CANADA IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY in .NET

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CANADA IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
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anada provides very little autonomous interest-rate history. In the nineteenth century, there was little or no organized bond market in Canada. The country was then being developed by foreign capital, chiefly English. A period of very rapid growth from 1900 until World War I was also financed largely by the influx of some $2.5 billion of foreign capital, over half of it from London. After 1914, Canada turned briefly to New York to help finance war requirements. When the United States entered the war in 1917, Canada was for the first time forced to rely on her own financial resources. (538) Canada s war effort was large. She supplied some 640,000 troops for World War I, which cost her $1.5 billion. The Victory Loan campaigns at 5% and 51 2% led to the development of a domestic bond market. In the drive of October 1918, more than 1 million people subscribed $700 million. Before this time, Dominion of Canada bonds were largely sterling obligations, and their rates belong to the history of the English market rather than to that of the Canadian market. Although there was a local market for Canadian provincial obligations before World War I and a local market for Dominion obligations after World War I, both markets were very limited until World War II. A Canadian money market was an even later development. The Bank of Canada was not organized until 1935. It was not until the 1950 s that a modern money market based on a day-to-day credit was organized. Canada, which achieved a large measure of political independence in 1867, when the British North America Act created the Dominion, was late in achieving financial independence. No doubt the enormous opportunities
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EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA SINCE 1900
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afforded for profitable investment in Canada so far exceeded the local savings of a small population that dependence on foreign capital seemed natural and inevitable. The lack of an early Canadian interest-rate history is no doubt due to the same conditions that deprived the American colonies of much of an interest-rate history. The land was primitive, but the people were not. They brought with them the sophisticated financial techniques of modern Europe and employed them as rapidly as their financial resources would permit. In the meantime, they financed in London and New York. When local Canadian markets and rates of interest finally emerged, they provided no novelties. The credit forms were the familiar ones of Europe and America. The range of interest rates, similar to that of the other countries studied, tended to be moderately higher than interest rates in the United States. Canada has been accorded a separate chapter here, not because her interest rate history has been novel or important, but because her markets are now rapidly achieving independence and importance. Before the organization of the Dominion, Canadian sterling obligations sold at high yields in the London market. In 1860 Canada Consolidated Sterling 5s were floated in London, to yield 5.12%, which was 191 basis points more than the prevailing yield on British consols. A few years later British Columbia and Vancouver Island brought out sterling 5s. After 1867, the obligations of the new Dominion commanded lower yields. Quotation on a sterling issue of Canada 5s due in 1903, and not guaranteed by the government of the United Kingdom, provided market yields as follows, at annual high prices: (539)
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CANADA IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
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Lesser Canadian administrative units paid higher rates in London. In 1874 Quebec sold its first debt issue; these were sterling bonds offered to yield 5.17%. In 1874 the city of Toronto sold sterling 6s, and in 1877 British Columbia sold sterling 6s. In 1879 Quebec floated its first U.S. dollar loan; these were 5s due in 1908, offered to yield 5%, at a time when U.S. government bonds were yielding 3.96%, New England municipals were yielding 4.22%, and best American corporate bonds were yielding 4.77%. Between 1880 and 1900, high-grade bond rates declined in London, and Canadian credit improved further. In 1900 an issue of Canadian sterling perpetual 3s was selling in London at a small premium to yield 2.97%, which was only 53 basis points more than the yield of consols. The yields of this sterling issue are reported in Table 100 as an indication of the rates of interest Canada paid abroad on its best credits. Although an undeveloped country, Canada was enjoying the low rates of interest then prevailing in London. These sterling yields were a part of the history of English interest rates, not of Canadian interest rates; they should not be linked with, and compared to, later Canadian internal yields as though they formed a continuous history. Until a market developed in 1920 for Dominion internal obligations, a history of Canadian bond yields must rely on the yields of internal provincial bonds. The history of Canadian interest rates in the twentieth century is summarized in Table 75. Prime bond yields are represented by two series, neither of which covers the entire period, but which, taken together, provide a reasonable indication of levels and trends: (a) annual average yields of the most popular bond issues of the province of Ontario from 1900 through 1943; and (b) annual average yields of long-term Dominion bonds from 1920 through 1989. The table also contains annual averages from 1917 through 1989 of Canadian real estate mortgage rates. These correspond roughly with trust company mortgage rates but were often half a percent or so above life insurance mortgage rates. Short-term Canadian interest rates are represented by three series: (a) annual averages of the discount rate of the Bank of Canada from 1935; (b) annual averages of the Treasury bill tender rate from 1934, which covered all bills until 1955, and after that year covered only three-month bills; and (c) annual averages of the yields of two-year Dominion bonds from 1925. Chart 76 pictures the decennial averages of the province of Ontario bond yields and of the Dominion long-term bond yields. Chart 77 compares annual averages of prime U.S. corporate bond yields with annual averages of province of Ontario bond yields from 1900 through 1943 and of Dominion bond yields from 1935 through 1989. The use of Ontario bond yields as a substitute for Dominion bond yields at times when Dominions were not available is justified by the very high credit standing of the province. In years when both yields were available, the difference was rarely large, and its variations were probably
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