Canada Markets

Cumulative 2016/17 Exports to the United States

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart shows cumulative crop exports to the United States for selected commodities in the first two months of the 2016/17 crop year for corn (Sept/Oct) and the first three months of the crop year for the remaining crops (Aug-Oct). Comparisons are made to 2015/16 and the five-year average. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

Greater-than-expected exports from the U.S. have been a supportive feature in North American grain markets. Monday's weekly export inspection data for last week showed that cumulative volumes of corn inspected for export were up 86% from the same period last year, well-above the year-over-year increase of 17% as seen in USDA estimates for 2016/17.

Cumulative soybean inspections were 19% higher than the same period last year, well-above the 6% year-over-year increase reported by the USDA, while cumulative inspections of wheat were reported to be 29% higher than the same period last year, also above the 26% increase expected, as seen in USDA estimates.

One notion pondered in DTN discussions is that of pre-emptive business, with volumes increasing prior to potential disruptions due to how Donald Trump's new administration might handle trade agreements and trade-partner relationships. A question was posed over Canada's cumulative trade in grains, as seen in early crop year data.

As of October's Statistics Canada data, there are no clear trends across the selected commodities in terms of cumulative volumes moved, as compared to 2015 and the five-year average. Movement of both corn and oats are ahead of 2015 and their respective five-year average, while movement of both wheat and durum lag the average pace.

Perhaps one crop that stands out is the movement of oats with roughly 500,000 metric tons moving in the first three months of the crop year, a record pace. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in its latest supply and demand tables, has estimated oat exports will increase by 8% this crop year, while the USDA's latest estimates included an expected 4.7% hike in imports. It is conceivable that Canada's delayed harvest and resulting quality challenges had buyers making calls earlier than normal.

Canada's currency is certainly making trade with the U.S. affordable relative to previous years. The three-month August-through-October period has seen the loonie average $.7610 CAD/USD in the fall of 2016, almost equal to the average calculated for 2015 and well-below the five-year average for this period of $.9269 CAD/USD.

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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at cliff.jamieson@dtn.com

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