12 September 2007, 17:58  A lack of transparency is one of the primary causes of the market turmoil

A lack of transparency within financial markets is one of the primary causes of the ongoing market turmoil, said David Dodge, the Bank of Canada's governor. The credit crisis, triggered in August by a slump in the US subprime mortgage market, is due in part to a lack of clarity over the amount of risk inherent in certain financial instruments being traded. "Packaging and selling loans with a structure that allowed higher-risk assets to take on the qualities of a lower-risk loan fuelled the demand for higher-risk assets and embedded significant leverage," Dodge said in prepared remarks in London. He said he welcomes the re-pricing of risk, but that steps need to be taken to improve transparency in order to avoid worse crises in the future. "Vendors of financial instruments need to structure these investments in such a way that market players can clearly see what they are buying," he said. Dodge also defended the BoC's move to provide added liquidity to financial markets when the credit crisis began in August, but said that it was meant to maintain stability and did not herald a shift in its longer-term views. "The actions that we took to provide liquidity to support the smooth operation of financial markets did not in any way signal a change in our monetary policy," Dodge said. The BoC on Sept 5 left its key interest rate unchanged at 4.50 pct. With regards to the Canadian economy, Dodge acknowledged that the slowdown in the US "implies weaker demand for Canadian exports than had been earlier expected". However, this may be offset somewhat by the fact that Canadian economic growth in the first half of the year proved stronger than previously forecast. "On the upside, there is a possibility that household demand in Canada could be stronger than anticipated, while on the downside, the ongoing adjustment in the US housing sector could be more severe and spill over to the US economy more broadly," Dodge said.

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