September 2018 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

  • Vancouver-based Nevsun Resources Ltd. and Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. of China announced they had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Zijin will make a take-over bid to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Nevsun for $1.86 billion. Nevsun said the offer is subject to approval under the Investment Canada Act and the Canadian Competition Act, approval by relevant authorities in China, as well as shareholder and regulatory approval.

  • Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation announced it had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended share-for-share merger of Barrick and Randgold Resources Limited of Jersey and that the New Barrick Group will have an aggregate market capitalization of USD $18.3 billion. Barrick said the merger is expected to close by the first quarter of 2019, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

  • Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. announced it had entered into definitive agreements with Birch Hill Equity Partners Management Inc. of Toronto for the sale of its non-core midstream and power assets in Canada, and Middle River Power III of Illinois for the sale of non-core power assets in the United States, for total proceeds of approximately $560 million. AltaGas said the transactions are expected to close by the end of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

  • Surge Energy Inc. and Mount Bastion Oil and Gas Corp., both of Calgary, announced they had entered into an arrangement agreement pursuant to which Surge has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Mount Bastion for an aggregate purchase price of $320 million. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in October 2018, subject to Mount Bastion shareholder and court approvals as well as other customary closing conditions.

  • Calgary-based Crescent Point Energy Corp. announced it was finalizing an organizational restructuring that includes an immediate workforce reduction of approximately 17% of employees. The company also said it expects its 2019 capital expenditures to be approximately $1.55 billion to $1.60 billion, and its 2018 capital expenditures to be $1.775 billion.

  • Calgary-based Cenovus Energy Inc. announced it had signed three-year deals with major rail companies to transport approximately 100,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil from northern Alberta to various destinations on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The company said the agreements involve moving oil with CN from Cenovus’s Bruderheim Energy Terminal starting in the fourth quarter of 2018, and with CP through USD Partners’ terminal in Hardisty, Alberta staring in the second quarter of 2019, both ramping up through 2019.

Manufacturing

  • Aurora, Ontario-based Magna International Inc. announced that its Powertrain unit had signed an agreement to sell its global Fluid Pressure & Controls business to Hanon Systems of South Korea for approximately $1.23 billion. Magna said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to a number of customary conditions, including antitrust approvals.

Retail

  • California-based Apple, Inc. announced that the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will be available for pre-order in Canada beginning September 14th and in stores beginning September 21st. Apple also said the iPhone XR will be available to pre-order beginning October 19th and in stores beginning October 26th.

  • Toronto-based HBC announced it had entered into definitive agreements with SIGNA Retail Holdings of Austria to form a strategic partnership for its European retail and real estate assets. HBC said its European retail operations will merge with SIGNA’s Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH, with HBC taking a 49.99% interest in the combined businesses. HBC said the combination of the retail companies and the formation of the real estate joint venture are expected to occur within the next 90 days and are subject to approval from European competition authorities and satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions.

  • Mississauga-based Walmart Canada announced that select regions in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Winnipeg will be eligible for same-day grocery delivery through Instacart. Walmart said the service was made available in the GTA on September 13th, followed by Winnipeg on September 27th as part of a pilot program between the two companies.

  • Nova Scotia-based Empire Company Limited announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Farm Boy Inc. of Ottawa for a total enterprise value of $800 million. The company said the acquisition is expected to close at the beginning of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including review by the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Other news

  • The Governments of Canada and the United States announced they had reached an agreement, alongside Mexico, on a new trade agreement: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

  • The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.50%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in July 2018.

  • On September 7th, the Government of British Columbia announced it had cancelled the provincial state of emergency that had been enacted to support the province-wide response to the wildfire situation. The Government said that as of September 7th, 485 wildfires were burning in the province, approximately 1,994 people were affected by evacuation orders, and approximately 4,848 people were impacted by evacuation alerts.

  • The Government of Canada announced that it has instructed the National Energy Board (NEB) to reconsider its recommendations pursuant to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, taking into account the effects of project-related maritime shipping. The Government also said that the NEB will be required to complete its review and deliver its report within 22 weeks.

  • The Government of Saskatchewan announced it had approved the Blue Hill Wind Energy Project to be developed and operated by Algonquin Power Co. of Toronto. The Government said construction is anticipated to begin in 2019, with possible service as early as 2021.

  • Calgary-based ATCO Ltd. announced an agreement to acquire 40% of Neltume Ports of Chile for approximately $450 million.

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 2.00% to 2.25%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in June 2018.

  • 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 said that net asset purchases will continue at a monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September 2018, after which the monthly pace of net asset purchases will be reduced to €15 billion until the end of December 2018 and then end.

  • The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.75% 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 August 2018.

  • 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 Executive Board of Norway's Norges Bank decided to raise its key policy rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%. The last change in the rate was a 25 basis point reduction in March 2016.

  • The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a list of approximately USD $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that will be subject to additional tariffs. The USTR said the additional tariffs will be effective starting September 24, 2018, and initially will be in the amount of 10%. The USTR also said that starting January 1, 2019, the level of the additional tariffs will increase to 25%. U.S. President Donald Trump said if China takes retaliatory action against U.S. farmers or other U.S. industries, the U.S. will immediately pursue tariffs on approximately USD $267 billion of additional imports. China subsequently announced it had filed another suit against the U.S. tariff measures at the World Trade Organization.

  • On September 14th and September 16th, respectively, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the States of North Carolina and South Carolina and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, Tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence. 

  • Oklahoma-based Sonic Corporation and Inspire Brands, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Inspire will acquire Sonic in a transaction valued at approximately USD $2.3 billion. The companies said the transaction will close by the end of the year, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

  • New York-based Michael Kors Holdings Limited announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Italian luxury fashion house Gianni Versace S.p.A for a total enterprise value of €1.83 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in its fourth fiscal quarter, subject to specified closing conditions.

  • New York-based Sirius XM Holdings Inc. and Pandora Media, Inc. of California announced a definitive agreement under which SiriusXM will acquire Pandora in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately USD $3.5 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to Pandora stockholders and regulatory approvals.

  • California-based Wells Fargo & Company announced that as part of its ongoing transformation, the company expects its headcount to decline by approximately 5% to 10% within the next three years and that this decline would reflect displacements as well as normal attrition over this period.
     

Financial market news

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $73.25 on September 28th, up from $69.80 at the end of August. The Canadian dollar closed at 77.25 cents U.S. on September 28th, up from 76.60 cents U.S. on August 31st. The dollar subsequently closed at 78.11 cents U.S. on Monday, October 1st, following the announcement of the USMCA agreement. The S&P/TSX closed at 16,073.14 on September 28th, down from a closing value of 16,262.88 at the end of August. 
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