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 TransCanada Corporation announced it will move forward with a new $2 billion expansion program on its NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) System. The company said that the expansion program is comprised of numerous infrastructure projects that will connect Montney, Duvernay and Deep Basin production to the NGTL System. TransCanada said that, subject to regulatory approvals, construction is expected to start in early 2019.
- Montreal-based Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with Orion Mine Finance Group of New York to acquire a precious metals portfolio of assets consisting of 74 royalties, streams and precious metal offtakes for a total consideration of $1.125 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close on or around July 31, 2017, subject to Osisko shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- Calgary-based Encana Corporation announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., had reached an agreement to sell its Piceance natural gas assets, located in northwestern Colorado, to Colorado-based Caerus Oil and Gas LLC for a total cash consideration of USD $735 million. Encana said the sale is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals and normal closing conditions.
- Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. announced on June 13 that the timing of the full-ramp up of shipments from the Syncrude Mildred Lake Oil Sands facility has been extended to mid-July. The company said that repairs stemming from the March 14th incident are progressing as planned and that maintenance work scheduled for the fall has been added to the plan.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced on June 26th its affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of softwood lumber from Canada. The DOC determined that exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber to the United States at 7.72% to 4.59% less than fair value, and that it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of softwood lumber from Canada based on these preliminary rates. The DOC said that these preliminary AD rates are in addition to the preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) rates that the Commerce Department assessed on softwood lumber on April 24, 2017, and that the combined applicable duty rates will now range from 30.88% to 17.41%. The Commerce Department also announced that softwood lumber products produced in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island should be excluded from the ongoing investigation.
- Montreal-based Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced it had signed a letter of intent with SpiceJet of India for 25 Q400 turboprop airliners and purchase rights on an additional 25 aircraft. The company said the order could be valued at up to USD $1.7 billion. Bombardier also said it had signed an agreement with Philippine Airlines, Inc. for the exercise of its seven Q400 aircraft purchase rights, valued at approximately USD $235 million. The company's original firm purchase agreement with Philippine Airlines for five Q400 aircraft and purchase rights for an additional seven aircraft was announced in December 2016.
Toronto-based Sears Canada Inc. announced that it and certain of its subsidiaries (the Sears Canada Group) had been granted an order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. Sears said the Initial Order authorizes the Sears Canada Group to obtain debtor-in-possession financing in the aggregate principal amount of $450 million. Sears also announced the closing of 20 full-line locations, plus 15 "Sears Home" Stores, 10 "Sears Outlet" and 14 "Sears Hometown" locations, as well as a corresponding planned reduction in its workforce of approximately 2,900 positions across its retail network and at its corporate head office.
- Toronto-based Hudson's Bay Company announced its Transformation Plan, which includes reducing its employee base in North America by approximately 2,000 positions, including those previously announced in February.
Vancouver-based lululemon athletica inc. announced a plan to restructure its ivivva operations, including plans to close approximately 40 of its 55 ivivva branded stores and convert approximately half of the remaining stores to lululemon branded stores. The company said it anticipates that the closures and restructuring will be substantially complete by the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2017.
- New Jersey-based Ascena Retail Group Inc., whose brands include dressbarn, maurices, Justice, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey, announced plans to close 268 stores. The company said another 399 stores may close unless concessions related to rents and lease terms can be achieved.
- California-based The Gymboree Corporation announced it had elected to file voluntary Chapter 11 petitions with the United States Bankruptcy Court. The company said it had secured commitments for USD $35 million in new-money debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from a majority of its existing Term Loan Lenders and up to USD $273.5 million in additional DIP financing from the existing lenders under Gymboree's asset backed loan credit facilities. The company said it operates 582 Gymboree stores, including 49 in Canada.
Finance and insurance
- Toronto-based Home Capital Group Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Home Trust Company, had entered into a definitive agreement with KingSett Capital, also of Toronto, to sell a portfolio of commercial mortgage assets valued at approximately $1.2 billion. Home Capital said the transaction is expected to close during the company's third quarter of 2017, subject to certain customary closing conditions. Home Capital also announced that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. of Nebraska has agreed to indirectly acquire $400 million of Home Capital's common shares on a private placement basis and provide a new $2 billion line of credit facility to Home Trust Company. Home Capital said the additional investment is subject to approval by not less than a majority of the votes cast by the company's shareholders as well as Canadian Competition Act clearance and other customary closing conditions.
- Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Parkway, Inc. of Texas, a real estate investment trust, announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which CPPIB will acquire 100% of Parkway for USD $1.2 billion. CPPIB and Parkway said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Parkway's stockholders.
- On June 15, the Government of Canada announced support for a federal investment of $1.283 billion from the long-term Investing in Canada infrastructure plan to support the Réseau électrique métropolitain light rail network in Montreal, subject to necessary due diligence. On June 16, the Government of Canada announced up to $1.09 billion in funding for the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Stage 2 Project.
- The Government of Canada on June 1st announced $867 million in measures to support forest industry workers and communities affected by U.S. measures targeting softwood lumber. The Government said the measures include federal loans and loan guarantees to complement provincial efforts for viable Canadian companies.
- Calgary-based Shaw Communications Inc. announced it had entered into a share purchase agreement with Peak 10 Holding Corporation of North Carolina under which Shaw will sell 100% of its wholly-owned subsidiary Colorado-based ViaWest, Inc. for approximately $2.3 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close by August, 2017, subject to customary conditions, including U.S. regulatory approval.
- Laval-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. announced it had entered into an agreement to sell its iNova Pharmaceuticals business to a company jointly owned by funds advised and managed by Pacific Equity Partners of Australia and The Carlyle Group of Washington, D.C., for USD $930 million. The company said the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
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 1.00% to 1.25%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in March 2017. The FOMC also said that it currently expects to begin implementing a balance sheet normalization program this year, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated. This program would gradually reduce the Federal Reserve's securities holdings by decreasing reinvestment of principal payments from those securities.
- 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 €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 UK government bond purchases, 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.
- The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, unchanged at 1.75%. The last change in the Official Cash Rate was a 25 basis point reduction in November 2016.
- Germany-based Bombardier Transportation announced it had signed a contract with FirstGroup of the United Kingdom and MTR of Hong Kong to supply and maintain 750 Bombardier Aventra vehicles, for operation on the South Western franchise in the United Kingdom. The company said the contract is valued at approximately USD $1.1 billion and that the new trains will start to come into service from mid-2019. Bombardier Transportation also announced it had received an order for 83 Regio 2N train sets from the French National Railway Corporation, Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF), valued at USD $968 million. The company said the trains are planned to enter service at the end of 2019.
- Washington-based Amazon.com, Inc. and Whole Foods Market, Inc. of Texas announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately USD $13.7 billion. The companies expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017, subject to Whole Foods Market shareholder and regulatory approval.
- Massachusetts-based Staples, Inc. and Sycamore Partners of New York announced they had entered into a merger agreement in which investment funds managed by Sycamore Partners will acquire Staples for approximately USD $6.9 billion. Staples said the transaction is expected to close no later than December, 2017, subject to stockholder and regulatory approvals.
- Germany-based Linde AG and Praxair, Inc. of Connecticut announced that the companies had entered into a definitive business combination agreement to come together under a new holding company through an all-stock merger of equals with a combined market value in excess of USD $70 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
- Illinois-based Deere & Company announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Wirtgen Group of Germany, a manufacturer of road construction equipment, for a total transaction value of approximately USD $5.2 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of Deere's 2018 fiscal year, subject to regulatory approvals and certain other customary conditions.
- Japan-based Takata Corporation (TKJP) announced that it and its Japanese subsidiaries had commenced proceedings under the Civil Rehabilitation Act in Japan and, in addition, TKJP's main U.S. subsidiary, TK Holdings, Inc., and certain of its North American affiliates and subsidiaries, had filed for Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court. TKJP also announced that it and Key Safety Systems (KSS) of Michigan had reached an agreement in principle to sponsor a restructuring plan for the sale of substantially all of Takata's global assets and operations to KSS for an aggregate purchase price of approximately USD $1.588 billion. The company said it and KSS are working toward finalizing a definitive agreement in the coming weeks, with an expected transaction close in the first quarter of 2018.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $46.04 on June 30th, down from USD $48.32 at the end of May. The Canadian dollar closed at 77.06 cents U.S. on June 30th, up from 74.07 cents U.S. on May 31st. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,182.19 on June 30th, down from a closing value of 15,349.91 at the end of May.