The Canadian Grain Commission's Exports of Canadian Grain and Wheat Flour report for December shows December exports of Canada's principal field crops of 3.7158 million metric tons. This is down from 4.1849 mmt shipped in the previous month and 4.5647 mmt shipped in December 2018. While it is normal for movement to dip during the holiday month, this volume is the lowest December shipments in three years and slightly below the five-year average for the month.
Of greater importance is the reported cumulative exports of licensed grain in the August-through-December period of 17.6493 mmt, down 3.084 mmt or 14.9% from the same period in the previous crop year and 6.4% lower than the five-year average for this period, indicated with the horizontal black line on the attached chart. As seen by the blue bars on the attached chart, cumulative exports of licensed grain in the August-through-December period is the lowest for this period seen in six years.
The brown line with markers on the attached chart shows the percentage of total licensed grain exports that is realized as of the December report. This percentage has recently trended higher from the 43.6% reported in 2016-17 to 46.6% reported in 2018-19, while averaging 45.3% over the past five years. Projecting this historical relationship forward, total 2019-20 licensed exports would reach a range from 37.8 mmt based on the 2018-19 pace of movement and 38.9 mmt, based on the five-year average. In either case, total exports could reach the lowest level in seven years (not shown).
While wheat exports were up slightly to 1.3216 mmt from November, they remain 268,300 mt behind the same volume shipped in December 2018. Cumulative exports are reported at 6.5711 mmt, down 1.4 mmt from the same August-to-December period in 2018-19. The largest year-over-year shift is seen in exports to China, down 722,800 metric tons year over year.
Also of concern is exports of canola, with 629,700 mt shipped in December, the lowest in three months and down 334,800 mt from the previous month. This volume is also down 274,400 mt from December 2018. Cumulative shipments of canola are reported at 3.6619 mmt, down 695,300 mt from the same period in 2018-19. Once again, the largest year-over-year change is a decline of 1.5847 mmt shipped to China.
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