Canada Markets

Grain Futures Tendencies in February

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart plots the five-year average percent change in nearby futures in February. Over this period, oat futures have averaged a move higher of 4% in February, while canola futures have averaged a .1% loss. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The attached chart shows the five-year average move in nearby futures, or March contracts, over the month of February, which may shed light on the appropriateness of this month when pricing grain.

Of the crops shown, canola was the only crop to show an average loss over the past five years in the March futures contract during February. The March contract closed lower in February in two of the five years, while the largest gain was realized in 2018 of 4.8%. DTN's five-year seasonal trend studies point to a seasonal increase in prices in the January through May period, although February could prove to be one of the weaker months.

The next weakest performance seen during February is spring wheat. Spring wheat prices ended higher in only one of the five years in the month of February, although there happened to be an 11% gain in 2014 that resulted in a five-year average in positive territory of 1.5%. DTN seasonal studies point to a weak seasonal influence in the early months of the year.

In contrast, winter wheat futures have tended to close higher in February, with SRW averaging a gain of 2.37% over the past five years while HRW averaged 3.4% higher in February over the same period.

The crops that tend to perform the best in February, based on average gains over the past five years, are soybeans and oats. Soybean futures have averaged an increase of 3.9% over the past five years, ending higher in all but one year. Soybean's period of seasonal strength is the months of October through May.

Oat prices have averaged 4% higher in February, ending higher in three out of five years.

Corn prices tend to trade higher from October until early June, while the March contract closed higher in four of the past five years, averaging a 2% gain.

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