Cumulative barley statistics may support the most recent Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada estimates that point to an expected year-over-year decline in export movement of barley for 2018/19, according to Canadian Grain Commission data reported for the first 12 weeks of the crop year.
In 2017-18, Canada exported 2.824 million metric tons (mmt) of barley (2.02 mmt of grain and 804,000 metric tons of malt reported as grain equivalent). This was the largest exported volume reported in 10 years, up close to 37% from the year prior and by the same amount from the five-year average.
AAFC's October estimate for barley exports was left unchanged at 2.4 mmt for 2018/19, down 15% from the past year and the first year-over-year decline in exports realized in three years. AAFC views lower exports due to a decline in supplies with 2017/18 ending stocks falling by an estimated 866,000 mt, while feed use is forecast to rise by 171,000 mt, or 3%, in 2018/19 to 5.837 mmt.
This lower export forecast comes at a time when the International Grains Council has estimated global production to fall for the third straight year and to a six-year low of 139.6 mmt, while global consumption is expected to exceed production for a second straight year. The ICG has estimated global stocks to fall to a 23-year low of 20.5 mmt, while an IGC chart posted to Twitter shows the stocks held by major exporters (Argentina, Australia, Canada, EU, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and United States are expected to fall to 9.4 mmt. As recently as 2009-10, this same group held close to 30 mmt.
Despite the forecast for lower exports this year, handling statistics as of week 12 would indicate that traders are positioning to move even more. A year-over-year view of selected statistics (Week 12 in 2017-18 to Week 12 in 2018-19) shows producers delivering 27.3% more volume into the licensed handling system than the same period last crop year, despite the much later harvest. Licensed terminals have received a volume that is 32% higher than the same week last crop year, while stocks held in commercial storage are 38.8% higher than seen in the same period last year. Exports from licensed facilities are 7.3% higher than the same period in 2017-18 at 354,500 mt.
Canada's International Merchandise Trade data will be released on Friday, Nov. 2, for an updated view of September's shipments. The volume exported in the first two months of 2017-18 was 10.1% of the total volume moved over the crop year, while over the past five years, the volume moved in September and October has averaged just 4.9% of total crop-year exports.
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