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.
- St. John's-based Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. announced on July 17th that it had proactively shut down production on a temporary basis at the Hibernia oil platform. The company confirmed that a mix of water and oil was discharged from one of the platform's storage cells.
- The Government of Alberta announced on July 26th that oil production limits in September will be set at 3.76 million barrels per day, an increase of 25,000 barrels a day from the August limit.
- Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation announced it had entered into an agreement to sell its U.S. midstream assets held by its subsidiary, Columbia Midstream Group, to UGI Energy Services of Pennsylvania for approximately USD $1.275 billion. TC Energy said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, subject to closing adjustments and customary regulatory approvals.
- TC Energy Corporation also announced that it had entered into an agreement through its wholly-owned subsidiary, TransCanada Energy Ltd., to sell interests in three Ontario natural gas-fired power plants to a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation Inc., for approximately $2.87 billion. The company said the facilities include the Halton Hills power plant, the Napanee generating station and TC Energy's 50% interest in the Portlands Energy Centre. TC Energy said the transaction is expected to close in late 2019, subject to a number of closing conditions which include regulatory approvals and Napanee reaching commercial operations.
- Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its portfolio of U.S. distributed generation assets held by its subsidiaries WGL Energy Systems, Inc. and WGSW, Inc. to TerraForm Power, Inc. of New York for total gross proceeds of approximately $940 million. The company said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.
- Vancouver-based Western Forest Products Inc. announced on July 1st that the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, the union representing approximately 1,500 of the company's hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for the company's timberland operators and contractors in British Columbia, had commenced a strike. On July 24th, Western announced a temporary curtailment at its Ladysmith sawmill.
- The United Steelworkers (USW) announced on July 2nd that workers at Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) in Bécancour, Quebec voted by a 79.8% majority to ratify the employer's latest contract offer. The USW said 1,030 workers at the ABI aluminum smelter were locked out of their jobs in January 2018.
- Maine-based L.L. Bean, Inc. announced it is set to open its first Canadian retail location on August 23rd in Oakville Place near Toronto. The company also said that a specially curated offering of L.L. Bean's apparel and gear will also be featured as shop-in-shops in many Hudson's Bay stores across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.
- The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.75%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in October 2018. The Chartered Bank – Conventional Mortgage five-year rate published by the Bank of Canada was lowered from 5.34% to 5.19%.
- The Government of Manitoba announced that effective July 1st the retail sales tax was lowered from 8% to 7%.
- Alberta's Bill 3, the Job Creation Tax Cut (Alberta Corporate Tax Amendment) Act, took effect on July 1st, reducing Alberta's corporate tax rate from 12% to 11%.
- Moody's Investors Service downgraded to A1 from Aa3 the long-term senior unsecured debt ratings of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Connecticut-based Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) together with Brookfield Infrastructure of Toronto, GIC and Brookfield Infrastructure's institutional partners announced an agreement pursuant to which affiliates of Brookfield Infrastructure and GIC will acquire G&W in a transaction valued at approximately USD $8.4 billion including debt. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by year end or early 2020, subject to G&W shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
- Montreal-based Garda World Security Corporation (GardaWorld) announced that funds advised by BC Partners of the UK had reached a definitive agreement to acquire a 51% common equity interest in GardaWorld in a $5.2 billion recapitalization. The company said the transaction is expected to close by late 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.
- Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. announced it is exiting lump-sum turnkey contracting and will reorganize the Company's Resources and Infrastructure Construction segments into a separate business line. SNC-Lavalin also said it is withdrawing all previously issued annual financial guidance for 2019.
- Air France-KLM announced it had committed to a firm order of 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with an additional 30 purchase options and 30 acquisition rights. The company said the first aircraft should be delivered in September 2021.
United States and other international news
- The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) lowered the target range for the federal funds interest rate by 25 basis points to 2.00% to 2.25%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in December 2018.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.00%. The last change in the cash rate was a 25 basis point reduction in June 2019.
- Sweden's Riksbank left its main interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at -0.25%. The last change in the repo rate was a 25 basis point increase in December 2018. The Riksbank also said it will purchase government bonds for a nominal amount of SEK 45 billion, with effect from July 2019 to December 2020.
- 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 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.
- On July 2nd, the 6th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting decided to extend the decision taken on voluntary production adjustments at the 175th Meeting of the OPEC Conference for an additional period of nine months, from July 1st 2019 to March 31st 2020.
- Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after being elected the new leader of the Conservative Party, succeeding Theresa May.
- Germany-based Deutsche Bank announced a transformation in which it will downsize its investment bank and exit the Equities Sales and Trading business. Deutsche Bank said the restructuring actions will include a workforce reduction of approximately 18,000 full time equivalent employees to around 74,000 employees by 2022.
- Japan-based Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. announced it will reduce its global production capacity by 10% by the end of fiscal year 2022, and that in line with these production optimizations the company will reduce headcount by roughly 12,500. The company also said it will reduce the size of its product lineup by at least 10% by the end of fiscal year 2022.
- Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev announced it had agreed to divest Carlton & United Breweries, its Australian subsidiary, to Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. of Japan for approximately USD $11.3 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.
- Pennsylvania-based Mylan N.V. and Pfizer Inc. of New York announced a definitive agreement to combine Mylan with Upjohn, Pfizer's off-patent branded and generic established medicines business, in an all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction. The companies said the transaction is anticipated to close in mid-2020, subject to approval by Mylan shareholders and customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.
Financial market news
- West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $58.58 per barrel on July 31st, similar to the closing value of USD $58.47 at the end of June. Western Canadian Select crude oil traded in the USD $40 to $48 per barrel range during July. The Canadian dollar closed at 76.06 cents U.S. on July 31st, down from 76.41 cents U.S. at the end of June. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 16,406.56 on July 31st, up from a closing value of 16,382.20 at the end of June.