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May 13, 1998

Canada-U.S. long-term interest differentials in the 1990s

Long-term Canada-U.S. interest spreads have changed remarkably during the 1990s. The unusually wide spreads of the first half of the decade have given way to an unprecedented run of negative yield differentials. In this article, the author examines the conceptual aspects of yields on international assets and their application to the Canada-U.S. situation. Prior to 1995, investors were unsure that, over the long run, inflation would meet the targets set by the government and the Bank. Policy credibility was undermined by large budget deficits and political uncertainty. In the second half of the decade, confidence was re-established as the fiscal positions of governments improved, long-run price stability became established, and political concerns about Quebec lessened. As long as these fundamentals hold, long-term rates should remain relatively low, even when short-term rates rise.
May 13, 1998

Release of the Monetary Policy Report

Opening statement Gordon Thiessen
This morning we released our seventh Monetary Policy Report. Since the release of our last Report in November, there have been an unusual number of international and domestic developments which have had important economic and financial consequences. Among the most important events have been the crisis in Asia, declines in commodities prices, and the persistent […]
May 12, 1998

Measurement biases in the Canadian CPI: An update

The consumer price index (CPI) is used to measure changes in the price level of consumer goods and services. As an indicator of changes in the cost of living, it is susceptible to various types of measurement biases. This article provides estimates of the size of these biases in the Canadian CPI. It concludes that the rate of increase in the CPI probably overstates the rate of increase in the cost of living by about 0.5 percentage points per year.
May 11, 1998

The use of forward rate agreements in Canada

In this article, the authors identify forward rate agreements, or FRAs, as short-term interest rate guarantee instruments negotiated by two parties, one of which is typically a bank. In outlining the main features of FRAs, the authors contrast them with BAX contracts (futures contracts on bankers' acceptances that are negotiated through the Montreal Exchange). The article then describes how market participants use FRAs to cover short-term interest rate risk. The final section deals with the way the Bank of Canada uses information from the FRA market as an indicator of interest rate expectations. Econometric models used to retrieve information from FRA rates, as well as the underlying assumptions, are discussed in an appendix.
April 23, 1998

Opening Statement before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce

Opening statement Gordon Thiessen Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
My colleagues and I look forward to our yearly appearance before your committee because it gives us an opportunity to present an account of how the Bank has worked to fulfil its objectives over the past year. It is also an opportunity for a discussion with you on a range of economic and monetary issues. […]

Uncertainty and Multiple Paradigms of the Transmission Mechanism

Staff Working Paper 1998-7 Walter Engert, Jack Selody
An important challenge facing central banks is making decisions under uncertainty about the dynamic effects of monetary policy actions. The authors stress the importance of explicitly recognizing uncertainty about the transmission mechanism when formulating policy advice. They argue that one way to manage monetary policy under uncertainty is to draw on both an output-gap paradigm […]
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