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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.

Suggested Citation

  • David J. Bolder & Grahame Johnson & Adam Metzler, 2004. "An Empirical Analysis of the Canadian Term Structure of Zero-Coupon Interest Rates," Staff Working Papers 04-48, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:04-48

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diebold, Francis X. & Li, Canlin, 2006. "Forecasting the term structure of government bond yields," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 130(2), pages 337-364, February.
    2. Brousseau, Vincent, 2002. "The functional form of yield curves," Working Paper Series 0148, European Central Bank.
    3. Uri Ron, 2000. "A Practical Guide to Swap Curve Construction," Staff Working Papers 00-17, Bank of Canada.
    4. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch & S. Boragan Aruoba, 2003. "The macroeconomy and the yield curve: a nonstructural analysis," Working Paper Series 2003-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Christensen, Ian & Frédéric Dion & Christopher Reid, 2004. "Real Return Bonds, Inflation Expectations, and the Break-Even Inflation Rate," Staff Working Papers 04-43, Bank of Canada.
    6. David Jamieson Bolder & Scott Gusba, 2002. "Exponentials, Polynomials, and Fourier Series: More Yield Curve Modelling at the Bank of Canada," Staff Working Papers 02-29, Bank of Canada.
    7. 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 1861-1882, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Jamieson Bolder & Tiago Rubin, 2007. "Optimization in a Simulation Setting: Use of Function Approximation in Debt Strategy Analysis," Staff Working Papers 07-13, Bank of Canada.
    2. Lange, Ronald H., 2013. "The Canadian macroeconomy and the yield curve: A dynamic latent factor approach," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 261-274.
    3. Lange, Ronald H., 2014. "The small open macroeconomy and the yield curve: A state-space representation," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-21.
    4. Margaux MacDonald & Michal Popiel, 2016. "Unconventional monetary policy in a small open economy," Working Papers 1367, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    5. Melnikov, Alexander & Romaniuk, Yulia, 2006. "Evaluating the performance of Gompertz, Makeham and Lee-Carter mortality models for risk management with unit-linked contracts," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 310-329, December.
    6. Landon, Stuart, 2009. "The capitalization of taxes in bond prices: Evidence from the market for Government of Canada bonds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2175-2184, December.
    7. Martin M. Andreasen & Jens H.E. Christensen & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1809. "Term Structure Analysis with Big Data," CREATES Research Papers 2017-31, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    8. David Jamieson Bolder, 2006. "Modelling Term-Structure Dynamics for Risk Management: A Practitioner's Perspective," Staff Working Papers 06-48, Bank of Canada.
    9. Lange, Ronald H., 2017. "The expected real yield and inflation components of the nominal yield curve," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-18.
    10. Lazar Fred & Prisman Eliezer Z., 2012. "Constructing Historical Yield Curves from Very Sparse Spot Rates: A Methodology and Examples from the 1920s Canadian Market," Journal of Business Valuation and Economic Loss Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-24, May.
    11. Fousseni Chabi-Yo & Jun Yang, 2007. "A No-Arbitrage Analysis of Macroeconomic Determinants of Term Structures and the Exchange Rate," Staff Working Papers 07-21, Bank of Canada.
    12. Têtu Alexandre & Lai Van Son & Soumaré Issouf & Gendron Michel, 2015. "Hedging Flood Losses Using Cat Bonds," Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 149-184, July.
    13. Andraž, Grum, 2006. "Razvitost slovenskega trga dolžniškega kapitala in ocenitev krivulje donosnosti," MPRA Paper 4876, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Narayan Bulusu & Sermin Gungor, 2018. "Government of Canada Securities in the Cash, Repo and Securities Lending Markets," Discussion Papers 18-4, Bank of Canada.
    15. Lange, Ronald H., 2015. "International long-term yields and monetary policy in a small open economy: The case of Canada," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 292-310.
    16. repec:eee:reveco:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:174-192 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Wong, Edwin & Lucia, Kathlyn & Price, Stephanie & Startz, Richard, 2011. "The changing relation between the Canadian and U.S. yield curves," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 965-981, October.
    18. René Garcia & Richard Luger, 2007. "The Canadian macroeconomy and the yield curve: an equilibrium-based approach," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 561-583, May.
    19. Antonio Diez de Los Rios, 2015. "A New Linear Estimator for Gaussian Dynamic Term Structure Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 282-295, April.
    20. Jun Yang, 2008. "Macroeconomic Determinants of the Term Structure of Corporate Spreads," Staff Working Papers 08-29, Bank of Canada.
    21. David Bolder & Shudan Liu, 2007. "Examining Simple Joint Macroeconomic and Term-Structure Models: A Practitioner's Perspective," Staff Working Papers 07-49, Bank of Canada.

    More about this item


    Financial markets; Interest rates; Econometric and statistical methods;

    JEL classification:

    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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