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 Cenovus Energy Inc. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Pelican Lake heavy oil operations, as well as other miscellaneous assets in northern Alberta, for gross cash proceeds of $975 million. The company said the transaction is expected to close on or before September 30, 2017, subject to normal closing conditions. Cenovus also announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Suffield crude oil and natural gas operations in southern Alberta to International Petroleum Corporation of Vancouver for gross cash proceeds of $512 million. Cenovus said the sale of the Suffield assets is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to closing conditions.
- Alamos Gold Inc. and Richmont Mines Inc., both of Toronto, announced they had entered into a definitive agreement whereby Alamos will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Richmont for a total equity value of approximately USD $770 million. The companies said the transaction is expected to close mid-November 2017, subject to shareholder, court, and regulatory approvals.
- Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation announced it had filed a letter with the National Energy Board (NEB) seeking a 30-day suspension of the Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline Project applications. The company said the suspension will allow time to conduct a review of recent changes announced by the NEB regarding the list of issues and environmental assessment factors of the projects while understanding how these changes impact the projects' costs, schedules and viability.
- Calgary-based Nexen Energy ULC and INPEX Gas British Columbia announced they had decided to end the Aurora LNG feasibility study and will cease all investigation activity, effective immediately. Aurora LNG was studying the design, construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and marine terminal at Digby Island, west of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
- On September 17th, Unifor announced that members of Unifor Local 88 at General Motors of Canada's CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario had taken strike action.
- On September 26th, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its affirmative preliminary determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada, finding that exporters of this merchandise received countervailable subsidies of 219.63%. The DOC said it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers based on these preliminary rates. The DOC also said it is scheduled to announce its final determination on or about December 19, 2017.
- Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced that it had concluded a firm purchase agreement with SpiceJet Limited of India for up to 50 Q400 turboprop airliners. The company said the purchase agreement includes 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights on an additional 25 aircraft. Bombardier said that, based on list prices, the order is valued at up to USD $1.7 billion.
- New Jersey-based Toys"R"Us, Inc. announced it and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries and its Canadian subsidiary have voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company said its Canadian subsidiary intends to seek protection in parallel proceedings under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Toys"R"Us said its operations outside of the U.S. and Canada are not part of the Chapter 11 filing and CCAA proceedings, and that the company had received a commitment for over USD $3.0 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from various lenders to support its ongoing operations.
- Toronto-based Mastermind Toys announced it had opened its 56th store in Orleans, Ontario, and that four additional locations will open this fall in Sudbury, Ontario; Langford, British Columbia; Fredericton, New Brunswick and Toronto. The company said it expects to continue its national expansion plan with 30 additional new stores scheduled to open over the next three years.
- Burlington-based IKEA Canada announced it had opened a new store in Halifax.
Finance and insurance
- CIBC, RBC Royal Bank, TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank, and BMO Bank of Montreal announced on September 6th that they were raising their prime lending rates by 25 basis points from 2.95% to 3.20%, effective September 7, 2017.
- The Bank of Canada raised the target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1.00%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in July 2017.
- The Government of Canada announced that provisional application of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) entered into force on September 21st, with 98% of tariff lines becoming duty free.
- The second round of negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico pursuant to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement took place in Mexico City from September 1-5, followed by a third round of negotiations in Ottawa from September 23-27.
- The Government of Nova Scotia tabled Budget 2017-18 on September 26th which included investments in infrastructure, health care, education and economic development. The budget also confirmed the previously-announced increase to the small business tax threshold from $350,000 to $500,000, and the increase in the basic personal amount for taxable incomes under $75,000. The Government forecasts a positive net position of $21.3 million and economic growth of 1.1% in 2017.
- The Government of British Columbia tabled its Budget 2017 Update on September 11th, which included spending on affordable housing, increased spending on elementary education, an increase in the personal income tax rate from 14.7% to 16.8% on taxable income over $150,000, and an increase in the general corporate income tax rate from 11% to 12%. The Government forecasts a $246 million surplus in 2017-18 and economic growth of 2.9% in 2017.
- The Government of Ontario announced it will be introducing legislation later this fall that governs the lawful use and retail of recreational cannabis in response to federal legalization which is planned to take effect by July 2018. The Government said the LCBO will oversee the legal retail of cannabis in Ontario through new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service with approximately 150 standalone stores opened by 2020, including 80 by July 1, 2019. The Government also said that decisions with respect to pricing and taxation will be made after further details are provided by the federal government.
- The Government of New Brunswick announced it has secured suppliers of cannabis for the recreational-use market in anticipation of the federal government legalizing such use by July 2018. The Government said a Crown corporation has been established to oversee the sale of non-medicinal cannabis and that the Crown corporation will not directly conduct retail operations but will eventually engage with another entity or entities to provide that framework.
- France-based Ubisoft announced plans to invest an additional $780 million and create 1,000 new jobs in Quebec by 2027. The company said the investments include the creation of the Ubisoft Saguenay studio in early 2018 which it expects to grow to 125 employees in five years, and represents direct regional investments of $135 million by 2027.
- Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corporation announced it is proceeding with the Phase Two expansion of its Tasiast mine in Mauritania. The company said initial construction is expected to begin in early 2018, with expected initial plant and infrastructure capital costs of approximately USD $590 million. Kinross also announced its intent to proceed with the Round Mountain Phase W project in Nevada, pending the completion of the permitting process.
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 1.00% to 1.25%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in June 2017. The FOMC also announced it will initiate a balance sheet normalization program in October 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 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 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.
- 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. The Riksbank also said the purchases of government bonds will continue during the second half of 2017, as decided in April, to a total of SEK 290 billion by the end of 2017.
- On September 27th, U.S. President Donald Trump presented his proposal for tax reform, which included consolidating the current seven personal income tax brackets into three brackets of 12%, 25% and 35%, reducing the corporate tax rate to 20%, and limiting the maximum tax rate for small and family-owned businesses to 25%.
- On September 5th, U.S. President Donald Trump declared an emergency in the State of Florida and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irma. On September 21st, the U.S. President also declared that a major disaster exits in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and in the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands, resulting from Hurricane Maria.
- Texas-based Valero Energy Corporation announced on September 4th that its Corpus Christi and Texas City refineries were back to rates prior to Hurricane Harvey. The company said that its Three Rivers refinery continued to ramp up operations, and that its Houston refinery will increase rates as transportation and logistics infrastructure become more available. Valero also said its Port Arthur refinery is in the final stages of refinery assessment and making preparations to resume operations.
- Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell plc announced on September 7th that it had restarted operations at its Perdido facility in the Gulf of Mexico and that the facility is currently ramping up production.
- Texas-based Phillips 66 Company announced on September 12th that operations had resumed at the following sites that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey: the Sweeny Refinery; the Phillips 66-operated Pasadena refined products terminal and connecting pipelines; the Beaumont Terminal; the Freeport Terminal; and the Gulf Coast Fractionators facility in Mt. Belvieu.
- Texas-based ExxonMobil Corporation announced on September 21st that its Baytown and Beaumont refineries had begun producing fuels at reduced rates and that crude oil and refined product pipelines in the Gulf and other regions of Texas have restarted as recovery continues.
- Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. and Rockwell Collins, Inc. of Iowa announced they had reached a definitive agreement under which United Technologies will acquire Rockwell Collins for a total transaction value of USD $30 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by the third quarter of 2018, subject to approval by Rockwell Collins' shareowners and regulatory approvals.
- California-based Gap Inc. announced that over the next three years it expects to add about 70 net new stores, with the addition of about 270 Old Navy, Athleta and value expressions across the portfolio, and the closure of about 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic specialty locations.
- Germany-based Siemens AG and Alstom SA of France announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding to combine Siemens' mobility business including its rail traction drives business, with Alstom. The transaction is expected to close at the end of calendar year 2018, subject to clearance from relevant regulatory authorities.
- Denmark-based The LEGO Group announced plans to reduce its total global workforce by around 8%. The company said this would impact approximately 1,400 positions, the majority before the end of 2017.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $51.67 on September 29th, up from USD $47.23 at the end of August. The Canadian dollar closed at 80.13 cents U.S. on September 29th, up from 79.77 cents U.S. on August 31st. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,634.94 on September 29th, up from a closing value of 15,211.87 at the end of August.