Durum production is estimated 3.026 million metric tons (mmt), or 46% below the previous crop year at 3.545 mmt, according to Statistics Canada, which is also down 41% from the five-year average. Canada's exports for 2021-22 are forecast at 3.1 mmt, also down 46%, while would be the lowest exports realized since the 2002-03 crop year.
As of week 14, or the week ending Nov. 7, producers have delivered 1.0668 mmt of durum into the licensed handling system, which is down 36.7% from the same period last crop year and 19.5% below the three-year average. This represents 29.5% of available supplies, calculated by adding estimated July 31 farm stocks to the latest Statistics Canada production estimate. This is higher than the same calculation made for week 14 in 2020-21 of 25% and the three-year average of 20.6%.
The smaller crop has led to an increased incentive for commercials to own durum. As of week 14, commercial stocks were reported at 758,800 metric tons (mt). This is clearly lower than the 943,800 mt held in storage in week 14 of 2020-21. At the same time, it is higher than the five-year average of 703,640 mt and is higher than the volume reported in four of the past five years.
As seen on the attached chart, commercial stocks in position in St. Lawrence terminals is reported at 192,300 mt, higher than reported for each of the past five years, as shown by the brown bars on the attached chart. The largest share of the commercial stocks is found in the primary elevator system, as indicated by the light blue shaded area. Current elevator stocks are down only 100,000 mt from the same week last year, despite the sharp year-over-year drop in production. Elevator stocks are higher than the week 14 stocks reported for the four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.
A look at the cash bid trend for the southeast area of Saskatchewan, as reported by pdqinfo, shows November prices trading sideways, reported in a tight range of $2.02/mt since Nov. 1, from $752.49/mt to $754.51/mt, down from the $793.98/mt high reported for Aug. 31 for the region.
The demand is coming, while deliveries will slow as winter comes. Durum prices are poised for a push higher.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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