December 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.


  • Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited announced its 2017 capital budget is targeted at approximately $3.890 billion. The company said it anticipates total 2016 capital expenditures to be $3.845 billion.
  • Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced its capital expenditure program for 2017 will be in the range of $2.6 billion to $2.7 billion, up from about $2.0 billion in 2016. The company also announced it had sanctioned several new projects, including three new Lloyd thermal projects with total design capacity of about 30,000 barrels per day at Dee Valley, Spruce Lake North and Spruce Lake Central, with first production for all three expected in 2020.
  • Calgary-based Crescent Point Energy Corp. announced a $1.45 billion capital expenditures budget for 2017, up from its 2016 capital expenditures guidance of $1.1 billion. The company said approximately $1.29 billion, or 89% of its 2017 capital budget, has been allocated to drilling and development activities, including the drilling of approximately 670 net wells.
  • Calgary-based Cenovus Energy Inc. announced it plans to invest between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion in 2017, a 24% increase compared with the company's forecast capital spending for 2016. The company said the 2017 budget includes capital to resume construction of the phase G expansion at Cenovus's Christina Lake oil sands project.
  • Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd., will move forward with a $655 million expansion of its NGTL System, the Saddle West Project, which is expected to increase total natural gas transportation capacity by approximately 355 million cubic feet per day. The company said that it expects construction to start in 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Calgary-based Athabasca Oil Corporation announced it had entered into agreements with Statoil ASA of Norway to acquire Statoil's Canadian Thermal Oil assets, including the Leismer Thermal Oil Project. Statoil said the total consideration is up to $832 million. The acquisition is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Calgary-based Inter Pipeline Ltd. announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited's 15% interest in the Cold Lake pipeline system for $527.5 million. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year subject to customary closing conditions.
  • Minnesota-based The Mosaic Company announced it had agreed to acquire from Vale S.A. of Brazil its Vale Fertilizantes business for an aggregate purchase price valued at USD $2.5 billion. Through the acquisition, Mosaic will also acquire Vale's potash project at Kronau, Saskatchewan. The company said the transaction is expected to close in late 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.


  • Montreal-based Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced it had finalized a firm purchase agreement with Philippine Airlines, Inc. for five Q400 aircraft and purchase rights for an additional seven Q400 aircraft, valued at approximately USD $165 million which could increase to USD $401 million should Philippine Airlines exercise all its purchase rights. The five firm-ordered aircraft are expected to be delivered throughout 2017. Bombardier also announced that the United Republic of Tanzania had signed firm purchase agreements for two CS300 jetliners and one Q400 turboprop aircraft, with a combined value of approximately USD $200 million.


  • Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, AG of Switzerland, announced they had entered into a merger agreement, pursuant to which Fairfax will acquire all of the outstanding registered ordinary shares of Allied World for a total equity value of approximately USD $4.9 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, subject to Fairfax shareholder approval.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada announced 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 British Columbia launched its B.C. HOME Partnership program which will provide a 25-year loan to first-time home buyers for a down payment. The program will meet the buyer's contribution up to 5% of the home's purchase price, to a maximum purchase price of $750,000. Loans through the program will be interest-free and payment-free for the first five years. The Government said the program will start accepting applications January 16, 2017.

United States and other international news

  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the target range for the federal funds interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.50% - 0.75%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in December 2015.
  • 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 said it would continue its asset purchase program at the current monthly pace of €80 billion until the end of March 2017. From April 2017, net asset purchases are intended to continue at a monthly pace of €60 billion until the end of December 2017.
  • The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.25% and to maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £435 billion. The last change in the Bank Rate was a 25 basis-point reduction in August 2016.
  • 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.
  • 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 Riksbank also decided to extend the purchases of government bonds by SEK 30 billion during the first half of 2017.
  • On December 10th, Ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met with a number of Ministers from non-OPEC oil producing countries. OPEC announced several non-OPEC countries proposed to adjust their oil production, voluntarily or through managed decline, starting from January 1st, 2017 for six months, extendable for another six months.
  • Germany-based Bombardier Transportation announced it had signed a framework agreement with Austrian Federal Railways covering the delivery of up to 300 BOMBARDIER TALENT 3 trains, valued at a list price of approximately USD $1.9 billion. The company said the first call-off order under the framework contract is for 21 TALENT 3 trains to be delivered in 2019. Bombardier Transportation also announced that French National Railway Company, Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF), had placed an order for 52 additional Francilien Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) commuter trains. The company said that the order is valued at approximately USD $370 million and that the first trains of this order will be delivered in early 2018.
  • Switzerland-based Glencore plc and Qatar Investment Authority announced they had entered into an agreement to acquire a 19.5% interest in Russia-based Rosneft Oil Company for €10.2 billion. The companies said the transaction was expected to close in mid-December 2016.
  • Washington-based Starbucks Corporation announced it plans to open approximately 12,000 new stores globally by 2021.

Financial market news

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $54.06 per barrel on December 28th, up from USD $49.44 at the end of November. The Canadian dollar closed at 73.77 cents U.S. on December 28th, down from 74.47 cents U.S. on November 30th. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,361.10 on December 28th, up from 15,082.85 at the end of November.
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