August 2016 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.

Resources

  • Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited announced that a scheduled major turnaround at Horizon, north of Fort McMurray, and tie-in of major components of the Horizon Phase 2B expansion were largely completed, with synthetic crude oil production targeted to resume on August 11, 2016. The company also said that Phase 2B is targeted to start up in October 2016 with full production targeted in November 2016.
  • Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. announced it had decided to temporarily suspend bitumen production at its Hangingstone Demonstration Project Area, which was shut-down in May in response to wildfires in the Fort McMurray area. The company also announced that it is proceeding with construction work at its nearby Hangingstone Expansion project, and is aiming towards first production in 2017.
  • Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. and Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (EEP) announced that EEP and Marathon Petroleum Corporation of Ohio have entered into an agreement to acquire a 36.75% interest in the Bakken Pipeline System for USD $2 billion. Once completed, the Bakken pipeline project will consist of approximately 1,172 miles of crude oil pipeline from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, and more than 700 miles of pipeline converted to crude service from Patoka to Nederland, Texas. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016 subject to certain conditions.
  • Calgary-based Inter Pipeline Ltd. announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the Canadian natural gas liquids midstream businesses of Oklahoma-based The William Companies Inc. and Williams Partners L.P. for $1.35 billion. Inter Pipeline said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016 subject to approval under the Competition Act and other customary closing conditions. 
  • Vancouver-based Silver Wheaton Corp. announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Silver Wheaton (Caymans) Ltd., has agreed to acquire from a subsidiary of Vale S.A. of Brazil an additional amount of gold equal to 25% of the life of mine gold production from its Salobo mine in Brazil for USD $800 million. Silver Wheaton said this acquisition is in addition to the 50% of Salobo gold production that it is currently entitled to, and is effective as of July 1, 2016.
  • Vernon, British Columbia-based Tolko Industries Ltd., a manufacturer of forest products, announced it will close its operations in The Pas, Manitoba on December 2nd, 2016. The company said its operations in The Pas employ 332 people.

Manufacturing

  • Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. announced that it had restructured a purchase agreement for its C Series aircraft signed in 2013 with Moscow-based Ilyushin Finance Co. Bombardier said the firm order has been modified from 32 CS300 aircraft and options for an additional 10 CS300 aircraft to 20 CS300 aircraft and one Q400 aircraft with options for five additional Q400 aircraft.
  • Bombardier Transportation announced that Metrolinx, the Province of Ontario's regional transportation agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, has exercised options for the purchase of an additional 125 next-generation Bombardier BiLevel commuter rail cars for service with GO Transit in Toronto. The company said the order is valued at $428 million and that production is scheduled to start in Thunder Bay in the second quarter of 2018 with final delivery expected in the first quarter of 2020.

Pharmaceuticals

  • Toronto-based Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc. and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Massachusetts, announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which Sunovion would acquire Cynapsus for approximately $820 million. The companies said they expect the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2016 subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Retail

  • Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc. announced it plans to open Nordstrom Rack stores in Calgary and Toronto. The company said the stores are scheduled to open in the spring of 2018.
  • Laval-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. announced a definitive merger agreement with CST Brands, Inc. of Texas under which Couche-Tard would acquire CST for a total enterprise value of approximately USD $4.4 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in early calendar year 2017 subject to stakeholder and regulatory approvals. Couche-Tard also announced it had entered into an agreement with Red Deer-based Parkland Fuel Corporation to sell certain Canadian assets of CST after the merger for approximately USD $750 million.
  • Brampton-based Loblaw Companies Limited and Kelowna-based QHR Corporation, a healthcare technology company, announced a definitive agreement under which Loblaw would acquire all of the outstanding common shares of QHR for approximately $170 million. The companies said they anticipate the transaction will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2016 subject to QHR shareholder and court approval. 

Recreation and tourism

  • Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, Inc. and Colorado-based Vail Resorts, Inc. announced that they have entered into a strategic business combination under which Vail Resorts would acquire Whistler Blackcomb for approximately $1.4 billion. The transaction is expected to close in fall 2016 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Other news

  • The City of Toronto issued a Private Transportation Company (PTC) license to Uber. With the issuance of Uber's licence, the City will begin to screen and issue PTC driver licences to individuals performing vehicle-for-hire services.
  • The Governments of Canada and Ontario announced a bilateral agreement that will provide more than $2.97 billion in combined funding – by the Government of Canada, Ontario, and municipalities – for infrastructure projects across the province. The Government of Canada said it would provide up to 50% of the funding through a new federal infrastructure program, the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

United States and other international news

  • The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted for a package of measures, which included: a 25 basis point cut in the Bank Rate to 0.25%; a new Term Funding Scheme to reinforce the pass-through of the cut in the Bank Rate; the purchase of up to £10 billion of UK corporate bonds; and an expansion of the asset purchase scheme for UK government bonds of £60 billion, taking the total stock of these asset purchases to £435 billion. The last change in the Bank Rate was a 50 basis point cut to 0.5% in March 2009.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.50%. The last change in the cash rate was a 25 basis points reduction in May 2016.
  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lowered the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, by 25 basis points to 2.0%. The last change in the Official Cash Rate was a 25 basis point reduction in March 2016.
  • Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and New-Jersey based Jet.com, Inc., an e-commerce company, announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for Walmart to acquire Jet for approximately USD $3 billion. Walmart said that the acquisition is expected to close this calendar year.
  • Ohio-based Macy's, Inc. announced it intends to close approximately 100 full-line stores. The company said that most of these closures will occur early in 2017 and that the locations of the stores to be closed will be announced at a later date.
  • California-based Cisco Systems, Inc. announced it will eliminate up to 5,500 positions, representing approximately 7 percent of its global workforce. The company said it will take action under this plan starting in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • New York-based Pfizer Inc. and Medivation, Inc. of San Francisco announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Pfizer would acquire Medivation, a biopharmaceutical company, for a total enterprise value of approximately USD $14 billion. Pfizer said it expected to complete the acquisition in the third or fourth quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Medivation common stock.
  • Ohio-based Abercrombie & Fitch Co. announced it anticipates closing up to 60 stores in the U.S. during the fiscal year through natural lease expirations. The company also said it plans to open approximately 15 new stores, including approximately 10 in international markets, primarily China.
  • On August 12th, the Governor of Louisiana declared a State of Emergency for the entire state of Louisiana as a result of severe weather. The declaration is in effect until September 10th, 2016.
  • The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5th until August 21st.

Financial market news

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $44.70 per barrel on August 31st, up from USD $41.60 at the end of July. The Canadian dollar closed at 76.24 cents U.S. on August 31st, similar to the closing value of 76.59 cents U.S. at the end of July. The S&P/TSX closed at 14,597.95 on August 31st, largely unchanged compared to the end of July.
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