Canada Markets

March Canola Continues to Hesitate

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Over the past nine weeks, March canola has traded from a weekly low of $479.60/metric ton to a high of $496.30/mt, a $16.70/mt range. The contract has faced a weekly loss in five of the last eight weeks (red bars), while excluding the Dec. 3 weekly close of $492.30/mt, the weekly close has fallen into a narrow range between $484.60/mt and $486.50/mt. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

With the Canadian Grain Commission's combined week 21/22 statistics just released late Friday, covering activity for the two weeks ending Dec. 30, we see 411,700 metric tons of canola exported over the two-week period while cumulative exports at 4.34455 million metric tons are still 6% below the same week last crop year. Domestic disappearance is reported at 363,200 mt for the two weeks, while cumulative domestic disappearance is reported at 3.820 mmt, down 3.4% from the same period in 2017-18. Commercial stocks fell by 224,600 mt although remain at a comfortable level of 1.0907 mmt, despite being below the five-year average for this week of 1.2 mmt.

Canola prices are not going anywhere fast. Canola has traded over a $16.70/mt range over the past nine weeks, from a low of $479.60/mt the week of Nov. 26 to the weekly high of $496.30/mt seen the following week, or the week of Dec. 3. The attached chart highlights that in the past eight weeks, the March contract has lost ground in five of those weeks while holding within the range. In seven of the weeks shown, the weekly close ranged from Nov. 19 close of $484.60/mt to the Nov. 26 weekly close of $486.50/mt, or ranged within $1.90/mt.

Over the period shown on the chart, March canola gained just $.60/mt (Nov. 12 weekly close to Dec. 31 weekly close), a period that saw the Canadian dollar lose 1 1/2 cents or 1.7% against the USD while March soybeans also gained 1.7%.

Canola's own fundamental data combined with uncertainty over the potential for the soybean market has weighed on canola sentiment and supportive news may be needed to break from the current range. The canola market could be the canary in the coal mine, or could have some catching up to do.

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

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