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 expects to realize approximately USD $3.7 billion from the monetization of its U.S. Northeast Power business, which includes two transactions: the sale of Ravenswood, Ironwood, Ocean State Power and Kibby Wind to Helix Generation, LLC and the sale of TC Hydro to Great River Hydro, LLC. The company said the transactions are expected to close in the first half of 2017, subject to certain regulatory and other approvals.
- Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited announced the company's Board of Directors authorized the re-initiation of the Kirby North thermal project with engineering and procurement commencing in 2017. The company said that first oil from Kirby North is targeted for 2020. The company also said that as of September 30, 2016, the Horizon Phase 3 expansion reached 87% physical completion and remains on schedule for targeted start-up in the fourth quarter of 2017.
- Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. announced a 2017 capital spending program of between $4.8 billion and $5.2 billion, representing a year-over-year reduction of approximately $1 billion.
- Calgary-based ARC Resources Ltd. announced it had reached an agreement to sell all of its Saskatchewan assets and operations, which produce approximately 7,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, to Spartan Energy Corp. of Calgary, for $700 million. The company said the transaction is expected to close on or about December 8, 2016, subject to normal closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
- Vancouver-based Woodfibre LNG Limited announced that its parent company Pacific Oil & Gas Limited authorized the funds necessary for the Woodfibre LNG Project to proceed. Woodfibre LNG Limited is proposing to build a liquefied natural gas processing and export facility near Squamish, British Columbia. The company said construction for the Project could begin in 2017, with operations starting in 2020.
- Saskatoon-based Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. announced that it was reducing its expected operational capability at its Cory potash facility from approximately 1.4 million tonnes to 0.8 million tonnes. The company said the changes will result in a reduction of approximately 100 permanent employees and 40 temporary positions. The company also said its Lanigan facility will curtail production for six weeks beginning January 2017 and its Allan facility will curtail production for 12 weeks beginning February 2017.
- Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corporation announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its indirect interest in TF Holdings Limited of Bermuda to an affiliate of China-based BHR Partners, for USD $1.136 billion. TF Holdings owns an 80% interest in Tenke Fungurume Mining S.A., a copper/cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lundin Mining said the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2017.
- The Government of Canada approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project subject to 157 binding conditions, and Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Project subject to 37 binding conditions. The Government directed the National Energy Board to dismiss Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipelines Project application, and has announced a moratorium on crude and persistent oil tankers along British Columbia's north coast.
- California-based Gap Inc. announced it expects net closures of about 65 company-operated stores globally in fiscal year 2016, up from about 50 net closures expected in May 2016.
- Montreal-based Royal Bank of Canada announced it increased its residential mortgage rate offers for three, four and five-year fixed terms by up to 30 basis points, and introduced new pricing for amortizations 25 years and under, effective November 17, 2016. Earlier in the month, Toronto-based TD Bank Group announced it raised its Mortgage Prime rate to 2.85% from 2.70%.
- Unifor announced that its members voted to ratify a four-year contract with Ford Motor Company of Canada. Ford employs more than 6,700 Unifor members.
- On November 1st, the Government of Canada tabled its Fall Economic Statement, which proposed:
- Investing an additional $81 billion through to 2027-28 in public transit, green and social infrastructure, transportation infrastructure as well as in rural and northern communities. The Government will also establish a new Canada Infrastructure Bank;
- Adopting a new Global Skills Strategy that will set a two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for low-risk, high-skill talent for companies doing business in Canada;
- Creating the Invest in Canada Hub to work with global companies to attract investment.
- The Government of Canada is also projecting a federal budget deficit of $25.1 billion in 2016-17 and $27.8 billion in 2017-18 and real GDP growth of 1.2% in 2016 and 2.0% in 2017.
- The Government of Canada announced it was pursuing legislation to change international ownership restrictions from 25% to 49% of voting interests for Canadian air carriers and conditionally approving requested exemptions for two companies, Canada Jetlines and Enerjet, from current international ownership restrictions.
- On November 14th, the Government of Ontario tabled its 2016 Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, which proposed to: double the maximum Land Transfer Tax (LTT) refund to $4,000 for eligible first-time homebuyers; and increase the LTT rate to 2.5% from 2.0% on the portion of the value of a home above $2 million, both as of January 1st, 2017. The Government is also projecting a deficit of $4.3 billion in 2016-17 and a balanced budget in 2017-18 and real GDP growth of 2.5% in 2016 and 2.2% in 2017.
- On November 22nd, the Government of Saskatchewan tabled its 2016-17 Mid-Year Financial Report. The Government is projecting a deficit in 2016-17 of $805.6 million. Real GDP is forecast to decline by 0.6% in 2016 and grow 1.6% in 2017. The Government said a hiring freeze has been implemented with only hiring for positions considered essential.
- The Government of Alberta announced a series of measures related to electricity generation, including: implementing a four-year ceiling on power prices, which will come into effect June 2017; creating a "capacity market" to reduce electricity price volatility, which will be in place by 2021; and transitioning from coal-fired power plants to natural gas and renewable energy by 2030. The Government also said it would impose a carbon levy on coal-fired generators starting in 2018.
- Vancouver City Council announced it had approved a program that will introduce a 1% Empty Homes Tax on properties that are not an owner's principal residence or being rented on a long term basis. City Council said the tax will come into effect in January 2017, but will not be assessed and payable until 2018.
United States and other international news
- On November 8th, Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, was elected as the 45th President of the United States.
- The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds interest rate at 0.25% to 0.50%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in December 2015.
- 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 would 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 reduced the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, by 25 basis points to 1.75%. The last change in the Official Cash Rate, prior to November's announcement, was a 25 basis point reduction in August 2016.
- Germany-based Volkswagen Group announced that over the next few years it will be cutting up to 23,000 jobs via natural fluctuation and partial early retirement. The company also said it will be investing €3.5 billion in the transformation of the company, creating about 9,000 jobs.
- Pennsylvania-based Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. of Texas announced they had entered into a merger agreement providing for the acquisition of Energy Transfer Partners by Sunoco Logistics Partners in a unit-for-unit transaction. The transaction is valued at approximately USD $21 billion. The companies expect the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to Energy Transfer Partners shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.
- Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced they had decided to implement a new OPEC-14 production target of 32.5 million barrels per day. OPEC said the agreement will be effective from January 1, 2017.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $47.08 per barrel on November 28th, up from USD $46.86 at the end of October. The Canadian dollar closed at 74.51 cents U.S. on November 28th, virtually unchanged from the closing value on October 31st. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,015.36 on November 28th, up from 14,787.27 at the end of October.