Canada Markets

No Break in Sight for Lentil Markets

By Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
The Saskatchewan plant lentil bids have been depressed and have continued to gradually erode since harvest. The spread for large greens over reds has widened to $58/mt after reaching $40/mt in recent weeks. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

Prairie lentil prices remain flat as the crop's burdensome stocks continue to weigh on the market, while growers are hearing that it may take a 20% reduction in 2013 acres to spark a move higher in price.

As of Jan. 3, India's total pulse plantings for its winter Rabi crop was 33.618 million acres, down from 33.766 ma at the same time last year. Planting progress for pulse crops is suggested to be .44% behind the same date last year. Earlier, this planting was delayed due to the lateness of the Kharif harvest and the late start to the Rabi planting. India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses, consuming approximately 20 million metric tonnes, while producing 17-18 mmt. Imports are forecast to be 3 mmt in 2012/13.

A report from commodityonline.com from late December suggests that while overall pulse planting was advanced in comparison to last year, lentil plantings could be as much as 30 to 40% lower than last year. This fact was supposedly leading to hoarding of product by the wholesalers in India and was also leading to short-term price escalation. This will be something to watch as we move forward.

At the same time, prices on the Prairies remain flat, with a spark needed in the export sector to give any hope. Agriculture Canada's call for a 630,000 mt carryout indicates a stocks/use ratio of 41%, which weighs heavily on this market. While the spread for large green lentils over reds was suggested to have reached as narrow as $40/mt in recent weeks, this spread has since widened to $58/mt, as compared to the 2011/12 spread of $195/mt.

Cliff can be reached at cliff.jamieson@telvetndtn.com

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