Canada Markets

Barley Lower as US Corn Imports gain Steam

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The lines on this chart represent the trend in the Lethbridge barley trade, based on the upper end of the range reported by Agriculture Alberta in their weekly data. The most recent data for this week is based on Market Place Commodities reported trade. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

The USDA's Weekly Export Sales report as of Oct. 26 included weekly highlights that pointed to corn exports to Canada of 81,900 metric tons (mt), well behind the 310,300 mt the United States shipped to Mexico during the week while still the largest weekly exports to Canada so far this crop year. This volume sharply increases the cumulative exports so far this crop year or since Sept. 1 to 130,600 mt, up from 32,100 mt shipped during the same period last year.

The USDA's total commitments of U.S. corn to Canada as of Oct. 26 (exports plus outstanding sales) is calculated at 787,100 mt, up sharply from the 101,500 mt reported for the same week last year, while this compares to 960,900 mt reported for the same week in 2021-22, a year when Canadian imports of corn reached a record level. It is interesting to note that current total commitments are down 18% from the pace set in 2021-22 for this week, while Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is currently forecasting Canadian imports at 3 million metric tons (mmt) for the current crop year, down 51% from the record set in 2021-22.

Barley sellers should be aware that the December corn future fell for a second session on Thursday, while today's low is only 1 3/4 cents from testing the Sept. 19 harvest low, while a breach of this low would see the future reach the weakest trade seen since December 2020. At the same time, today's trade in the Canadian dollar has bounced 68 basis points against the USD and from the one-year lows reached in recent days, making imports more affordable.

The USDA's corn export data is shown along with broker reports of weaker barley trade in southern Alberta this week, with Market Place Commodities reporting barley falling by $7/mt on Nov. 1 to $332/mt, while the Nov. 2 report is seen up $3/mt at $335/mt. This is shown on the attached graphic along with Alberta Agriculture's weekly data, which is represented by the upper end of the weekly range reported.

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