Statistics Canada reports that both imports and exports of all merchandise increased in the month of July, although imports rose faster, leading to an increase in Canada's trade deficit with the world.
Total imports were up 12.7% in the month and total exports rose 11.1% to $45.4 billion, up for the third month but still down 6% from the dollar value achieved in February. Canada's trade deficit increased by 54% month-over-month to $2.451 billion, the largest in three months. The improving U.S. economy has led to continued growth in Canada's trade surplus with that country, higher for the third month to $2.861 billion, the highest reported in five months.
July exports in the broad Farm, fishing and intermediate food products category was reported at $3.844 billion, which is a monthly record for this category, while the narrower Farm and fishing products category shows a total of $3.3456 billion, slightly below the record achieved in April.
Each month we look at export data for smaller crops and products where weekly Canadian Grain Commission data fails to cover the extent of the export activity.
Canada's lentil exports were reported at 300,042 metric tons, the smallest volume moved in four months although still well-above the average of the first eight months. India was by far the destination for the largest volumes shipped, with 42% of the volume exported in July shipped to this country. Total exports for 2019-20 total 2.861 million metric tons, up 40.7% from 2018-19 and a record level of exports.
Dry pea exports were reported at 171,841 mt in July, down for a third month and the second-smallest monthly volume shipped in 2019-20, with the smallest volume shipped in August 2019. Bangladesh was the largest buyer with 79,816 mt shipped this month, while the volume shipped to China plunged 79% from the previous month to 51,598 mt, the smallest monthly volume shipped to this country this crop year. Total crop year exports totaled 3.781 mmt, the largest volume shipped in three years, the second-largest volume ever shipped, next to the 3.944 mmt shipped in 2016-17. Exports in 2019-20 were 15.7% higher than the previous crop year and 17.9% higher than the five-year average.
Chickpea exports in July totaled 9,425 mt, the largest volume in three months and the largest July exports shipped in four years. Crop year exports are reported at 104,513 mt, representing 71% of the volume shipped in 2018-19 and 88.5% of the five-year average.
Canary seed exports fell for a second month to 10,848 mt, still the largest July shipments reported in three years. The country of Brazil moved ahead of Mexico for the largest volume shipped in July, taking 19.3% of the total volume shipped. Total exports are reported at 161,432 mt for the crop year, up 3.4% from 2018-19, 6.6% higher than the five-year average and the largest volume shipped in five years.
Canada exported 110,487 mt of corn in July, the smallest volume shipped in three months, with 70.4% destined for Netherlands and Ireland. After 11 months of shipments, a total of 644,378 mt has been shipped, 41.7% of the volume shipped over this period in the previous crop year and 58% of the five-year average. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada raised its estimate for 2019-20 by 200,000 metric tons to 850,000 mt, a target that seems lofty, given the volumes shipped in recent months.
Soybean exports were reported at 188,860 mt in July, the lowest in three months, with Iran being shipped 29% of the total volume, the largest of any single destination. A modest 18,016 mt was shipped to China, the lowest monthly volume shipped in four months. Over the first 11 months of the crop year, 3.367 mmt of exports are reported, representing 65.8% of the 2018-19 exports and 77.3% of the five-year average. The AAFC forecast remains at 4.3 mmt for the crop year, with close to 1 mmt needed to be shipped in August to reach this target which is out of reach.
Canada exported 273,620 mt of canola oil in the month of July, up from the previous month. Roughly 45% of this volume was refined oil sent the U.S., while 25.7% of this volume was crude oil shipped to China. Total exports of oil are 17.7% higher than the 2018-19 crop year and 18.5% above the three-year average. Exporters shopped 398,031 mt of meal in July, the smallest volume moved in five months. Year-to-date exports total 4.902 mmt, 16.5% higher than 2019-20 and 16.3% higher than the three-year average.
Canada's ethanol imports totaled 110 million liters in July, up for the third straight month as Canada's economy strengthens and the largest volume imported in seven months. Imports over the first seven months of 2020 total 627 million litres, down 5.7% from last year and 12.1% below the five-year average.
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