Statistics Canada reported an unexpected trade deficit of $972 million for February, which follows three consecutive monthly trade surpluses. The media is reporting pre-report estimates that pointed to an expected trade surplus of $500 million this month, which would have been a three-month high. Exports were reported to fall in eight of 11 categories, including the Farm, Fishing and Intermediate food products group which reported record exports in January only to fall by 10.6% to $2.7 billion in February.
While the United States trade deficit fell in the month of February given a hike in exports, Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. increased to a four-month high of $4.5 billion. Canada's government has recently stated that Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. is the smallest of the 14 to 16 countries that the U.S. has named as their watch list, with hopes that the U.S. has bigger fish to fry when it comes to renegotiating trade deals.
Here is a look at miscellaneous trade data reported Tuesday.
Canada shipped 139,186 metric tons of lentils in February, down more than 100,000 mt from January and the smallest monthly volume shipped in six months. Cumulative exports this crop year total 1.820 million metric tons, just .1% ahead of the volume shipped in the same period in 2015/16, while is 61.2% higher than the five-year average. Total exports have reached 82.7% of the 2.2 mmt export target for the crop year released by AAFC, with data covering the first 58.3% of the crop year.
The volume of lentils shipped to India ahead of that country's expected large harvest was 31,311 mt, down for the fourth straight month to a six-month low, as seen on the attached chart. Cumulative volumes shipped to India this crop year total 588,156 mt, down 25.4% from the same period last year.
A total volume of 273,666 mt of dry peas were exported in February, a two-month high, while appears to be the highest volume shipped during the month of February. Year-to-date, 2.485 mmt has been exported, up 47% from the same period last crop year, while 50% higher than the five-year average. Total year-to-date exports are 77.7% of the current 3.2 mmt export target released by AAFC, with just 58.3% of the crop year expired.
Exports of chickpeas totaled 9,986 metric tons in February, a four-month low. Year-to-data exports totaled 65,905 mt, 78.6% of the 2015/16 volume for the same period and 64.6% above the five-year average for this period. Current exports equate to 57.3% of the 115,000-mt export target set by AAFC, with movement on track to reach this target.
Exports of mustard in February total 9,550 mt, a three-month high. Cumulative shipments total 66,690 mt, 97.6% of the volume exported in the same period in 2015/16, while 94.4% of the five-year average. Current year-to-date exports total 58% of the annual export target of 115,000 mt, on track to reach the current target given that the data covers 58% of the crop year.
Canary seed exports were reported at 11,012 mt in February, down only slightly from the previous month. Cumulative exports total 77,613 mt, representing 89% of the volume shipped in the same period in 2015/16 and 91% of the five-year average. Cumulative exports at 77,613 mt also represent 67.5% of the 115,000 mt export target, ahead of the pace needed to reach the annual export target released by AAFC.
Exports of flax was reported at 52,667 mt in February, a three-month low, but the highest volume moved in the month of February in seven years. Cumulative exports total 336,931 mt, up 7.7% from the same period last year and 15.7% higher than the five-year average. This cumulative volume represents 56.2% of the 600,000 mt AAFC export forecast, just slightly behind the pace needed to reach this target.
February exports of soybeans totaled 296,713 mmt, down for a third consecutive month. The current pace of exports is 8.1% ahead of the same period in 2015/16, while 32.4% higher than the five-year average. With data covering the first 50% of the 2016/17 crop year, cumulative soybean exports are 81.2% of the 4.4 mmt export target, well-ahead of the pace needed to reach this volume.
Corn exports in February total 75,986 mt, while year-to-date exports total 470,543 mt. This is 4.5% higher than the same period last year while 27.3% higher than the five-year average. The current export target is 1.450 mmt, 100,000 higher than estimate in February, while current exports are 32.5% of this target with data covering 50% of the crop year, leaving corn movement behind the steady pace needed to reach the current target.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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