October 2016 edition

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.

Resources

  • Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. announced it had reached an agreement to sell its Petro-Canada Lubricants Inc. business to HollyFrontier Corporation of Texas for gross proceeds of $1.125 billion. The company said that the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions, including satisfaction of regulatory requirements in Canada and the United States.
  • Calgary-based Precision Drilling Corporation announced it had reactivated 51 rigs since 2016 lows and had hired nearly 1,000 field personnel.  

Manufacturing

  • Unifor announced that their members had voted to ratify a four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of Canada (FCA). FCA employs 9,750 Unifor members. Unifor also announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Company of Canada. Unifor said that its members will vote on the tentative agreement on November 5th and 6th. Ford employs more than 6,700 Unifor members.
  • Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. announced that approximately 7,500 positions will be impacted as the company executes its workforce optimization and site specialization actions through 2018. The company said that actions on overall employment will be partially offset by strategic hiring to support the ramp-up for key growth programs.

Retail

  • Mississauga-based Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. confirmed that Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. had stopped sales, exchanges and production of the Galaxy Note 7 cell phone globally.  In September, Samsung had announced a global replacement program for the Galaxy Note 7 as a precautionary measure due to a battery cell issue.

Finance

  • Montreal-based National Bank of Canada announced that, as a result of restructuring initiatives, just over 600 employee departures are expected, after taking into account reassignment and retirement programs that will affect close to 300 employees. National Bank also said that the organization is looking to fill over 500 positions to meet its recruitment needs.

Other news

  • The Government of Canada announced new measures to reinforce the Canadian housing finance system, to help protect the long-term financial security of borrowers, and to improve tax fairness for Canadian homeowners. These included standardizing loan eligibility criteria for high and low loan-to-value insured mortgages, effective November 30th, 2016, along with the requirement that, effective October 17th 2016, lenders stress test all insured mortgages. Other measures included proposed income tax changes to ensure that the principal residence capital gains exemption is available only in appropriate cases.
  • The Government of Canada announced on October 6th that it had introduced legislation in Parliament that would enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), after the Government of British Columbia confirmed its support for the agreement on October 4th. On June 20th, 2016, the Government of Canada announced it had reached a deal in principle with provincial and territorial Finance Ministers to enhance the CPP by increasing the maximum CPP retirement benefit by about 50%.
  • The Government of Canada and the Bank of Canada announced they had agreed to renew the inflation target for another five-year period, ending December 31st 2021. The inflation target will continue to be the 2% mid-point of the 1% to 3% inflation-control range. Canada adopted an inflation-targeting framework in 1991. The Bank will also introduce three new core inflation tracking measures which will replace the existing measure of core inflation. 
  • The Prime Minister of Canada, the President of the European Council, and the President of the European Commission signed the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). On October 31st, Canada’s Minister of International Trade tabled the treaty and introduced implementing legislation in the House of Commons. The European Parliament will vote on CETA’s ratification, which will be followed by ratification in the national parliaments of EU Member States.
  • The Bank of Canada announced that it was maintaining the target for the overnight rate at 0.5%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point reduction announced in July 2015.
  • The Government of Quebec tabled its October 2016 Update, which announced the complete elimination of the health contribution as of January 1st  2017. The government said that this measure represents an annual reduction of the tax burden of almost $760 million.
  • Effective October 1st, the provincial portion of the HST in Prince Edward Island increased by one percentage point, bringing the total HST rate to 15%, as announced in the province's 2016 budget.
  • Effective October 1st, the minimum wage increased in four provinces. The minimum wage increased from $11.20 per hour to $12.20 in Alberta; from $11.25 to $11.40 in Ontario; from $10.50 to $10.72 in Saskatchewan; and from $10.75 to $11.00 in Prince Edward Island.
  • The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan announced the acquisition of Constellation Brands Canada, the Canadian operation of New York-based Constellation Brands, an international producer of beer, wine and spirits, for approximately $1.03 billion. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said the transaction is expected to close before the end of the calendar year, subject to regulatory approval.
  • Toronto-based Onex Corporation announced it had agreed to acquire the Save-A-Lot business of Missouri from SUPERVALU INC. for USD $1.365 billion.

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%. Interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility were also left unchanged at 0.25% and -0.40% respectively.
  • 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.
  • Norway's Norges Bank decided to leave its key policy rate unchanged at 0.50%. The last change in the rate was a 25 basis point reduction in March 2016.
  • Texas-based AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. of New York announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which AT&T will acquire Time Warner for a total equity value of USD $85.4 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close before year-end 2017, subject to approval by Time Warner shareholders and review by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • California-based Qualcomm Incorporated and NXP Semiconductors N.V. of the Netherlands announced a definitive agreement under which Qualcomm will acquire NXP for a total enterprise value of approximately USD $47 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by the end of calendar 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Nebraska-based TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation and Scottrade Financial Services, Inc. of Missouri announced they had entered into a definitive agreement for TD Ameritrade to acquire Scottrade in a cash and stock transaction valued at USD $4 billion. The parties expect the transaction to close by September 30, 2017 subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
  • Massachusetts-based General Electric (GE) and Baker Hughes of Texas announced that the companies had entered into an agreement to combine GE’s oil and gas business and Baker Hughes to create an oilfield technology provider with operations in more than 120 countries. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in mid-2017, subject  to Baker Hughes shareholder and regulatory approvals.
  • Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Incorporated of Nebraska announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which Bass Pro Shops would acquire Cabela’s for an aggregate transaction value of approximately USD $5.5 billion. The companies said they expect the transaction to close in the first half of 2017, subject to Cabela’s shareholder and regulatory approvals.
  • Washington-based Amazon.com Inc. announced it was creating more than 120,000 seasonal positions across its U.S. network this holiday season. Amazon said that last year, more than 14,000 seasonal positions were transitioned to regular, full-time roles after the holidays and the company expects to increase that number this year.
  • Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG said that, after announcing agreements on the reduction of 3,000 jobs roles in June 2016, another 1,000 jobs will be reduced. The company said that these are part of 9,000 jobs being reduced worldwide.
  • Netherlands-based ING Group announced that intended initiatives for the period 2016 to 2021 related to the company’s digital transformation might impact around 7,000 employees, mostly in Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Illinois-based Boeing and Qatar Airways announced an order for 30 787-9 Dreamliners and 10 777-300ERs, valued at USD $11.7 billion at list prices. Boeing also announced that it had finalized an order from China Southern Airlines for 12 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at USD $3.2 billion at current list prices.
  • Major Disaster Declarations were declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
  • Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Company announced on October 31st that a crew working on Colonial’s gasoline pipeline (Line 1) in Shelby County, Alabama experienced a fire. The company said both Line 1 and Line 2, which transports diesel, jet fuel and other distillates, were shut down. While Line 2 was restarted, Colonial said it expects Line 1 to remain down for the remainder of the week.

Financial market news

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $46.86 per barrel on October 31st, down from USD $48.24 at the end of September. The Canadian dollar closed at 74.57 cents U.S. on October 31st, down from 76.24 cents U.S. on September 30th. The S&P/TSX closed at 14,787.27 on October 31st, up from 14,725.86 at the end of September.
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