Canada Markets

Canada's International Merchandise Trade for August

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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As seen in Statistics Canada's merchandise trade data, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with all countries narrowed for the fifth time in 2019 to $955.3 million in August, while exports of all merchandise increased to their highest level in three months at $50.6 billion. The broad farm, fishing and intermediate food products group saw exports slip 2% in August to $2.997 billion, the lowest dollar value reported in six months.

The following is a look at miscellaneous trade data, while focusing on crops that receive limited coverage in weekly Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) statistics.

Canada exported 114,304 metric tons of lentils in August, only 72% of the volume shipped in the same month of 2018, but well above the five-year average for this month. India remains the largest buyer, with 41% of the volume shipped, while Turkey and the United Arab Emirates remains the second and third largest buyers. The August volume represents 6% of the current crop year Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) export demand estimate of 1.9 million metric tons, slightly behind the steady pace needed to reach this target.

An estimated 113,047 mt of peas was exported in August, the smallest monthly volume shipped since August 2018 when a similar volume was shipped. Of this volume shipped, 82% was shipped to China. Exports for this month represent only 52.8% of the five-year average for this month, while representing only 3.3% of the 3.4 mmt export volume demand estimate released by AAFC in September, behind the steady pace needed to reach the targeted export volume.

Chickpea exports totaled 7,282 mt in August, down for the fourth consecutive month. Pakistan and the United States remained the top two buyers in August, the first month of the crop year. This volume is 340% higher than the same month in 2018 while the largest August volume shipped in three years. As well, it is 6.3% higher than the five-year average for this month. August exports represent 4.9% of the current 150,000 mt export forecast released by AAFC, while is behind the steady pace needed to reach the current export forecast.

Canada's mustard exports totaled 8,491 mt in August, the lowest monthly volume shipped in 11 months, although is the largest August volume shipped in four years. This volume is 7% higher than the same month in 2018-19 and is just 0.5% behind the five-year average for this month. August exports represent 7.1% of the current 120,000 mt export forecast, just slightly behind the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Canary seed exports for August were estimated at 13,585 mt, the largest volume shipped in three months and also the largest August volume shipped in five years. This volume is 24.3% higher than the same month in 2018 and 20.8% higher than the five-year average. This will be a most interesting market to watch. AAFC has estimated crop year exports at 90,000 mt, which is roughly equal to crop year supplies and a volume that will drive stocks to zero. August exports represent 15.1% of the annual target, well ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this volume of exports. While price will be the determining factor, this crop year will be a test of the accuracy of government estimates. August saw volumes shipped to Mexico double from the previous month and the largest monthly volume shipped to this destination since January.

Canada's flax exports were reported at 14,948 mt, the lowest monthly volume shipped in 10 months. This represents just 25.5% of the volume shipped in the same month of 2018, while just 34% of the five-year average for August. August shipments account for just 3% of the 2019-20 AAFC forecast, well behind the steady pace needed to reach this target. The August volume shipped to China has backed off considerably this month to 3,695 mt, the smallest volume shipped to this country in 10 months.

Soybean exports for August, the last month of the crop year for row crops, were 481,346 mt, down from the previous month although likely the largest August exports ever achieved. Cumulative exports for the 2018-19 crop year is 14.9% higher than the same period in 2018-19 at 5.6 mmt, while is 36.4% higher than the five-year average. For the second month, the largest volume was shipped to Iran, with 40.6% of the total volume shipped to this country. A modest volume of 3,816 mt was reported as shipped to China.

Canada's soybean imports were reported at 47,465 mt in August, the largest monthly volume reported in four months. Total imports are calculated at 1.023 mmt, up 119% from the same period in 2017-18.

Canada's corn exports were reported at 30,921 mt in August, the lowest monthly volume shipped in 22 months and the lowest August exports seen in eight years. Cumulative exports for the crop year of 1.6 mmt are 20.7% higher than 2017-18 and 48.1% higher than the previous five-year average. The largest volume this month was shipped to the U.S., with volumes shipped to Europe falling off rapidly.

Canada imported 264,066 mt of corn in August, the largest monthly volume in six months, while total crop year imports are near 2.8 mmt. Crop year imports are up 88.1% higher than the previous crop year, while 110% higher than the five-year average. Current AAFC forecasts include a 900,000 mt reduction in 2019-20 imports, with feed supplies expected to be plentiful in the west.

Canola oil exports August totaled 279,680 mt, the highest in four months. This volume is up 10.1% from the same month in 2018. Canola meal exports totaled 415,877 mt, well above August volumes shipped in recent years.

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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at cliff.jamieson@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @Cliff Jamieson

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