Canada Markets

Durum Markets Seeking Direction

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart shows the mid-August crop condition estimate for North Dakota (blue bars) and Montana (brown bars) durum along with the five-year average. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

In advance of widespread harvest, durum prices are showing no signs of concern. According to data, the range of daily average bids for southeast Saskatchewan has ranged over a narrow $1.23/metric ton range since Aug. 1, from $440.16 to $441.39/mt CAD as of Aug. 15, levels last seen in late July 2021.

DTN's National Durum Index closed at $9.25/bushel USD on Aug. 15, down $0.59/bu since Aug. 1 and to the lowest level seen since July 14, 2021. Prices on both sides of the border are similar when compared to their respective five-year average, with the current Canadian price 31.7% higher than average for mid-August and the U.S. bid 29% above average.

While it will be the combines that tell the true story and there may be shifts in estimated 2022-23 global demand, the Canadian government's unofficial estimate points to a 55.6% increase in 2022-23 stocks, while the most recent USDA estimate is pointing to an estimated 28.6% increase in stocks.

The attached graphic shows USDA's latest estimate of U.S. durum crop condition for Montana and North Dakota. While both condition estimates were trimmed this week from the previous week's ratings, the Montana rating at 37% good to excellent is well above the year-ago level, while the North Dakota rating of 74% G/E is the highest in four years.

A glance at the Euronext durum contract tells a similar story of sideways trade. The Aug. 15 close of EUR 497/mt (September contract) has remained unchanged so far this month, while close to the lowest level traded on the continuous active chart since March 8, or over five months.

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