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An Empirical Analysis of the Canadian Term Structure of Zero-Coupon Interest Rates

  • David J. Bolder
  • Grahame Johnson
  • Adam Metzler

Zero-coupon interest rates are the fundamental building block of fixed-income mathematics, and as such have an extensive number of applications in both finance and economics. The risk-free government zero-coupon term structure is, however, not directly observable and needs to be generated from the prices of marketable, coupon-bearing bonds. The authors introduce the first public-domain database of constant-maturity zero-coupon yield curves for the Government of Canada bond market. They first outline the mechanics of the curve-fitting algorithm that underlie the model, and then perform some preliminary statistical analysis on the resulting yield curves. The full sample period extends from January 1986 to May 2003; it is broken down into two subsamples, reflecting the structural and macroeconomic changes that impacted the Canadian fixed-income markets over that time. The authors examine the evolution of a number of key interest rates and yield-curve measures over the period, perform a principal-components analysis of the common factors that have influenced yield changes over time, and compare holding-period returns over the sample for assets of various maturities.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 04-48.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:04-48
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  1. Francis X. Diebold & Canlin Li, 2003. "Forecasting the Term Structure of Government Bond Yields," NBER Working Papers 10048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christensen, Ian & Frédéric Dion & Christopher Reid, 2004. "Real Return Bonds, Inflation Expectations, and the Break-Even Inflation Rate," Working Papers 04-43, Bank of Canada.
  3. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch & S. Boragan Aruoba, 2003. "The Macroeconomy and the Yield Curve: A Nonstructural Analysis," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Brousseau, Vincent, 2002. "The functional form of yield curves," Working Paper Series 0148, European Central Bank.
  5. David Jamieson Bolder & Scott Gusba, 2002. "Exponentials, Polynomials, and Fourier Series: More Yield Curve Modelling at the Bank of Canada," Working Papers 02-29, Bank of Canada.
  6. Knez, Peter J & Litterman, Robert & Scheinkman, Jose Alexandre, 1994. " Explorations into Factors Explaining Money Market Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1861-82, December.
  7. Uri Ron, 2000. "A Practical Guide to Swap Curve Construction," Working Papers 00-17, Bank of Canada.
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