Canada Markets

Canadian Exports get off to a Slow Start

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Week 6 Canadian Grain Commission data shows exports of major grains through licensed facilities total 3.446 million metric tons, (green bar), 17% below the same period last year (blue bar) and below the five-year average (black bar). Of the crops selected, exports of durum, oats and peas are higher on a year-over-year basis. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

Hopefully the interest in U.S. grain exports will soon be seen within the Canadian industry. Monday's DTN reports show that cumulative grain inspections for the 2016/17 crop year are up 25% from last year for wheat, 112% higher than the same period last year for soybeans and 50% higher than last year for corn.

The slow pace of prairie harvest points to a different situation for Canada's exports. Most recent crop reports show Saskatchewan's harvest 38% complete as of Sept. 12, as compared to the five-year average of 44%, while the Alberta crop was estimated to be 20% complete, also well below the five-year average of close to 38%.

As seen on the attached chart, exports of all grain from licensed facilities as of the week ending Sept. 11 or week 6 were reported at 3.446 million metric tons (green bar), down 17% from the same period in 2014/15 and also below the five-year average of 3.606 mmt. This is a three-year low for fall movement as of week 6, with a recent high of 5.007 mmt achieved in 2014/15.

Data for the big crops of wheat and canola show cumulative exports behind last year's pace, while wheat exports are behind the five-year average for the period while cumulative exports of canola, at 698,100 mt, is 19.6% behind last year but 12.3% higher than the five-year average.

Exports of durum are well ahead of last year's pace as of the week in question at 336,900 mt, although remains behind the five-year average pace. Exports of both oats and peas remain ahead of both last year and the five-year pace.

The reduced demand for railcars is seen in AG Transport Coalition data as of week 4 which shows the weekly average demand for both railroads combined averaging 6,662 cars/week, down 15.6% or 1,230 cars/week from last year. For week 4, combined data for the two railways shows 90% of the cars ordered supplied in the week wanted. It's interesting to note that CN Rail supplied 89% of the cars wanted in week 4, which was down from a high of 98% in week 2. At the same time, CP Rail supplied 90% of the cars wanted in week 4, up from a low of 76% reported for week 1.

To date, the car supply by corridor shows consistent movement across the six shipping corridors listed. CN Rail has supplied 96% of the cars ordered overall, while by shipping corridor, cars supplied range from 92% to 98% of the demand by corridor. While CP has supplied 94% of cars requested overall, by corridor this represents 91% to 98% of the demand by corridor.


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