As the grain pipeline is pushed hard to catch up from bottlenecks faced earlier in the crop year, week 33 data, covering activity for the week-ending March 22, shows 335,500 metric tons of canola exported. This is the second-highest weekly volume shipped this crop year and well above the volume needed this week in order to stay on track to reach the most recent export forecast of 9 million metric tons.
Cumulative exports total 6.114 mmt since Aug. 1, 1.3% higher than the same period in 2018-19 and just 0.3% below the five-year average for this period. The cumulative volume for week 33 is reported higher than the previous year's volume for the first time since early in the crop year, when week 1 to week 12 data showed the crop year's pace of movement ahead of the same week in the 2018-19 crop year.
When the seasonality of canola exports is considered, over the past five years, an average of 60.8% of total crop year exports were shipped as of the week 33 CGC report, a pace that would project forward to exports of 10 mmt. The three-year average would project forward to exports of 9.7 mmt, while the 2018-19 pace of movement would project forward to roughly 9.3 mmt. This is also seen on the attached chart, with the red line indicating the cumulative volume exported, measured against the secondary vertical axis, trending higher above the upward-sloping black line that shows the steady pace of movement needed to reach the current AAFC forecast of 9 mmt. It is interesting to note that AAFC recently revised their export target 100,000 mt lower to 9 mmt.
The potential exists for another surge in exports in coming weeks. Terminal unloads are seen taking place at a rapid pace, with week 33 canola unloads at Canada's terminals at 238,100 mt, down only slightly from the previous week but close to the highest volume unloaded in 10 weeks.
March 26 unloads at the three major ports were reported at 1,341 hopper cars, the highest number reported in three months, while so far week 34 unloads are ahead by over 300 cars from the previous week. As well, the Thunder Bay shipping season opened on March 26. As of week 33, 250,100 mt of canola was in store Thunder Bay, up 354% from the same week last crop year and 125% higher than the three-year average.
Commercial stocks reported by the CGC (less the volume reported by process elevators) is seen at 1.1875 mmt as of week 33 and are 12.7% higher than the same week last year and only 2.9% below the three-year average for this week.
This volume is supported by continued aggressive producer deliveries, with 406,800 mt of seed delivered into licensed facilities in week 33, down only slightly from last week and the third straight week above 400,000 mt. Road bans and muddy yards will soon slow this movement.
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