Statistics Canada reports merchandise imports in May increasing 3% while exports fell by 3.8%, moving Canada's trade balance from an $894 million surplus to a $3.4 billion deficit, the first deficit in three months and the largest since October 2020. Lower prices of energy exports played a large role in the drop in exports, while Statistics Canada notes the farm, fishing and intermediate food products category exports declined for a third month, largely due to waning wheat and canola demand.
The following is a look at May export data for select crops and products.
Statistics Canada reports 257,761 metric tons of lentils exports in May, the largest volume shipped in six months. Based on the value of shipments, 44% was shipped to India, by far the highest amount shipped to any destination. The 117,356 mt shipped to India was the highest volume shipped since October 2020. Cumulative exports total 1.958 million metric tons, up 51.6% from one year ago and 16.5% higher than the five-year average. Exports have reached 87% of the current 2.250 mmt export forecast, ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Canada's dry pea exports totaled 135,345 mt in May, the lowest volume shipped in nine months. China was the largest destination, with 56% of the dollar value of all exports shipped to this country. Cumulative exports to China total 1.29 mmt, up slightly from 2021-22 while below the three-year average of 1.8 mmt. Cumulative pea exports of 2.305 mmt are up 42.3% from a year ago while are down 14.2% from the five-year average. Exports have reached 85.2% of the current AAFC forecast, slightly ahead of the pace needed to reach this forecast.
Chickpea exports in May totaled 14,045 mt, the lowest volume shipped in eight months. Of the dollar value shipped, 20% was exported to the U.S. and 14% was shipped to Pakistan, the two largest destinations. Cumulative exports total 198,065 mt, up 48.6% from one year ago and 69% higher than the five-year average. To date, exports have reached 84.3% of the current AAF forecast, slightly ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Canary seed exports totaled 9,512 mt during the month, the smallest monthly volume shipped in seven months. Measured in the value of exports, the largest share of 39.5% was shipped to Mexico. Cumulative exports total 121,555 mt. This is 2.4% higher than the same 10-month period in 2021-22 while 7.6% below the five-year average. The current pace of exports is equal to the steady pace needed to reach this forecast.
Mustard exports in May are seen at 17,501 mt, the largest monthly volume shipped in at least 12 years although this did involve a number of adjustments made for January through April of 2023. By value, 44% was shipped to the U.S., while 28% was shipped to Belgium. Cumulative exports over 10 months total 116,600 mt, up 27.6% from one year ago and 22.3% higher than the five-year average. Exports have reached 86.4% of the AAFC forecast, on track to reach the 135,000 mt export forecast.
May exports of flax totaled 22,167 mt, or the lowest volume shipped in three months. Measured in value of exports, 46% was shipped to the U.S., while 33% was shipped to China. Exports to China over 10 months total 41,558 mt, up 10,100 mt for the same period last crop year while the four-year average for this period is approximately 116,000 mt. Cumulative exports total 162,819 mt, down 16.2% from one year ago and down 52.4% from the five-year average. Exports have already surpassed the 150,000 mt forecast from AAFC.
Soybean exports in May are reported at 115,584 mt, up from the previous month. Measured in value, the largest share was sent to Japan, or close to 1/3 of total shipments. Total exports are reported at 3.937 mmt over the first nine months of the row crop year, up 9.4% from one year ago and 7.8% higher than the five-year average. Cumulative volumes shipped account for 80% of the current 4.5 mmt AAFC export forecast, or ahead of the steady pace needed to reach the forecast.
Canada's corn exports totaled 391,456 mt in May, up slightly from the large volume shipped in April, while the largest monthly volume shipped in at least 12 years. By value, 56% was shipped to Spain while 34% was shipped to the U.S. Over the first nine months of the crop year, exports have reached 1.884 mmt, up 28.9% from the same period last crop year and 74.5% higher than the five-year average. AAFC revised their forecast exports higher by 200,000 mt in June to 2.050 mmt, while cumulative exports have reached 92% of this volume and remain ahead of the pace needed to reach the current forecast with three months left in the crop year.
Corn imports were reported at 143,700 mt in May, the smallest volume imported in five months. Cumulative imports over nine months total 1.411 mmt, down 71% from the same period in 2021-22 and 31.4% below the five-year average. In June, AAFC revised higher their forecast for corn imports by 150,000 mt to 2.150 mmt, while the current pace would indicate that this forecast may be out of reach.
Canola oil exports totaled 268,767 mt, up slightly from the previous month, while cumulative shipments are up 23.6% from the same period last year and 1.7% above the three-year average.
Canola meal exports totaled 470,268 mt during May, up from the previous month. Cumulative exports of 4.526 mmt are up 23.6% from last year and 11.9% higher than the three-year average.
Ethanol imports over the month of May were shown at 248 million liters, while upward adjustments were made to March and April import volumes. Over the five months of this year, imports total 1.035 billion liters, up 62% from the same five-month period in 2022 and 111% higher than the three-year average.
Biodiesel imports were reported at 102,952 mt, down from the record 132,093 mt imported in the previous month. Over the first five months of this year, imports totaled 294,181 mt, up 58.2% from the same period in 2022 and 39.5% higher than the three-year average for the first five months of the year.
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