Canada Markets

Current Pace of Flax Exports Bears Watching

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart compares the pace of licensed flax exports for 2018/19 (black line) with 2017/18 (brown line) and the three-year average (grey-shaded area). Cumulative exports as of week 5 of 38,600 mt are 85% higher than the three-year average for this period. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The Canadian Grain Commission's Grain Statistics Weekly report suggests there is early interest in flax this crop year. Week 5 cumulative exports are reported at 38,600 metric tons (mt), up 37.4% from the same period last crop year and 85% higher than the three-year average, as indicated by the grey shaded area on the attached chart. I have readily available weekly statistics to the 2009/10 crop year and the current pace is well ahead of all of the years since.

On Thursday, Statistics Canada estimated July 31 ending stocks of flaxseed at 128,000 metric tons, down 46.7% from the previous crop year and the lowest ending stocks reported in three years. Statistics Canada's supply and disposition of grains in Canada chart suggests that this represents 18.9% of total disappearance, down sharply from the 37% reported for 2016/17.

This report follows last week's Statistics Canada's 2018 production estimate of 494,000 mt, down 11.1% from 2017 and below pre-report estimates. These two reports together would point to total supplies of 632,000 mt, which includes 10,000 mt of imports as penciled in by AAFC. This is down 21.3% from 2017/18 and would be the lowest supplies reported in seven years.

This week's Statistics Canada merchandise trade report also shows strong flax exports in the month of July, with 61,245 mt shipped, the third largest monthly exports reported for the 2017/18 crop year and up 104% from the previous month. While China was shipped 50% of this volume, a further 34% of the volume was shipped to Belgium, which appears to be the largest volume shipped to that country since August 2016.

One Saskatchewan broker reports No. 1 flax bid at $12.75/bu delivered to handling facilities while milling quality is being picked up in the yard at similar levels. Saskatchewan Agriculture reports flax at $12.15/bu or $478.11/mt delivered to handling facilities as of Sept. 5, stable over the last month and $29/mt higher than year-ago levels.

DTN 360 Poll

This week's poll asks what you think of the potential for the wheat market as we look ahead at the 2018/19 crop year. You can weigh in with your thoughts on this week's poll, found at the lower right of the DTN Canada Home Page.

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