Canada Markets

Canada's International Merchandise Trade for April

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Canada's trade deficit with the world fell for the second straight month to $370.3 million in April, with the dollar value of exports climbing to $47.7 billion while increasing import prices also increased the cost of imports. This was weaker data than expected in pre-report estimates, while the monthly trade deficits for both February and March were also revised higher. Total exports increased for the second straight month to a record level, with trade in vehicles, parts and energy behind the move.

April's exports to the United States reached a record high of $36.1 billion in April, while Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. reached a three-year high, which may act as supporting date behind the U.S. move to renegotiate cross-border trade within North America.

Exports reported in the broad category of Farm, fishing and intermediate food products was reported at $2.657 billion in April, the lowest level reported in six months. The narrower category of Farm and fishing products at $2.027 billion was also reported at a six-month low (balance of payments, seasonally adjusted).

Here is some random trade data for Canadian crops as seen in this report.

Lentil exports in April fell to 116,400 metric tons, an eight-month low. India stepped in to receive close to 50% of the monthly total, well-above the volume shipped to this country in the same month last crop year. Year-to-date, 2.116 million metric tons has been exported, 7.6% higher than the same period in 2015/16, while 54.2% higher than the five-year average. AAFC has recently revised the target for crop year exports 100,000 mt higher to 2.3 million metric tons, while 92% of this volume has been achieved by the end of April, with the crop year just 75% complete as of the April data.

Dry pea exports in April were reported at 478,671 mt, down from the previous month but still the third-largest monthly volume shipped this crop year. India and China combined to take 75% of the monthly volume, with India's share significantly higher than the same month in 2015/16. Year-to-date, 3.476 mmt has been exported, 62.4% higher than the same period last year and 67.8% higher than the five-year average. AAFC recently revised their export target 400,000 mt higher to 3.6 mmt, while the current pace would indicated that 96.5% of this target has been achieved with 25% of the crop year remaining, suggesting that further upward revisions in expected movement can be expected.

Chickpea exports in April were reported at 10,227 mt, a three-month high. Year-to-date volumes total 86,006 mt, which is 77% of the volume shipped in the same period in 2016 and 59% higher than the five-year average for this period. Meanwhile, 74.8% of the current 115,000 mt has been realized with the crop year now 75% complete, suggesting the pace of movement is on track to achieve this target while leaving ending stocks extremely tight.

Mustard exports were reported at 13,045 mt in the month of April, a five-month high. Year-to-date, 92,164 mt has been exported, 4.4% higher than the same period in 2015/16 and .6% higher than the five-year average. With data covering the first 75% of the crop year, current exports account for 80.1% of the 115,000 mt target set by AAFC.

Canary seed exports totaled 14,589 mt in April, the third-largest monthly volume shipped this crop year. Year-to-date, 107,320 mt has been shipped, 5.5% below the volume shipped in the same period of 2015/16 and 2.8% below the five-year average. So far this crop year, 93.3% of the current AAFC target of 115,000 mt has been achieved, well-ahead of the pace needed to reach this target.

Soybean exports in April rebounded sharply from the previous month but are still the second-lowest monthly volume shipped this crop year at 195,236 mmt. China returned this month to take by far the largest share or 42% of the total volume shipped. Year-to-date exports are reported at 3.888 mmt, 7.1% higher than the same period in 2015/16 and 30.7% higher than the five-year average. Cumulative exports now accounts for 88.4% of the estimated 4.4 mmt export target set by AAFC, with data making up only 67% of Canada's row-crop crop-year.

Statistics Canada reported 150,188 mt of corn exported in April, a five-month high. While the United States was the largest buyer taking 50,946 mt or 33.9% of the total volume, April stands out from other months this crop year with a significant 99,233 mt shipped to a combination of Spain, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Crop-year-to-date, 721,630 mt has been exported, 11.2% below the same period in 2015/16 and 25.3% higher than the five-year average. AAFC increased their projected exports for 2016/17 by 100,000 mt to 1.55 mmt this month, while current exports are just 46.6% of this total and well-behind the pace needed to reach the crop year target. In the last five-years, an average of 51% of the crop year exports were achieved in the final four months of the crop year (May through August), although this logic would still leave crop year exports short of the current 1.55 mmt target.

Total canola oil sales as of April are 2.309 mmt, 13.4% higher than the same period in 2015/16.

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

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