January 2019 edition

This module provides a concise summary of selected Canadian economic events, as well as international and financial market developments by calendar month. It is intended to provide contextual information only to support users of the economic data published by Statistics Canada. In identifying major events or developments, Statistics Canada is not suggesting that these have a material impact on the published economic data in a particular reference month.

All information presented here is obtained from publicly available news and information sources, and does not reflect any protected information provided to Statistics Canada by survey respondents.


  • The Government of Alberta announced on January 30th that it is increasing the limit on oil production in February and March to 3.63 million barrels per day, a 75,000-barrel per day increase from the daily limit in January of 3.56 million barrels.
  • Calgary-based Crescent Point Energy Corp. announced a 2019 capital budget of $1.20 billion to $1.30 billion, a reduction of approximately $500 million compared to the prior year.
  • Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced that operations at the SeaRose floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel were in the process of being restarted following a shut in on November 15th, 2018, and that the first well had been brought online on January 30th. Husky said that operations at the Central Drill Centre will be restarted in a phased approach.
  • Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation and Goldcorp Inc. of Vancouver announced they had entered into a definitive agreement in which Newmont will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Goldcorp in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at USD $10 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals as well as other customary closing conditions.
  • Vancouver-based Canfor Corporation announced that it will be temporarily curtailing operations at three British Columbia mills due to log supply constraints, log costs and current market conditions. The company said that operations at its sawmill in Vavenby will be curtailed for six weeks from February 11 to March 22, 2019, while its sawmills in Houston and Mackenzie will be curtailed for one week each in Q1. Canfor said these curtailments are in addition to the production capacity that was curtailed in Q4 2018 and early Q1 2019, as previously announced.
  • Vancouver-based Imperial Metals Corporation announced that due to lower copper prices, operations at the Mount Polley mine, located in south-central British Columbia, will be suspended.

Finance and insurance

  • Winnipeg-based Great-West Lifeco Inc. announced its Colorado-based subsidiary, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company had reached an agreement to sell, via reinsurance, substantially all of its individual life insurance and annuity business to Protective Life Insurance Company of Alabama for an after-tax transaction value of approximately $1.6 billion. Great-West Lifeco said the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019, subject to regulatory and customary closing conditions.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.75%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in October 2018.
  • St. John’s-based Fortis Inc. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust to sell its 51% interest in the Waneta Expansion Hydroelectric Project in British Columbia for approximately $1 billion. Fortis said it expects the transaction to close within 90 days, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and the receipt of routine approvals.
  • California-based Gymboree Group, Inc. announced it had voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. and for Gymboree, Inc. to commence proceedings under the Bankruptcy Insolvency Act in Canada. The company said it would wind-down its Gymboree, Gymboree Outlet and Crazy 8 businesses and close those stores.

United States and other international news

  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds interest rate at 2.25% to 2.50%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in December 2018.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) left the interest rate on the main refinancing operations of the Eurosystem unchanged at 0.00%, and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility unchanged at 0.25% and -0.40%, respectively.
  • The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced it will continue to apply a -0.1% interest rate to the Policy-Rate Balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the BoJ. The BoJ also said it would continue to purchase Japanese government bonds (JGB) so that 10-year JGB yields will remain at around zero percent.
  • On January 25th, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a deal had been reached to re-open the federal government for three weeks until February 15th, 2019.
  • On January 28th, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) and that, as a result, all property and interests in property of PdVSA subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
  • On January 15th, the U.K. House of Commons voted against the Government’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union.
  • New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Celgene Corporation of New Jersey announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Bristol-Myers Squibb will acquire Celgene in a cash and stock transaction with an equity value of approximately USD $74 billion. The companies said they expect to complete the transaction in the third quarter of 2019, subject to approval by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
  • Indiana-based Eli Lilly and Company and Loxo Oncology, Inc. of Connecticut announced a definitive agreement for Lilly to acquire Loxo Oncology for approximately USD $8.0 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology’s common stock.
  • Michigan-based Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG of Germany announced the first formal agreements in a broad alliance under which the companies intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022. The companies also announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles.
  • Germany-based Bombardier Transportation announced it had signed a contract for 113 Multilevel III commuter rail cars with the New Jersey Transit Corporation. Bombardier said the contract is valued at USD $669 million and includes options for up to 886 additional cars.
  • California-based Tesla, Inc. announced it was reducing its full-time employee headcount by approximately 7%.
  • California-based PG&E Corporation announced it, and its primary operating subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, had filed petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. PG&E said it had also filed a motion seeking interim and final approval of the Court to enter into an agreement for USD $5.5 billion in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $53.79 per barrel on January 31st, up from $45.41 at the end of December. Following gains early in the month, Western Canadian Select crude oil traded at over USD $40.00 per barrel throughout much of January. The Canadian dollar closed at 76.08 cents U.S. on January 31st, up from 73.30 cents U.S. at the end of December. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 15,540.60 on January 31st, up from a closing value of 14,322.86 at the end of December.