Op-Eds

D’habitude, les révisions quinquennales de la cible de la Banque du Canada suscitent un long bâillement, sauf pour les mordus de la politique monétaire qui ressentent le petit frisson d’un changement possible, mais toujours déçu, tel un coït interrompu. Les crises qui se succèdent et l’essoufflement de la politique monétaire et de son outil – le taux d’intérêt – suggèrent des ajustements plus significatifs cette fois-ci, sans aller jusqu’à brûler les manuels de macroéconomie. Peintes en nuances subtiles, les décisions sur les objectifs et les moyens utilisés par la banque centrale exercent néanmoins un effet puissant sur le bien-être de tous, sur le pouvoir d’achat, sur l’emploi et sur la création de richesse. En période de...
On Aug. 27, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board announced an important modification of its monetary policy framework, moving towards “average-inflation targeting” (AIT). As the Fed’s announcement said: “following periods when inflation has been running persistently below two per cent, appropriate monetary policy will likely aim to achieve inflation moderately above two per cent for some time.” The obvious question for Canadian policy-makers is whether the Bank of Canada should follow suit. Our answer is: Perhaps, but the bar for changing the policy regime should be set high. As the name suggests, under “average-inflation targeting,” the central bank’s target would be the average inflation rate over a specified time, say three years. If...
Looking for more tools that the Bank of Canada can use to help our COVID-stricken economy recover, some observers argue for “going direct,” having the Bank of Canada “print money” and deliver it directly to households as transfers. In our view, that is a bad idea. Broadly speaking, the Bank of Canada can “go direct” in two ways. One is to transfer extra funds directly to the general public — a technique often described as a “helicopter drop.” Imagine squadrons of helicopters flying over the country dropping cash out their loading bays. In fact, neither helicopters nor, for the most part, cash would be involved: rather, the Bank of Canada would send people cheques or make direct deposits into their bank accounts — a one-for-one, dollar-...
Je me méfie de l’or qui provoque des poussées de fièvre chez les spéculateurs. Mais avec les taux d’intérêt cloués au plancher, certains investisseurs sérieux considèrent maintenant le métal jaune pour remplacer partiellement les obligations dans leur portefeuille, car celles-ci ne parviennent plus à jouer pleinement leur rôle stabilisateur. En début de carrière, lorsque je faisais mes dents dans le journalisme économique, j’ai probablement trop rencontré de petits promoteurs miniers et de gold bugs, ces adorateurs du métal précieux qui, bien avant les furieux adeptes du bitcoin, voient dans l’or, les conserves et les armes à feu, des moyens de survie après l’effondrement de la civilisation et de la monnaie. Jamais on...
Last Wednesday’s interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report (MPR) from the Bank of Canada were the first under new governor Tiff Macklem. They provide welcome clarity on the bank’s thinking about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and how monetary policy should respond Back in March, the bank cut its traditional policy instrument, the target overnight interest rate, to 25 basis points, alongside heavy interventions in financial markets to provide liquidity. The high degree of uncertainty associated with the virus and the ensuing economic lockdown led the bank to be vague in its accompanying commentary, including the key question of how it intended to hit its two per cent inflation target. The April MPR did not...