that while the GoC bond market has generally benefited from changes in market structure, liquidity in the treasury bill market has decreased since the mid-1990s, largely because of the declining supply of these securities. This article also presents some comparisons of liquidity in the government securities markets of other industrialized countries and finds that liquidity in the Canadian market appears to compare favourably with all but the large U.S. Treasury market.

Estimating One-Factor Models of Short-Term Interest Rates

Staff Working Paper 1999-18 Des Mc Manus, David Watt
There currently exists in the literature several continuous-time one-factor models for short-term interest rates. This paper considers a wide range of these models that are nested into one general model. These models are approximated using both a discrete-time model and a model that accounts for aggregation effects over time, and are estimated by both the […]
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Financial markets, Interest rates JEL Code(s): C, C5, C52, G, G1, G10

The Information Content of Interest Rate Futures Options

Staff Working Paper 1999-15 Des Mc Manus
Options prices are being increasingly employed to extract market expectations and views about monetary policy. In this paper, eurodollar options are monitored to examine the evolution of market sentiment over the possible future values of eurodollar rates. Risk-neutral probability functions are employed to synopsize the information contained in the prices of euro/dollar futures options. Several […]
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Financial markets, Interest rates JEL Code(s): G, G1, G14
August 13, 1999

Recent Initiatives in the Canadian Market for Government of Canada Securities

The initiatives reviewed by the author were undertaken to ensure a liquid and well-functioning market for Government of Canada securities in light of the significant shift in the government's financial position. They include changes made in 1998 by the Bank of Canada and the government to the rules governing auctions and to the Bank's surveillance of the auction process, changes to the treasury bill and bond programs, and implementation of a pilot buyback program for Government of Canada marketable bonds. In addition, the Investment Dealers Association of Canada adopted a code of conduct for the secondary market. These initiatives were well received by the market and appear to have had a positive impact. The Bank and the government are, however, continuing their search for ways to maintain and enhance the efficiency of this market.
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