Ahead of the November Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Outlook for Principal Field Crop Report, we look at the export pace realized over the first quarter of the crop year as it relates to the historical pace. This gives a hint of potential export demand revisions that may be made in the upcoming report.
Canada's week 13 licensed wheat exports, including activity for the week-ending Nov.3, shows exports of wheat (excluding durum) at 4.211 million metric tons, down 10.5% from the same period in 2018-19 and 1.3% below the five-year average. Over the past five years, an average of 24% of total crop year exports were achieved as of the week 13 licensed export volumes reported, which is consistent with the 23.8% realized in the 2018-19 crop year. As seen on the attached chart, the five-year average pace can be used to project forward to crop year exports of 17.6 mmt, below the current 19 mmt estimate released by AAFC in October. This is seen with the blue and brown bars on the attached chart.
Week 13 statistics report 1.1844 mmt of durum exported for the quarter, up 55% from the same period in 2018-19 and 25.2% higher than the five-year average. This is the fastest pace of movement seen since the 2014-15 crop year. Over the past five crop years, an average of 20.3% of total crop year exports were achieved, given licensed exports as of week 13, a pace that projects forward to 5.8 mmt of exports. Quality and exportable supplies may be a limiting factors and make this a target that is not achievable. Should exports continue at the current pace, or four times the volume shipped in week 13, the total would be 4.738 mmt, indicating that the current forecast may be well supported.
Canola exports over the first 13 weeks totaled 2.117 mmt, down 9.3% from the previous crop year and 9% below the five-year average. Over the past five years, an average of 23.3% of total crop-year exports were reflected in week 13 data, a pace that projects forward to 9.1 mmt, or very close to the current government forecast of 9.2 mmt.
Of the other crops shown, projections for oats and barley exports based on the five-year average pace as of week 13 are higher than current government forecasts, indicating the potential for government forecasts for exports to be revised higher. Projections for soybeans and peas are lower than government forecasts for soybeans and peas, perhaps pointing to the potential for government estimates to be revised lower this month.
Dry peas represent an interesting situation. As of week 13, a reported 868,700 mt of peas were exported through licensed facilities. This volume is 46.8% higher than the same period on 2018-19 while 13.9% below the five-year average, due to large front-end exports in the front months of 2014-15 through 2016-17. Over the past five years, an average of 31.7% of total crop year exports were reported to have moved through licensed facilities in the first 13 weeks of the crop year, a pace that projects forward to crop year exports of 2.7 mmt, well below AAFC's 3.4 mmt estimate.
At the same time, over the past two years, a slower pace saw an average of 22.9% of total crop year exports shipped in the first quarter, a pace that could project forward to 3.8 mmt, a volume that would lead to much tighter stocks on the Prairies. In 2018-19, only 18.2% of crop year exports were realized in the first 13 weeks, which would lead to a forecast that could drive prairie stocks to zero.
Flax exports continue to lag due to the late harvest and concerns over quality, with week 13 data showing just 10,700 metric tons exported through licensed channels, down 78% from the same period in 2018-19 and 76.8% below the five-year average for this period. This places crop year exports well-behind the pace needed to reach the current 500,000 mt AAFC export forecast, although on average, only 8.6% of crop-year exports have been realized as of this week, leaving significant time for exports to improve.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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