While one month does not make a trend, Statistics Canada's November merchandise trade report made a note of Canada's November soybean exports in its written commentary that bears watching.
Throughout 2019, Soy Canada has warned of the challenges of diversifying exports following a sharp decline in exports to China in the month of January. Statistics Canada reports 1.4 million metric tons shipped to China in November 2018, falling to 718,115 metric tons in December and only 648 mt in January.
On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported 837,107 mt of soybeans exported in November, the largest volume shipped in the 11 months reported for 2019. The volume shipped to China was reported at 1,717 mt, the fourth-lowest monthly volume shipped to this market in the 11 months of 2019. This accounts for 0.2% of the monthly volume exported, the lowest percentage calculated for any given month over the time period shown on the attached chart, from 2016-17 through 2019-20.
In November 2018, Canada exported a record 1.518 mmt. As can be seen on the attached chart, monthly exports in excess of 1 million metric tons are not common and seen in the three months shown on the chart. Nov. 2018, Nov. 2017 and Nov. 2016, are the only three months to ever exceed 1 mmt.
What is interesting is that in November 2018, 92.3% of the volume was shipped to China. A further 64,049 mt was shipped to Italy while Japan was shipped 22,035 mt. Nine countries were shipped a volume ranging from 1,000 mt to 10,000 mt, while an additional 17 countries were shipped between zero and 1,000 mt. In total, Statistics Canada reports shipments to 29 destinations.
The November 2019 data shows shipments to 38 destinations. Two countries were shipped in excess of 100,000 mt, 12 countries were shipped a volume ranging from 10,000 mt and 100,000 mt and an additional 24 countries were shipped between zero and 10,000 mt. Of the total volume shipped, 494,435 mt or 59% of the total was shipped to 10 European countries.
As the industry continues to speculate over the effects of a U.S.-China trade deal, media reports are speculating that such a deal would be detrimental to Brazil's export program, the world's largest exporter. Brazil in turn will need to shift its focus, while Canada needs to continue focusing on regions where a freight advantage exists and be one step ahead of the larger volumes that could soon be searching for a home.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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