Shifts in global export patterns may be the story of 2018/19, given increased changes of prolonged trade tensions between the United States and China, or in an extreme case, between the U.S. and a number of other countries.
While the current tariffs applied by China on U.S. imports affect soybeans, Cereals Canada has recently pointed out a larger movement of Canadian wheat to China this crop year given the potential for soured relations between the countries that may spread to other commodities. The potential exists for increased movement of soybeans and canola to China from Canada, while other tariffs and trade barriers will force Canadian traders to seek new homes for commodities such as durum and pulses.
The Canadian Grain Commission's recent Grain Statistics Weekly points to exports from western terminals (Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Thunder Bay) falling in week 50 to 400,700 metric tons, the second consecutive weekly drop in volume and the smallest weekly volume shipped from these parts in five weeks. Despite recent forecasts that point to lower global rapeseed production and production cuts in several wheat-growing areas of the world, exports seem quiet as traders take a wait-and-see approach ahead of global new-crop availability.
Week 50 shipments of all grains from these ports are down 23% from the same week last crop year, while only marginally higher (2.4%) than the five-year average for week 50, as shown by the horizontal black line on the attached chart.
Cumulative licensed exports of all grains from western terminals is reported at 27.589 million metric tons, down 5.2% from the same 50-week period last crop year and the lowest cumulative volume reported in four years.
With the 2018/19 crop year to begin on Aug. 1 for all Canadian crops other than row crops, global buyers may be showing little sense of urgency.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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