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 Enbridge Inc. announced it had entered into definitive agreements to sell its Canadian natural gas gathering and processing business in the Montney, Peace River Arch, Horn River and Liard basins in British Columbia and Alberta to Brookfield Infrastructure of Toronto for a cash purchase price of $4.31 billion. The company said the transaction involving the sale of provincially-regulated facilities is expected to close in 2018, while the transaction involving the sale of federally-regulated facilities is anticipated to close in mid-2019, both subject to customary closing adjustments and receipt of regulatory approvals.
- On July 9th, Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. provided an update on the Syncrude Oil Sands facility, noting that all process units at the facility had been brought down due to a power disruption on June 20th. Suncor said the power and steam systems have been fully restored and the safe and staged return to operations has begun. The company said one coker is expected to return to service during the second half of July while a second coker is expected to return to service during the first half of August. Suncor also said that Syncrude will investigate advancing some of the planned maintenance on the remaining coker that had been originally scheduled for the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019.
- The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) announced on July 23rd it had granted approval to Calgary-based BP Canada Energy Group ULC to recommence drilling operations following a suspension of operations after an unauthorized discharge of drilling mud was reported on June 22nd, 2018.
- Calgary-based Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC announced it had filed a six month outlook summary schedule for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project with the National Energy Board outlining construction activities planned for 2018. The company said work in Alberta will begin in August, and in late September in the North Thompson region of British Columbia. Trans Mountain also said additional construction is planned in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and that work at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, underway since September 2017, will continue.
- Saskatoon-based Cameco Corporation announced it will extend the suspension of production at McArthur River and Key Lake for an indeterminate duration, resulting in the permanent layoff of approximately 550 site employees, including those currently on temporary layoff since January of this year. The company said a reduced workforce of approximately 200 employees will remain at the two sites to keep the facilities in a state of safe care and maintenance. Cameco also said the workforce at its corporate office will be reduced by approximately 150 positions including employees and vacancies.
- France-based Michelin and Camso of Magog, Quebec, announced they had reached an agreement whereby Michelin will acquire Camso for an enterprise value of USD $1.7 billion.
Finance and Insurance
- RBC Royal Bank, BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust announced on July 11th that they had increased their prime lending rate by 25 basis points to 3.70%, effective July 12th, 2018.
- Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Forest City Realty Trust, Inc. of Ohio announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which a Brookfield real estate investment fund will acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Forest City in an all-cash transaction valued at USD $11.4 billion, including Forest City's proportionate share of consolidated and unconsolidated debt. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to certain closing conditions, including the approval of Forest City's stockholders.
- The Toronto-Dominion Bank and Greystone Capital Management Inc. (GCMI) of Regina announced a definitive agreement whereby TD will acquire GCMI for a net purchase price of $792 million. The companies said the purchase of GCMI is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
- Texas-based Encino Acquisition Partners (EAP) announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of Chesapeake Energy's Utica Shale oil and gas assets in Ohio for a total consideration of USD $2.0 billion in cash. The company said that, in support of this acquisition, Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) will invest approximately USD $1.0 billion in EAP and will own approximately 98% of the partnership. EAP said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
- The Bank of Canada raised the target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1.50% on July 11th. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in January 2018.
- The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said that as of the evening of Monday, July 30th, 2018, there were 41 active forest fires across the Northeast Region of Ontario, 15 of which were not yet under control. The Ministry also said that there were 104 active fires in the Northwest Region of the province, 31 of which were not under control.
- Toronto-based Greyhound Canada Transportation ULC announced it had notified all proper authorities of its intention to discontinue service – both passenger and freight – effective October 31st, 2018 in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The company added that all routes in British Columbia will cease except for Vancouver to Seattle, and that all routes in Ontario and Quebec will continue unchanged, aside from the Trans-Canada service west of Sudbury in northern Ontario, which the company will exit.
- Oakville, Ontario-based Tim Hortons Inc. announced it had entered into an exclusive master franchise joint venture agreement with Cartesian Capital Group of New York to develop and open more than 1,500 Tim Horton's restaurants throughout China over the next ten years.
- Washington-based Amazon.com Inc. announced plans for a new fulfillment centre in Ottawa, creating more than 600 full-time jobs. The company also announced plans for a new fulfillment centre in the Greater Toronto Area, in the Town of Caledon, which will create more than 800 full-time jobs.
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 said that net asset purchases will continue at a monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September 2018, after which the monthly pace of net asset purchases will be reduced to €15 billion until the end of December 2018 and then end.
- 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.
- On July 11th, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) confirmed that as of July 6th, the U.S. began imposing tariffs of 25% on approximately USD $34 billion worth of Chinese imports and that these tariffs will eventually cover up to USD $50 billion in Chinese imports. The USTR said that as a result of China's retaliation, the President had ordered the USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10% on an additional USD $200 billion of Chinese imports. The USTR said it will proceed with a public notice and comment process prior to the imposition of final tariffs and that a public hearing will be convened in August, 2018.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will authorize up to USD $12 billion in programs to assist agricultural producers meet the costs of disrupted markets. The USDA said it will use specific programs to: provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs; purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs; and assist in developing new export markets for farm products.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it had launched an investigation into whether the present quantity and circumstances of uranium ore and product imports into the United States threaten to impair national security.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it was revoking the countervailing duty (CVD) order on supercalendered paper from Canada, effective July 5th 2018.
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on July 28th, 2018 that federal emergency aid had been made available to the state of California to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the area affected by a wildfire beginning on July 23rd, 2018 and continuing.
- New York-based JetBlue Airways Corp. announced it had ordered 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft – previously called the Bombardier CS300 – for delivery beginning in 2020, with an option for 60 additional aircraft beginning in 2025. JetBlue said the A220 aircraft will be assembled in Mobile, Alabama.
- Illinois-based The Boeing Company and Embraer S.A. of Brazil announced they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a strategic partnership whereby Boeing will hold an 80% ownership stake in the joint venture and Embraer will own the remaining 20% stake. The companies said the transaction values 100% of Embraer's commercial aircraft operations at USD $4.75 billion and that the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- UK-based BP PLC announced it had agreed to acquire a portfolio of unconventional oil and gas assets in the Permian-Delaware, Eagle Ford, and Haynesville basins from Australia-based BHP Billiton Limited for a total consideration of USD $10.5 billion. The company said the transaction is anticipated to complete by the end of October 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.
- California-based Mattel, Inc. announced a reduction of over 2,200 positions, representing 22% of its global non-manufacturing workforce, as well as a planned sale of its manufacturing sites in Mexico.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $68.76 on July 31st, down from $74.15 at the end of June. The Canadian dollar closed at 76.82 cents U.S. on July 31st, up from 75.94 cents U.S. on June 29th. The S&P/TSX closed at 16,434.01 on July 31st, up from a closing value of 16,277.73 at the end of June.