UPDATE 2-Bank of Canada aims to develop stress test framework

Fri May 6, 2016 1:38pm EDT
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(Adds comments on government role)

By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA May 6 (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada plans to develop a framework for stress tests that will incorporate different sectors of the financial system to enhance its contribution to macroprudential oversight in Canada, Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri said on Friday.

In a speech focused on what central banks can do to contribute to financial stability, Schembri said the system-wide framework would cover banking, insurance and investment funds, as well as financial markets and financial infrastructures.

Central banks must rethink their role in financial stability in light of the severity of the global financial crisis, he said.

Although the best contribution central banks can make to financial stability is stability in inflation and the economy, Schembri noted, "this is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for financial stability."

While Canada emerged relatively unscathed from the credit crisis, the subsequent housing boom has raised concerns that overly hot prices and heavily indebted homeowners pose a risk to the system.

Asked about how much responsibility the Bank of Canada bears, Schembri said the Canadian government is ultimately responsible for financial system stability, though the central bank plays an important role through the advisory committees it sits on.

"The level of cooperation is relatively high and we're able to respond fairly nimbly to situations where vulnerabilities are cropping up," Schembri said, pointing to last year's mortgage changes by the government to cool the housing sector.   Continued...