Statistics Canada reported a $1.4 billion trade surplus for January, surprising economists. This is the first surplus realized since May 2019 and the largest surplus seen since July 2014. Exports rose faster than imports in January, up 8.1% as compared to the .9% rise seen for imports in January.
The broad farm, fishing and intermediate food products category shows a rise in exports for a second month to $3.9823 billon, a record dollar value of monthly exports and up 23.2% from January 2020.
The following is a look at monthly data for various crops and crop products, with a focus on crops where monthly data provides a more complete picture as opposed to weekly Canadian Grain Commission data.
Canada exported 105,608 metric tons (mt) of lentils in January, the smallest volume shipped in five months and the smallest January volume exported in eight years. A reported 28% of this volume was destined for the United Arab Emirates, while 16.5% was shipped to Turkey. Exports over the first half of the crop year totaled 1.298 million metric tons (mmt), up 27.9% from the same period last crop year and 6.2% higher than the five-year average. AAFC revised their export total by 100,000 mt this month to 2.7 mmt, while the cumulative volume exported has reached 48.1% of this total and is just behind the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Dry pea exports in January totaled 277,611 mt, down from the previous month but the largest January shipments seen in data checked back to 2010-11. China continues to dominate these shipments, with close to 78% of the volume shipped to this country; the next largest volume was destined for Bangladesh. Year-to-date, 2.138 mmt has been shipped, up 10.5% from the same period last crop year and 21.2% higher than the five-year average. Cumulative shipments have reached 56% of the current AAFC demand forecast, ahead of the pace needed to reach the current 3.8 mmt forecast.
Canada exported 7,948 mt of chickpeas in January, the lowest volume shipped in three months and the smallest January volume shipped in six years. Cumulative exports of 50,140 mt are up 5.7% from last crop year, representing 73.2% of the five-year average. AAFC increased their forecast for crop year exports of chickpeas by 5,000 mt to 110,000 mt in February, while cumulative exports have reached 45.6% of this forecast, slightly behind the pace needed to reach this volume.
Mustard exports in January totaled 8,900 mt, the smallest monthly volume shipped in five months. Exports continue to lag, with cumulative exports tallied at 54,321 mt, 97.7% of the volume shipped in this period of 2019-20 and 96% of the five-year average. Cumulative exports now account for 49.4% of the 110,000 mt AAFC forecast as exports remain on track to reach this forecast.
Canary seed exports totaled 11,674 mt in January, the lowest volume shipped in four months but the largest January movement seen in 10 years. Cumulative exports are on track with last year's pace and are 20.7% higher than the five-year average. After revising their export demand forecast higher in January, AAFC revised their forecast by 10,000 mt lower in February to 150,000 mt, while the current pace of movement is just slightly ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Flax exports totaled 26,673 mt in January, the smallest volume shipped in four months. The largest share was shipped to China at 47% of the total, although this is down sharply from the 42,608 mt that Canada shipped China in December. AAFC revised their export forecast higher by 40,000 mt in February to 540,000 mt, which would be the highest volume shipped in five years. The current movement is at the pace needed to reach this forecast.
Canada's soybean exports totaled 461,678 mt in January, the lowest volume shipped in four months but quite possibly the largest January shipments ever. The largest volume, or 27.3% of the total, was shipped to Iran, while China was shipped 20.6% of the volume, continuing to take only minimal volumes from Canada. So far this crop year (Sept-Aug), Canada has shipped 2.811 mmt, which is up 24.5% from the same period last crop year and represents 89.9% of the five-year average. Canada has shipped 63.9% of the current 4.4 mmt export forecast, well ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Corn exports totaled 63,863 mt in January, the smallest volume exported in three months. A reported 51.7% of this volume was shipped to the United Kingdom. The cumulative volume of exports since September totals 497,600 mt, up 306% from last year and 22.9% higher than the five-year average. Current exports account for 35.5% of the current 1.4 mmt export forecast released by AAFC in February, while behind the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Canada's corn imports totaled 115,815 mt in January, the highest volume reported in three months and very close to the 120,842 mt imported in January 2020. Year-to-date, (Sept through Jan) 633,705 mt of corn has been imported, 2.8% higher than the same period last crop year and 4.9% below the five-year average. Current imports are behind the steady pace needed to reach the current AAFC forecast of 1.7 mmt imported this crop year.
Canada's canola oil exports totaled 293,321 mt in January, down from the previous month with a drop in crude oil seen in shipments to both the U.S. and China, while shipments of refined oil increased to markets like the U.S. and Mexico this month. Cumulative canola oil shipments are roughly 98% of the volume shipped over this six-month period in 2019-20, while 4.2% higher than the three-year average.
Canola meal exports totaled 443,343 mt this month, down slightly from the previous month. Cumulative exports of 2.587 mmt are 6.4% higher than the same period last crop year and 10.5% higher than the three-year average.
Canada imported 64 million liters of ethanol in January, the lowest volume imported in eight months and 29% below January 2020.
Canada's wheat exports totaled 1.991 mmt in January, the second-highest monthly volume shipped this crop year. The cumulative volume of 10.757 mmt over six months is up 31.9% from last year and is 39.9% higher than the five-year average. Note that the cumulative volume is 673,000 mt higher than the CGC's week 26 data, which represents unlicensed exports.
Durum exporters totaled 463,658 mt in January, the lowest volume shipped in three months. The cumulative volume shipped over six months of 2.734 mmt is 21.7% higher than the same period last year and 27.8% higher than the five-year average.
Canada exported 984,745 mt of low erucic acid canola in January, just under the 1 mmt mark for a second straight month. A reported 26.5% of this volume was shipped to China, while 69% of this volume was shipped to China, Japan, Mexico, and Pakistan.
Canada shipped 313,661 mt of barley in the month of January, with 95% of this volume destined for China. While a significant volume for any month, this is the third-largest volume shipped in the first six months of this crop year. The total volume moved of 1.781 mmt in the six months of this crop year is up 57.6% from one year ago and is 93.7% higher than the five-year average. The cumulative volume of 1.781 represents 50% of the current AAFC export forecast of 3.5 mmt, which also includes the export of barley products such as malt.
Oat exports totaled 136,435 mt, the smallest volume shipped in any month of this crop year. Year-to-date, 1.261 mmt has been shipped, up 20.7% form the same period in 2019-20 and 8% higher than the five-year average. The current pace is behind the steady pace needed to reach the current export forecast of 2.8 mmt, which also includes a small volume of oat products.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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