September 2019 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

  • The Federal Court of Appeal announced on September 4th that it had granted six requests for permission to challenge the Governor in Council's approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, and that these parties may now start legal challenges to the approval of the project. The Court said that these challenges are limited to the narrow issue of the adequacy of the Government of Canada's further consultation with Indigenous peoples and First Nations between August 30, 2018 and June 18, 2019, and related issues.
  • The Government of Alberta announced on September 10th that it had launched a challenge to the Government of Canada's Bill C-69 in the Court of Appeal of Alberta.
  • The Government of Alberta announced that it is increasing oil production limits for November and December to ensure alignment with takeaway capacity. The overall production limit will be 3.80 million barrels per day in November and 3.81 million barrels per day in December.
  • St. John's-based Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. announced on September 27th that it had resumed production at the Hibernia platform.
  • On September 27th, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) ordered that Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. may not continue its current open season process. The CER said that Enbridge may not offer firm service to prospective shippers on the Mainline until such firm service, including all associated tolls and terms and conditions of service, has been approved by the Commission of the CER. Enbridge said on September 29th that it will file an application with the CER seeking approval of a firm service offering as soon as practical. 
  • Calgary-based Crescent Point Energy Corp. announced that it had entered into definitive agreements with select parties to sell its Uinta Basin asset in its entirety and certain southeast Saskatchewan conventional assets for total cash consideration of approximately $912 million. The company said the sales are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019, subject to closing conditions and the receipt of regulatory approvals.
  • Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its indirect, non-operating interest in the Central Penn Pipeline held by its subsidiary WGL Midstream Inc. to Meade Pipeline Investment, LLC for total gross proceeds of approximately $870 million. AltaGas said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
  • Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. announced it is replacing its coke-fired boilers with two cogeneration units at its Oil Sands Base Plant. The company said the project cost is estimated to be $1.4 billion and projected to be in-service in the second half of 2023.
  • Vancouver-based Interfor Corporation announced the permanent closure of its Hammond sawmill, located in Maple Ridge, B.C., and the reorganization of its forestry and woodlands operations. The company said the closure is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, after the mill's remaining log and lumber inventories are processed and shipped.
  • Surrey, British Columbia-based Teal-Jones Group announced the immediate shutdown of all harvesting operations on the BC Coast, including its Fraser Valley and Honeymoon Bay – TFL46 operations. The company said the curtailment will result in substantial loss of employment for the company's forestry employees and contractors.
  • Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. announced it would introduce variable operating schedules at five British Columbia sawmills that will result in an estimated decrease of production in the range of 15%-25% of its current B.C. lumber production. West Fraser also said it would curtail its B.C. plywood production for two weeks, and that the variable operating schedules and the curtailment of plywood operations were expected to commence on September 16th, 2019.
  • Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. announced that it expects to proactively take up to 8-week inventory shutdowns at its Allan, Lanigan and Vanscoy potash mines during the fourth quarter of 2019. The company said that if all three potash facilities were to remain idled for the full 8 weeks, potash production could be reduced by approximately 700,000 tonnes.

Manufacturing

  • The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced that its membership was going on strike against Michigan-based General Motors Co. as of September 16th. On September 26th, Unifor said the impact of the UAW strike is being felt in General Motors operations and its related supply chain on both sides of the border.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.75%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in October 2018.
  • The Government of Canada's First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program came into effect September 2nd.
  • On September 7th, the Government of Canada announced that a request by the Province of Nova Scotia for federal assistance was approved to restore residential services and ensure public welfare in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
  • On September 14th, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced it had begun activating the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program to help recover costs associated with damages following Hurricane Dorian.
  • Toronto-based Dream Global REIT and Dream Unlimited Corp. announced that Dream Global had entered into a master acquisition agreement with affiliates of real estate funds managed by Blackstone of New York, pursuant to which Blackstone will acquire all of Dream Global's subsidiaries and assets in an all-cash transaction valued at $6.2 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in December 2019, subject to unitholder and regulatory approvals.
  • Toronto-based HBC announced that HBC Netherlands BV will close its 15 Hudson's Bay stores, e-commerce site and headquarters in the Netherlands on or before December 31, 2019. The company said the closure of the Netherlands stores is not expected to have any impact on the day-to-day operations of the Hudson's Bay business in Canada.

United States and other international news

  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) lowered the target range for the federal funds interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.75% to 2.00%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point decrease announced in July 2019.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) lowered the interest rate on the deposit facility by 10 basis points to -0.50% and left the interest rates on the main refinancing operations of the Eurosystem and the marginal lending facility unchanged at 0.00% and 0.25%. The ECB also said net purchases will be restarted under the Governing Council's asset purchase programme (APP) at a monthly pace of €20 billion as from November 1, 2019.
  • 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 1.00%. The last change in the cash rate was a 25 basis point reduction in July 2019.
  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, unchanged at 1.0%. The last change in the Official Cash Rate was a 50 basis point reduction in August 2019.
  • Sweden's Riksbank left its main interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at -0.25%. The last change in the repo rate was a 25 basis point increase in December 2018.
  • The Executive Board of Norway's Norges Bank decided to raise the policy rate by 25 basis points to 1.50%. The last change in the policy rate was a 25 basis point increase in June 2019.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump declared that emergencies exist in the States of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and ordered Federal assistance due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Dorian.
  • Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma L.P. announced it had filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as the next step in implementing a framework for settling the U.S. opioid litigation facing the company.
  • UK-based Thomas Cook Group plc announced an application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the company.
  • Germany-based Commerzbank AG announced a new strategic programme in which an estimated 4,300 full-time positions would be shed across the Group.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $54.07 per barrel on September 30th, down from a closing value of USD $55.10 at the end of August. Western Canadian Select crude oil traded in the USD $41 to $49 per barrel range during September. The Canadian dollar closed at 75.51 cents U.S. on September 30th, up from 75.22 cents U.S. at the end of August. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 16,658.63 on September 30th, up from a closing value of 16,442.07 at the end of August.
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