Economic news

February 3, 2016

Statistics Canada is about to add some extra context to the economic intelligence available to data users.

Tomorrow, Statistics Canada will release Canadian Economic News (CEN), a curated monthly selection of economic events and market developments. It will cover broad interests—major business announcements, policy rate changes, budget announcements and financial market developments—that were in the news in the previous month.

CEN will be released monthly on StatCan’s website, through the feature “Behind the data.

Setting the context

The information that CEN highlights comes entirely from public sources and does not include any protected information that has been provided to Statistics Canada by survey respondents. It is the kind of headline news that you might see on the front page or in the business section of a newspaper.

The content highlighted in CEN has been selected by analysts who work in Statistics Canada's current economic analysis group. And, while the individual news items may be known, CEN is designed as a monthly summary of major developments. The objective of CEN is to provide contextual information for analysts, media and other data users to support their assessments of short- and longer-term changes in the economy.

While most of the news items highlighted will have a national focus, the team will also be mindful of the relative impact that economic events have on different regions―plant start-ups and closings may have a larger impact in smaller communities, compared with similar events in a large city.

Guy Gellatly, who leads the team that is developing CEN, says Statistics Canada is not attempting to draw a direct line between this economic news and the data released every month by the agency.

"But the collection of events and information may be something that users want to keep on their radar screens and take into account when they look at the numbers," Mr. Gellatly adds. "It also makes it easier for analysts to look back and consider the context for today's numbers. We see real value in having this information in an inventory, so if you are looking at broader movements over a quarter or a six-month period, you can look back and remind yourself of what was happening early on in that period..."

Providing new tools

Month to month, CEN is not meant to be comprehensive. The selected news may focus on certain topics based on developments that month. For example, oil and gas, retail, or manufacturing news could be noted.

So what might be highlighted in economic news?

  • major corporate announcements
  • policy announcements from governments
  • policy interest rate changes
  • exchange rate movements
  • crude oil prices
  • changes to provincial credit ratings
  • weather events that might affect businesses and consumers
  • U.S. and international news that may be relevant to the Canadian economy

The absence of a particular event from the inventory should not be interpreted that the event is not relevant or significant to current economic conditions.

For Statistics Canada data users, CEN provides another tool to shed some additional and contextual light on Canada's economy. "It is in the spirit of providing different sets of tools for users to support analysis," Mr. Gellatly says.

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