Canada Markets

Statistics Canada November Trade Data

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Statistics Canada's Canadian international merchandise trade report for November notes a decrease in Canada's total exports of 1.4% in November, to $48.7 billion, while imports fell 2.4% over the month, to $49.8 billion, with the country's trade deficit falling to $1.089 billion, the lowest reported in five months and 50% of the reported deficit reported in November, 2018.

The report text notes a 9.6% increase in November in exports for the farm, fishing and intermediate food products group, pointing to a surge in canola and mainly soybeans into European destinations. Exports in this group surged to $3.0345 billion, although is still the second lowest reported in 21 months.

The report points to rail disruptions as a factor in November trade data, with the eight-day CN strike that began on Nov. 19 having effects that rippled across many industries.

The following is a look at trade data for miscellaneous ag commodities, with a focus on commodities that receive less focus in weekly Canadian Grain Commission reports.

Soybean exports were reported at 837,107 metric tons over the month of November, the smallest November exports in seven years although just the same, the largest volume shipped in 11 months and 316% higher than the previous month. Unlike 2018, when 92% of the November exports were shipped to China, Statistics Canada lists shipments to 38 countries, with Bangladesh, the largest customer, shipped just 16% of the total volume for the month. In total, 59% of exports were shipped to nine countries in Europe. Exports to China were reported at a mere 1,717 mt, down from 1.4 mmt shipped in November 2018. Once again, Iran was shipped 70,000 mt of soybeans this month, with Canada potentially placed into a tough position given escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran.

Cumulative exports for the first three months of the row-crop crop year (Sept-Nov) are reported at 1.182 million metric tons, 44.1% of the volume shipped in the same period of 2018-19 and 60.7% of the five-year average. Current exports have achieved 26.9% of the 4.4 mmt export target set by AAFC, a forecast that was lowered by 300,000 mt in December, with the current pace slightly ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Also of interest is soybean imports. Imports were reported at 16,764 mt in November, falling for the third consecutive month and appears to be the lowest monthly volume reported since September, 2015 as the U.S. export program recovers. AAFC is forecasting 400,000 mt of soybean imports for 2019-20, down sharply from 1.1 mmt imported in the 2018-19 crop year.

Canada's corn exports remain tepid, with 25,785 mt shipped in the month of November, up from the previous month but still well-below normal for the month. Close to the entire volume was shipped to the U.S. Cumulative exports for the first three months or quarter of the crop year total 66,078 mt, 21.1% of the volume shipped in the same period of 2018-19 and 31.2% of the five-year average. In December, AAFC reduced its forecast for Canada's corn exports to 1.4 mmt, down 100,000 mt from the previous month, while the current pace is well-being the pace needed to reach this volume.

Canada's corn imports were reported at 79,221 mt in November, down for the fourth straight month and the lowest monthly imports seen since July 2017. In December, AAFC increased their forecast for 2019-20 imports by 300,000 mt to 2 mmt, down sharply from the 2.8 mmt imported in 2018-19. The current pace of imports remains well behind the steady pace needed to reach the current AAFC forecast.

Lentil exports in November were reported at 156,309 mt, up from the previous month and the largest November exports shipped in three years. Turkey was the largest buyer with 29,061 mt shipped, while China was a close second with 17,994 mt shipped. This is not a normal destination for lentils, with only 2,524 mt shipped to China in all of 2018-19.

Cumulative exports are shown at 674,832 mt, up 14.8% from the same period in 2018-19 while 79% of the five-year average. Cumulative exports have reached 32% of the current AAFC forecast of 2.1 mmt, close to being on the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Dry pea exports were reported at 323,708 mt in November, the lowest volume shipped in three months although likely a record for the month of November shipping. Close to the same volume was shipped to China in November as was shipped in the previous month, while at 222,963 mt, accounts for 69% of the total volume exported in November. Cumulative pea exports total 1.392 mmt, up 22% from the same period in 2018-19 and 4% higher than the five-year average. This volume is 41% of the current 3.4 mmt export target, well-ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Chickpea exports are reported at 10,435 mt in November, the largest monthly volume shipped in four months but the smallest November exports reported in five years. Cumulative exports total 31,326 mt, 71.5% of the same four-month period in 2018-19 and 76.4% of the five-year average. This represents 21.6% of the current export forecast of 145,000 mt, a volume revised 5,000 mt lower in AAFC's December estimates. This is well behind the steady pace of exports required to reach this forecast.

Mustard exports were reported at 9,578 mt in November, down from the previous month and the smallest November exports in four years. Cumulative exports are reported at 37,344 mt, which represents 95.8% of the same period in 2018-19 and 94.1% of the five-year average. Cumulative exports account for 31% of the current export forecast of 120,000 mt, very close to being on track to reach the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Canary seed exports total 12,658 mt, down from the previous month and the lowest November volume shipped in seven years. Cumulative exports total 52,940 mt, accounting for 99% of the same period in 2018-19 and 98% of the five-year average. In December, AAFC increased its forecast for 2019-20 exports by 40,000 mt to 130,000 mt, while current exports have reached 40.7% of this target and are well ahead of the pace needed to reach this volume. Stocks are forecast to deplete to a negligible level and will remain a limiting factor in 2019-20 trade.

Flax exports totaled 19,200 mt in November, the largest monthly volume shipped in four months although extremely low for the month of November. Of this volume, 57% of this volume or 11,010 mt was shipped to China, a small volume for this market although by far the largest monthly volume shipped to China since July. Cumulative exports to all destinations total 49,251, just 32% of the volume shipped in the same period of 2018-19 and 33.7% of the five-year average. This represents just 11% of the current 450,000 mt export target released by AAFC, which was revised 50,000 mt lower in December's supply and demand outlook. The current flow is well behind the steady pace needed to reach this forecast and remains bearish for flax.

Canola oil exports are reported at 248,084 mt, the lowest monthly volume shipped in four months, with the eight-day CN strike likely a major factor affecting movement. Cumulative exports of 1.089 mmt are 99.3% of the same period last crop year and 5.9% higher than the three-year average.

Canola meal exports are reported at 416,555 mt, the largest monthly volume shipped this crop year. Cumulative exports are reported at 1.595 mmt, up 4.7% from the same period in 2018-19 and 5.9% higher than the previous three-year average.

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

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