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 Kinder Morgan Canada Limited announced on April 8th that it is suspending all non-essential activities and related spending on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The company said that, under current circumstances, it will not commit additional shareholder resources to the Project, and that it will consult with various stakeholders in an effort to reach agreements by May 31st that may allow the Project to proceed.
- On April 16th, the Government of Alberta introduced new legislation that would give the province the power to restrict the export of natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels across its borders. The Government said that, if passed, the legislation would give it authority to, if necessary, require any company exporting energy products from Alberta to obtain a licence, and that export restrictions could be imposed on pipelines, as well as transport via rail or truck.
- On April 23rd, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced Bill 126, The Energy Export Act, for first reading that would establish a permitting process for individuals or corporations seeking to export oil, gas, and refined petroleum products outside the province.
- On April 26th, the Government of British Columbia announced it had submitted a reference question to the B.C. Court of Appeal asking the court to review proposed amendments to the Environmental Management Act that would give the Province authority to regulate impacts of heavy oils, like diluted bitumen, transported through the province.
- The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) announced it had granted an Approval to Drill a Well (ADW) to BP Canada Energy Group ULC (BP Canada), and had authorized the commencement of drilling operations for BP Canada's Aspy D-11 exploration well approximately 330 kilometers off the coast of Halifax.
- The State of Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings announced that the Administrative Law Judge recommends that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission grant Calgary-based Enbridge Energy's Application for a Certificate of Need, but only if the Commission also selects Route Alternative 07 (in-trench replacement) as the designated route for Enbridge's proposed Line 3 Replacement Project.
- Calgary-based Vermilion Energy Inc. announced it had entered into an arrangement agreement to acquire Spartan Energy Corp., also of Calgary, for a total consideration of approximately $1.4 billion. The company said the arrangement is subject to Spartan shareholder and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close on or about June 15, 2018.
- Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced a series of planned turnarounds, including a five-week partial turnaround at the Lloydminster Upgrader in the second quarter; a five-week turnaround at the Superior Refinery in the second quarter; a three-week turnaround at Tucker in the third quarter; a five-week partial turnaround at the Lima Refinery in the fourth quarter; a three-week turnaround at the SeaRose floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel expected to start in the second quarter; and a four-week turnaround at the Terra Nova FPSO in the third quarter.
- Texas-based Fluor Corporation announced that its joint venture partnership with JGC Corporation of Japan was selected as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for LNG Canada's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Kitimat, British Columbia. The company said the award is conditional on a positive final investment decision later this year.
- Concord, Ontario-based Toys "R" Us (Canada) Ltd. announced it had received both U.S. and Canadian court approval for its sale to Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited of Toronto for $300 million. Toys "R" Us said the transaction is expected to close this quarter, subject to customary closing conditions, including remaining court and applicable regulatory approvals.
- The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.25%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in January 2018.
- The Government of Prince Edward Island tabled Budget 2018 on April 6th, which included new investments in health care, education and housing, a small business tax cut, and a $1,000 increase in the Basic Personal Amount over two years. The Government forecasts a $1.5 million surplus in 2018-19 and GDP growth of 1.7% in 2018.
- The Government of Saskatchewan tabled its 2018-19 Budget on April 10th, which included increased spending on health care, social services and assistance, protection of persons and property, and education. The Government forecasts a $365 million deficit in 2018-19 and GDP growth of 1.3% in 2018.
- Newfoundland and Labrador's minimum wage increased from $11.00 per hour to $11.15 per hour effective April 1st.
- Prince Edward Island's minimum wage increased from $11.25 per hour to $11.55 per hour on April 1st.
- New Brunswick's minimum wage increased from $11.00 per hour to $11.25 per hour on April 1st.
- Nova Scotia's minimum wage increased from $10.85 per hour to $11.00 per hour for experienced employees on April 1st.
- The Northwest Territories' minimum wage increased from $12.50 per hour to $13.46 per hour on April 1st.
- The Yukon's minimum wage increased from $11.32 per hour to $11.51 per hour on April 1st.
- The Government of Ontario announced that, effective April 1st, it is restricting its government entities from entering into certain procurement contracts with suppliers from New York State, in response to New York State's recent "Buy American" legislation. The Government said that should New York agree to repeal its "Buy American" restrictions against Ontario, it would immediately repeal its regulations against New York as well.
- The Government of Saskatchewan announced it had launched a constitutional reference case in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to challenge the federal government's ability to impose a carbon tax on the province.
- The Government of British Columbia announced it had introduced legislation, the Cannabis Distribution Act, that will establish provincial control over the sale, supply and possession of non-medical cannabis, and establishes licensing of private cannabis retailers. The Government also said the act outlines restrictions on the possession, personal cultivation and consumption of cannabis by adults and prohibitions for minors.
- U.S. President Donald Trump issued two proclamations on April 30th authorizing modifications of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, which extended the temporary exemptions of Canada, Mexico, and the European Union from aluminum and steel tariffs proclaimed in Proclamations 9704 and 9705 respectively, until June 1st, 2018.
- Washington-based Amazon.com, Inc. announced plans to expand its Vancouver Tech Hub and create an additional 3,000 jobs in fields including e-commerce technology, cloud computing, and machine learning. The company said it will expand into a new location in QuadReal's The Post redevelopment when the project opens in 2022.
- Ottawa-based Mitel Networks Corp. announced it had signed a definitive arrangement agreement to be acquired by an investor group led by affiliates of Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P. of the United Kingdom in a transaction valued at approximately $2.0 billion. Mitel said the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of shareholder, regulatory and court approvals.
- Montreal-based Transcontinental Inc. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the business of Coveris Americas of Illinois for approximately $1.72 billion. Transcontinental said the acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of its fiscal year 2018, subject to customary closing conditions and receipt of applicable antitrust approvals.
- Toronto-based The Stars Group Inc. announced it had agreed to acquire Sky Betting & Gaming of the United Kingdom in a transaction valued at $4.7 billion. The Stars Group said it anticipates completing the transaction in the third quarter of 2018 conditional upon customary approvals from the Toronto Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and certain gaming and other regulatory authorities, as well as the completion of other customary closing conditions.
United States and other international news
- 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 ECB also confirmed that net asset purchases will continue at a monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September 2018.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia maintained the cash rate at 1.50%. The last change in the cash rate was a 25 basis point reduction in August 2016.
- Sweden's Riksbank left its main interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at -0.5%. The last change in the repo rate was a 15 basis point cut in February 2016.
- The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on April 3rd published a proposed list of products imported from China that could be subject to additional tariffs. The initial list included approximately 1,300 tariff lines valued at an estimated USD $50 billion. The USTR said that sectors subject to the proposed tariffs include aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery, and that the list will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, including a hearing. The Chinese government on April 4th published a list of 106 goods imported from the United States that could be subject to additional tariffs, valued at approximately USD $50 billion.
- The European Commission announced that the European Union (EU) and Mexico have reached a new agreement in principle on trade, part of a broader, modernized EU-Mexico Global Agreement. The Commission said that, under the new agreement, practically all trade in goods between the EU and Mexico will be duty free, including in the agricultural sector.
- Michigan-based Ford Motor Company announced that by 2020 almost 90% of the Ford portfolio in North America will be trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles, and that, given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America. Ford also announced it was planning to spend USD $29 billion in capital from 2019 to 2022, $5 billion lower than its previous announcement of $34 billion over the same period.
- Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Andeavor of Texas announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Marathon will acquire all of Andeavor's outstanding shares, representing a total equity value of USD $23.3 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- Washington-based T-Mobile US and Sprint Corporation of Kansas announced they had entered into a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction for a total implied enterprise value of approximately USD $146 billion for the combined company. The companies said the transaction is expected to close no later than the first half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $68.57 on April 30th, up from $64.94 at the end of March. The Canadian dollar closed at 77.91 cents U.S. on April 30th, up from 77.56 cents U.S. on March 29th. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,607.88 on April 30th, up from a closing value of 15,367.30 at the end of March.