Canada Markets

Canadian Soybeans Face Rapid Movement

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart compares the 2018-19 trend in licensed soybean exports (blue line) with the 2017-18 trend (brown line) and the three-year average (green shaded area). The rate of exports typically slow from now through the end of the crop year. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

Canadian exporters have been making hay while the sun shines when it comes to soybean exports, while U.S. and China's trade officials are meeting this week to try to address their differences. A Canadian delegation is also in China this week and will hopefully address the diplomatic issues facing the two countries during the past month. Meanwhile, the media is reporting that Canada and China have agreed in a recent November meeting to double agricultural trade by 2025.

In the combined shipping weeks of 21/22, Canadian soybean exports totaled 265,700 metric tons, well-below the 391,400 mt shipped in the same weeks in 2017-18, while is well-above the five-year average for this two-week period of 147,020 mt.

Year-to-date exports total 3.2271 million metric tons, which is 19.1% higher than the same 22-week period in 2017-18 and 34.9% higher than the five-year average for this period. The attached chart shows the trend in the current year licensed exports (blue line) with the pace realized in 2017-18 (brown line) and the five-year average (green shaded area). As seen in the data from recent years, the pace of exports slows considerably from the week of 21/22 through the end of the crop year.

Over the past five years, an average of 57.4% of the crop year's total exports have been achieved through the licensed handling system as of week 22. Extrapolating this average pace across the remaining shipping weeks of 2018-19 would point to potential exports of 5.6 mmt, only slightly higher than the current 5.5 mmt forecast released by AAFC.

The Canadian Grain Commission's Exports of Canadian Grain and Wheat Flour report for November shows a cumulative 2.3794 mmt of soybeans shipped to China as of November, representing 97.3% of the total licensed shipments of soybeans. This data may put to rest concerns expressed from Soy Canada that Canadian exporters would face heightened competition from U.S. exporters due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

Of the 14 export destinations reported in the CGC's summary, three countries have seen year-to-date exports increase from 2017-18 volumes (including China), three countries have seen cumulative volumes reduced in 2018-19 while eight countries have seen cumulative exports drop to zero in the current crop year. This could be partially linked to heightened competition, although more likely due to a lack of supplies, given the significant volumes flowing to China.

Over the past five years, Canada is reported to have shipped an average of 788,780 mt to China through November, representing an average of 41.2% of total shipments.

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

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