Canada Markets

Canadian International Merchandise Trade for October

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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On a nominal basis, Canada's exports fell by 1.2% in the month of October, with a drop in crude oil exports largely behind the move. Exports increased in seven of 11 sectors, with exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products climbing by 4.8% with Statistics Canada commentary noting higher exports of canola tied to the late harvest. Exports in this category were reported at $3.4 billion, the highest reported in four months.

Canada's trade deficit with the world increased by 31%, to $1.2 billion, the third consecutive increase, while the largest reported in five months. This report could be the sign of what is to come, with 2019 production cuts in crude oil mandated by the Alberta government likely to build on this trend.

The following is a look at miscellaneous trade data for selected crops and products for the month.

Lentil exports in the month of October were reported at 141,366 mt, the lowest volume shipped in three months and the smallest October volume shipped in six years. The UAE and Algeria were the top two customers, while India's volume fell to 8,419 mt. Shipments to India for the first quarter of 2018-19 total 94,220 mt, down 70.3% from the three-year average. Year-to-date exports of 453,503 mt are up 19.9% from the same period last crop year, while are 72.9% of the five-year average. Exports have reached 23.9% of the current 1.9 million metric ton crop year export forecast released by AAFC, while close to being on track to reach this volume.

Dry pea exports in October were reported at 313,994 mt, down from the September volume, but well-above the volume shipped in October 2017. As has been the trend, 74% of the October volume was shipped to China, with 73.6% of the total export movement shipped to this country in the first quarter of the crop year, up from 51% of the total volume in the same period of 2017-18. Year-to-date exports of 870,732 mt is 86% of the volume shipped in the first three months of 2017-18 and 74.8% of the five-year average, although the pace of shipments is well-ahead of the pace needed to reach the current AAFC demand estimate of 2.6 mmt.

Statistics Canada estimates chickpea exports at 15,608 mt for October, the largest monthly volume shipped this crop year, but well-below the 28,031 mt shipped in the same month of 2017-18. Pakistan was the largest buyer for the second month, taking 46% of the total volume. Year-to-date exports total 23,729 mt, just 55% of the volume shipped in the same period of 2017-18, while 6.6% higher than the five-year average. Year-to-date volumes have reached 21.6% of AAFC's current demand estimate of 110,000 mt, slightly behind the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Mustard exports totaled 12,211 mt in October, the largest monthly volume shipped in 17 months and the largest October shipments seen in five years. Year-to-date volumes total 27,801 mt, nearly equal to the volume shipped in the same period in 2017-18 and 95% of the five-year average. Cumulative exports total 24.2% of the current AAFC target of 115,000 mt, currently on track to reach this target.

Statistics Canada reported canary seed exports at 12,899 mt, the largest monthly volume shipped in five months and the largest monthly volume shipped in October in eight years. Current crop year exports total 32,875 mt, 4.7% higher than the same period last crop year and 2.6% higher than the five-year average. The pace of exports exceeds the pace needed to reach the current AAFC target of 115,000 mt.

Flax exports for October totaled 14,077 mt, up slightly from the previous month, but down sharply from the 45,407 mt shipped in the same month of 2017-18. Year-to-date, exports total 83,811 mt, down 21.4% from last crop year while equal to the five-year average. Business with China is sorely missed in year-to-date trade, with year-to-date statistics showing exports to China down 14,174 mt or 24.3% from 2017-18. Year-to-date exports have reached 21% of the current 400,000 mt AAFC demand forecast, just slightly behind the steady pace needed to reach this target.

Soybean exports in October were reported at 974,359 mt, the largest monthly volume shipped in 11 months. While Statistics Canada reports soybeans shipped to 27 countries in their top countries database, 888,142 mt or 91.2% of this volume has been shipped to China. In the first two months of Canada's row-crop crop-year, 1.015 mmt has been shipped to China, up 135.6% from the three-year average. Year-to-date, 1.164 mmt has been shipped overall, up 33.2% from last year and 29.8% higher than the five-year average. In the first two months, 20.4% of the 5.7 mmt export target set by AAFC has been achieved, ahead of the steady pace needed to reach this target. This week's Statistics Canada production estimates pared the soybean production estimate from their September estimate, which could result in a downward revision in export potential with supplies the limiting factor.

As well, Canada imported 100,758 mt of soybeans from the U.S. in October, up slightly from the 94,039 mt imported in September. The cumulative imports total 194,797 mt, up 190% from the same period last crop year and close to 300% above the three-year average. This is a rapid pace in comparison to the 487,200 mt of imports reported by Statistics Canada for the entire 2017/18 crop year.

Canada exported 42,105 mt of corn in October, down roughly 50% from the September volume but the largest October volume shipped in six years. Close to 50% of this volume was shipped to the U.S. and close to a similar volume was shipped to Ireland. In the first two months of the crop year, 126,624 mt of corn has been exported, up 39.7% from the same period last crop year and 83.5% higher than the five-year average. The cumulative volume is 7% of the current AAFC export target of 1.8 mmt, behind the steady pace needed to reach this target.

As well, Canada imported 213,375 mt of corn in October, almost all from the U.S., up slightly from the 205,974 mt imported in September. Year-to-date, 419,349 mt has been imported, up 66.6% from the same two-month period in 2017-18 and 65% higher than the three-year average. Alberta has imported 128,507 mt in this two-month period, or 30.6% of the total, up from the 28,220 mt imported in this period in 2017 and the three-year average of 17,446 mt.

Exports of canola oil were reported at 254,540 mt for October, with cumulative crop year exports of 781,812 mt up 7.3% from the same period last crop year. Exports of canola meal are reported at 327,206 mt, with crop year exports of 1.080 mmt up .6% from the same three-month period in 2017-18.

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

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