Merchandise trade data was viewed as favorable on Tuesday when Statistics Canada reported a combination of higher exports and lower imports in the month of October. Total exports of all merchandise increased 2.7%, to $44.46 billion, following four consecutive months of declines. This is the highest dollar value of exports in four months, while is .8% higher than reported in October 2016.
Statistics Canada noted support from the weaker Canadian dollar over the month, with the spot loonie moving from $.8021 CAD/USD to $.7754 CAD/USD by the end of the month, supportive for exports while perhaps acting to discouraging imports. As a result, Canada's trade balance fell to $1.5 billion, smaller than expected, while the smallest trade deficit reported in five months.
While October activity led to increased exports across several sectors, Statistics Canada commentary noted a 7.7% increase in the exports of goods in the farm, fishing and intermediate food products category to $2.8 billion given higher volumes, the highest dollar value exports seen since January and up 12% from October 2016.
The commentary noted Chinese demand for canola, along with exports to Mexico, UAE, Pakistan and Japan.
Indeed, Canada exported 1.296 million metric tons in October, the largest monthly volume shipped since the month of January; 407,872 metric tons was shipped to China, up 44% from the previous month and the largest monthly movement seen in five months.
Canola oil exports jumped 55% in October from the previous month to 323,412 mt, with 26% of the volume shipped to China and up 588% from the previous month. Exports of canola meal jumped 13.2% from September to 400,584 mt.
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Other miscellaneous data includes the following.
Exports of lentils were reported at 154,356 mt in October, down from September and 63% below the volume shipped in October 2016. Year-to-date, 378,203 mt has been shipped, 50.9% of the volume shipped in the first three months of the 2016/17 crop year and behind the pace needed to reach the current AAFC target of 2.1 mmt, which is down from total 2016/17 exports of 2.455 mmt. India remained the largest buyer this month, although that country's share totaled 24% of the total as compared to the 46% share reported in the October 2016 data.
October dry pea exports totaled 234,849 mt, down sharply from the previous month and down 48.5% from the same month in 2016/17. Over the Aug/Sept/Oct period, 1.012 mmt has been exported, 69% of the volume shipped in the same period in 2016/17 and 90% of the five-year average. Year-to-date exports have reached 42.2% of the current 2.4 mmt AAFC target for the crop year, ahead of the pace needed to reach this target, which is 39% below the 3.9 mmt volume realized in 2016/17. As seen in the lentil data, India is the third largest buyer following China and the United States, taking 18% of the total volume, as compared to 59% in October 2016.
October chickpea exports were reported at 28,042 mt in October, up sharply from September and quite possibly a record monthly movement for any given month. Year-to-date, 43,287 mt has been exported, up 235% from the same period in 2016/17 while well-ahead of the cumulative pace needed to achieve to current 110,000 mt target set by AAFC.
Mustard exports reached 10,679 mt in October, the largest monthly volume moved in five months and just slightly higher than the volume shipped in the same month of 2016. Year-to-date, 27,998 mt has been shipped, just slightly higher than the cumulative volume reported for this period in 2016. Total volume is just slightly behind the cumulative pace needed to reach the current AAFC target of 125,000 mt.
Soybean exports totaled 761,257 mt in October, the largest movement seen in 11 months, while cumulative exports at 873,579 mt are just 92% of the volume shipped in the same September/October period in 2016/17. Cumulative movement is slightly behind the cumulative pace needed to reach the current 6.1 mmt target set by AAFC. A reported 53% or 402,523 mt of this volume is destined for China, which is the largest monthly volume moved to this country in 11 months.
Corn exports were reported at 30,555 mt in October, the smallest monthly movement seen in 12 months. Cumulative exports are reported at 90,685 mt, 36.8% higher than the same Sept/Oct period in 2016/17 while well below the steady pace needed to achieve the current 1.5 mmt export target set by AAFC. This movement was almost entirely to the U.S.
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