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.
- The Government of Canada announced on May 29th that it had reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan to purchase the company's Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) and related pipeline and terminal assets for $4.5 billion. The Government also said it had reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan to immediately restart construction on the TMEP, and that it will guarantee financing for the 2018 summer construction season through a loan guarantee from Export Development Canada.
- The Government of British Columbia announced on May 22nd that it had filed a statement of claim in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench challenging the constitutionality of Alberta's Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act. The Act, which was passed by the Government of Alberta on May 16th, gives the province the authority to require companies to obtain a licence before exporting energy products from Alberta via pipeline, rail or truck.
- Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation announced that the National Energy Board (NEB) has recommended the federal government approve a variance to the previously issued North Montney Mainline Project certificate, which would allow construction to start on the proposed $1.4 billion natural gas project in northeast British Columbia. TransCanada said that subject to federal approval, construction is expected to start by the third quarter of 2018, with an anticipated in-service date of mid-2019.
- Shell Canada Energy, PetroChina Kitimat LNG Partnership, Diamond LNG Canada Ltd. and Kogas Canada LNG Ltd. announced that Malaysia-based Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) will take an equity position in LNG Canada, located in Kitimat, British Columbia, through its wholly owned entity the North Montney LNG Limited Partnership. The companies said the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
- Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell plc announced an agreement to sell its entire stake in Canadian Natural Resources Limited of Calgary for approximately USD $3.3 billion. Shell said the sale is expected to be completed on May 9, 2018.
- Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. announced its indirect subsidiary, Enbridge (U.S.) Inc., has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Texas-based Midcoast Operating, L.P. and its subsidiaries for USD $1.12 billion. Enbridge also announced it has entered into agreements with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) to monetize a 49% interest in select North American onshore renewable power assets, as well as 49% of Enbridge's interest in two German offshore wind projects through a newly created joint venture with CPPIB, for approximately CAD $1.75 billion. The company said the transactions are expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.
- Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. and Tianqi Lithium Corporation of China announced they had signed an agreement whereby Tinaqi Lithium has agreed to purchase 62.6 million "A shares" of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. held by Nutrien for a gross valuation of approximately USD $4.07 billion. The companies said the agreement is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to Tianqi Lithium shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- Michigan-based Ford Motor Company announced on May 9th that parts shortages resulting from the fire at Michigan-based Meridian Magnesium Products of America is impacting F-150 and Super Duty production at Ford's Kansas City Assembly, Dearborn Truck and Kentucky Truck plants. On May 16th, Ford announced it was restarting production of the F-150 at the Deerborn Plant on May 18th and that production was targeted to restart by May 21st at the Kentucky and Kansas City Plants.
- Montreal-based Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and Air Baltic Corporation AS of Latvia announced the parties had executed a firm purchase agreement for the sale and purchase of 30 CS300 aircraft with options and purchase rights for an additional 30 aircraft of the same type. Bombardier said that based on the list price of the CS300 aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately USD $2.9 billion and that this amount would increase to nearly USD $5.9 billion should all 15 options and 15 purchase rights be exercised.
- Bombardier also announced it had signed a letter of intent for up to 18 Global 6500 and Global 7500 business jets with HK Bellawings Jet Limited of Hong Kong. The company said that if all firm orders and options are exercised, the transaction would be valued at approximately USD $1.14 billion based on 2018 list prices.
- Toronto-based Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) announced it had entered into an agreement to purchase the company, controlled by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which owns and operates the Helly Hanson brands and related businesses for $985 million. CTC said the transaction is expected to close in Q3 2018, subject to usual closing conditions.
- Montreal-based Le Château Inc. announced that it is planning to close approximately 20 stores in 2018. The company confirmed that it had closed 27 stores in the past fiscal year.
- U.S. President Donald Trump announced on May 31st that the United States is implementing a 25% tarrif on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The Government of Canada said on May 31st that in response to these measures, Canada intends to impose tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S. – representing a total value of $16.6 billion. The Government said these countermeasures will take effect on July 1st, 2018.
- The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.25%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in January 2018.
- On May 11th, the Government of Canada announced it had accepted a formal request for federal assistance from the Government of New Brunswick, including support from the Canadian Armed Forces, to help communities in New Brunswick affected by the floods.
- On May 17th, the Federal Government announced it had accepted a formal request for federal assistance from the Government of British Columbia, including support from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), to help communities in British Columbia affected by the floods. On May 23rd, the Government of British Columbia announced that the flood situation in many parts of the province was beginning to stabilize and that many of the CAF troops who had assisted with flood response efforts will begin returning to their base in Edmonton.
- Vancouver-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. and MedReleaf Corp. of Markham announced they had entered into a definitive arrangement agreement whereby Aurora intends to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of MedReleaf in an all-share transaction valued at approximately $3.2 billion. The companies said the transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
- Montreal-based Quebecor Inc. announced it had entered into an agreement with Quebecor Media Inc. and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to repurchase all of the share capital of Quebecor Media still held by the Caisse for $1.69 billion. Quebecor said the transactions contemplated in the agreement are expected to be fully completed by June 22, 2018 subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
- Montreal-based Canadian National Railway Company (CN) announced on May 2nd that it will buy 350 centrebeam cars to serve growing demand from lumber producing customers across its North American network. CN said the cars will be manufactured in Hamilton, Ontario by National Steel Car Ltd., and are expected to be delivered starting in September. CN also said it is looking at an option to purchase or lease an additional 300 cars.
- CN also announced on May 24th that it plans to acquire 1,000 new generation high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields. CN said the cars will be built by National Steel Car Ltd. at the company's Hamilton plant.
- Toronto-based OMERS Private Equity announced it had entered into an agreement with New Mountain Capital to acquire Alexander Mann Solutions of the U.K. for an enterprise value of USD $1.1 billion. OMERS said the proposed transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018 subject to customary approvals by the antitrust authorities.
- Toronto-based Aecon Group Inc. announced the Governor in Council had issued an order under the Investment Canada Act directing CCCC International Holding Limited of China not to implement its proposed acquisition of Aecon. The company said that as a result, the arrangement between Aecon and CCCI will not proceed.
United States and other international news
- The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds interest rate at 1.50% to 1.75%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in March 2018.
- The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.50% and 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 increase in November 2017.
- 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.
- U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was terminating the United States' participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-imposing economic sanctions lifted under the deal.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it had initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232 of the Act.
- China's Ministry of Finance announced it will cut import tariffs on vehicles and auto parts starting July 1st. The Ministry said that for car imports, the 25% tariff levied on 135 items and the 20% duty levied on four items will both be reduced to 15%, while import tariffs for 79 items of auto parts will be reduced to 6%.
- Arkansas-based Walmart Inc. announced it had signed definitive agreements to become the largest shareholder in Flipkart Group of India. Walmart said it will pay approximately USD $16 billion for an initial stake of approximately 77% in Flipkart. The company said that closing is expected later this calendar year, subject to regulatory approval.
- Switzerland-based Nestlé S.A. announced an agreement granting it perpetual rights to market Starbucks consumer and foodservice products globally, outside of the company's coffee shops. Nestlé said that, as part of the transaction, Starbucks will receive an up-front cash payment of USD $7.15 billion. Nestlé said the agreement is subject to customary regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of 2018.
- Illinois-based Boeing Company announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KLX Inc. of Florida, including the company's Aerospace Solutions Group, in an all-cash transaction totaling USD $4.25 billion. Boeing said the sale is expected to close by Q3 2018, subject to KLX shareholder and regulatory approvals. The company said the transaction is also subject to the successful divestment and separation of KLX Inc.'s Energy Services Group.
- Michigan-based General Motors Company (GM) announced that the SoftBank Vision Fund of the UK will invest USD $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings LLC and that GM will also invest USD $1.1 billion in GM Cruise upon closing of the transaction.
- Germany-based Volkswagen Group announced it will open three new FAW-Volkswagen production facilities in China in the next few months, including new factories in Qingdao, Tianjin, and Foshan. The company said the Qingdao plant opened on May 28, 2018, while the Foshan plant will open in June and the Tianjin facility will open in August.
- Illinois-based Sears Holdings Corporation announced it had identified approximately 100 non-profitable stores in the United States, 72 of which will begin store closing sales in the near future.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $67.04 on May 31st, down from $68.57 at the end of April. The Canadian dollar closed at 77.23 cents U.S. on May 31st, down from 77.91 cents U.S. on April 30th. The S&P/TSX closed at 16,061.50 on May 31st, up from a closing value of 15,607.88 at the end of April.