The Canadian Grain Commission reported Canada's wheat exports (excluding durum) at 4.7327 million metric tons as of week 16, or the week-ending Nov. 19. This volume is 8.4% ahead of the same period in 2016/17, as seen on the accompanying graphic, although is still well behind the pace of movement seen in the 2013/14 through 2015/16 period and is 4% behind the five-year average for this period.
This comes at a time when major wheat exporters are struggling. Friday's sales and shipments data in the U.S. shows that country's sales and shipments are both 8% behind the year-ago pace. The European Commission has reported that cumulative exports of wheat since the beginning of the crop year is 2 mmt behind the same period last crop year as of the latest week, with increased competition from Russia and the strength in the Euro weighing on E.U. prospects. On Thursday, European analyst AgriTel reported on Russian statistics, which points to record on-farm stocks of wheat in that country as of Nov. 1, which suggests the situation may not change for some time. As of Nov. 1, Russia's total wheat stocks were estimated to be 20% higher than last year while milling wheat stocks were estimated 28% higher than the same period in 2016.
Trade data to be released in the upcoming weeks should point to continued movement into the U.S. Week 16 data points to exports from licensed terminals at 4.3985 mmt, which reflects 93% of total licensed exports. This compares to 98% of exports in the same period of 2016/17 originating from export terminals while the three-year average is 96.2%. This suggests a higher share of exports originating from direct rail movement to the south.
Can this pace continue? Total commercial stocks are reported at 3.046 mmt, up 45.5% from the volume reported in week 16 of the 2016/17 crop year. Of this volume, 1.459 mmt is reported in export terminals, up 22.8% from last year. Volume held in Pacific terminals is reported at 264,600 metric tons, down 2.9% from last year. The largest year over year change in inventories is seen in licensed primary elevators in the country, with stocks increasing 81% year over year at close to 1.5 mmt, the highest country stocks seen for this week in four years.
Perhaps one concern is seen with the report for in-transit stocks, western rail in-transit stocks reported at 54,700 mt, the lowest weekly volume seen in five weeks and down nearly 74% from the same week in 2016/17. This bears watching.
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