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.
- Calgary-based Sanjel Corporation announced that it has signed a definitive agreement for the sale of its Canadian fracturing, coiled tubing and cementing assets to STEP Energy Services Ltd. of Calgary. Sanjel also announced the sale of its U.S. fracturing, coiled tubing and cementing assets to Denver-based Liberty Oilfield Services of Colorado.
- Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. announced that its indirect subsidiary, Calgary-based Plains Midstream Canada ULC, has entered into a definitive agreement with Westcoast Energy Inc. of Vancouver to acquire its Canadian NGL business for approximately $200 million. The company said it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.
- Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced it had reached an agreement under which 65% of its ownership interest in select midstream assets in the Lloydminster region of Alberta and Saskatchewan will be sold to Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited and Power Assets Holdings Limited of Hong Kong, for $1.7 billion. The assets include approximately 1,900 kilometres of pipeline and 4.1 million barrels of oil storage capacity. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
- Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation announced that it has been chosen to build, own and operate the Tula - Villa de Reyes pipeline in Mexico. TransCanada said it expects to invest approximately USD $550 million in the 420 km pipeline and anticipates an in-service date of early 2018.
- Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. announced it had agreed to acquire a further position in Syncrude Canada Ltd, via the purchase of the 5 percent interest in Syncrude from Murphy Oil Corporation's Canadian subsidiary, for approximately $937 million. Suncor said that the transaction is anticipated to close by the end of the second quarter of 2016 subject to regulatory approval.
- Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp. announced it was suspending production at its Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan and curtailing production at its U.S. operations. The company said it expects the changes to result in a reduction of about 500 positions at its Rabbit Lake operation.
- Calgary-based Cenovus Energy Inc. announced it has largely completed previously announced workforce reductions for 2016 of 440 staff, leaving the company with approximately 31% fewer staff than it had at the end of 2014.
- The National Energy Board announced it would recommend conditional project approval of Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Program to the federal Governor in Council. Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. said that the project involves replacing all segments of the aging Line 3 pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta and Superior, Wisconsin. The company said it anticipates an in-service date of 2019 for the project, pending U.S. regulatory and Canadian government approvals.
- Montreal-based Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, Inc. announced that the parties have executed a firm agreement for the sale and purchase of 75 CS100 aircraft with options for an additional 50 CS100 aircraft. The company said that based on the list price for the aircraft, the firm agreement is valued at approximately USD $5.6 billion, and that deliveries are scheduled to commence in spring 2018. Bombardier also announced earlier in the month that Air Baltic Corporation AS of Latvia had converted its remaining seven option aircraft for the CS300 to firm.
- Brampton-based Loblaw Companies Limited announced it will invest approximately $1 billion into its Canadian retail business in 2016. The company said the investment includes construction projects for about 50 new stores and 150 renovations to existing stores. The company also said that the investment is expected to create nearly 20,000 jobs through store staffing and construction.
- Montreal-based Le Chateau announced it is planning to close about 40 stores over the next three years, with approximately 14 of these closures to be in 2016.
- General Motors of Canada Ltd. confirmed it had completed its purchase of a seven-acre site in eastern Toronto for a new Toronto GM Mobility Campus. The company said it plans to develop the site as a multi-use facility comprised of office space, research and development facilities, and GM vehicle sales and services.
- Ottawa-based Mitel Networks Corporation announced it had entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Polycom, Inc. of California for approximately $1.96 billion. Mitel said it expects the deal to close in the third quarter of 2016, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- The Bank of Canada announced on April 13th that it was maintaining the target for the overnight rate at 0.5%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point reduction announced in July 2015.
- The government of Alberta tabled its 2016 budget on April 14th, which included measures to increase jobs and economic diversification (including tax cuts for small businesses), support for families, and investments in infrastructure and green technologies. Real GDP in Alberta is forecasted to contract 1.4% in 2016 while the 2016-17 deficit is expected to be $10.4 billion.
- The government of Newfoundland and Labrador tabled its 2016 budget on April 14th, which included measures to increase revenue, including increases in the HST rate, personal income tax rates, the general Corporate Income Tax rate, and fees. The government also announced expenditure reductions. Real GDP in the province is forecasted to grow 1.0% in 2016 while the 2016-17 deficit is expected to be $1.8 billion.
- The government of Nova Scotia introduced a balanced budget for 2016 on April 19th, which included investments in opportunities for growth, education, youth, and job training.
- The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board announced that one of its wholly owned subsidiaries entered into an agreement to purchase 40% of Glencore Agricultural Products from Glencore plc of Switzerland for USD $2.5 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016 subject to regulatory approvals.
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 0.25% to 0.50%. The last change in the target range for the federal funds interest rate was a 25 basis point increase announced in December 2015.
- The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.5% and to maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £375 billion. The last change in the Bank Rate was a 50 basis point reduction announced in March 2009.
- The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep its key interest rates unchanged and announced the Bank's purchases of corporate bonds will begin in June 2016. The decision to add corporate bonds to its asset purchase program was announced at the last Governing Council meeting in March.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia maintained the cash rate at 2.0%.
- Sweden's Riksbank left its main interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at -0.5% and added SEK 45 billion to its quantitative easing program, bringing its total asset purchase to SEK 245 billion by the end of 2016.
- The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, at 2.25%. The Bank had lowered the Official Cash Rate by 25 basis points in March.
- The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced it would continue to apply a -0.1% interest rate to the Policy-Rate Balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the Bank. The BoJ lowered the rate to -0.1% in January.
- Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, Inc. announced it has approved a definitive merger agreement to purchase Virgin America, Inc. for approximately USD $4.0 billion. The company said it expects to complete the transaction no later than January 1, 2017, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- California-based Intel Corporation announced it would reduce its global workforce by up to 12,000 positions by mid-2017.
- New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. announced 36,000 wireline associates in the eastern United States called a strike on April 13th.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $45.92 per barrel on April 29th, up from USD $38.34 at the end of March, and up from the recent low of USD $26.21 on February 11th.
- The Canadian dollar closed at 79.69 cents U.S. on April 29th, up from 77.00 cents U.S. at the end of March, and up from the recent low of 68.69 cents U.S. on January 19th.
- The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed at 13,951.45 on April 29th, up from 13,494.36 on March 31st. The index has increased 17.8% since the recent low on January 20th.