Today's release of Statistics Canada Canadian international merchandise trade for November took economists by surprise, with Canada's economy reporting its first monthly trade surplus of $526 million seen since September 2014. This comes just two months after a record monthly trade deficit was reported of $4.246 billion was reported.
Here's a look at cumulative export data for selected grains, as obtained from this report and the most recently released Canadian Grain Commission's Grain Statistics Weekly.
A total of 368,756 metric tons of lentils were shipped in November, down from the previous month but higher than the same month in 2015. Year-to-date, 1.112 million metric tons has been shipped, down 11.3% from the same period in 2015/16 although 52.3% higher than the five-year average, as seen by the orange bar on the chart. Cumulative exports are well-ahead of the pace to meet AAFC's export target of 2 mmt, which was lowered by 200,000 mt in December's estimates. This volume would be just slightly lower than volumes shipped in the past two years. A total of 55.6% of this target has been target met, although movement will slow over the balance of the year should India's production bounce-back from the two consecutive challenging years. As of Jan. 6, India's pace of pulse planting for the winter or Rabi crop is 13.4% ahead of last year and 9.4% above the five-year average.
Dry pea movement slowed considerably in November, although the cumulative pace of exports remains well-ahead of historical levels. There were 177,585 mt of peas shipped in November, the slowest monthly movement seen this crop year. Year-to-date, 1.645 mmt has been exported as of the end of November, 12% higher than 2015/16 and 45.5% higher than the five-year average. The current export target remains at 3.2 mmt, close to 18% higher than last year and a record level, while the cumulative volume is 51.4% of the current AAFC demand estimate, with data reported covering 33% of the crop year.
The pace of movement of soybeans is also well-ahead of the historical pace. Statistics Canada reported 1.242 mmt of soybeans exported in November, the first time ever that monthly exports have exceeded 1 million tonnes. Close to 50% of this volume was shipped to China, while the next largest customer is reported to be the Netherlands at 154,197 mt. This data covers only 25% of the September-through-August crop year for soybeans, while has already reached 50% of AAFC's 4.4 mmt record export target, which was revised 200,000 mt higher in December.
Exports of corn were reported at 180,604 mt in November, the largest monthly movement in four months, with 29% of this volume moving to the United States and 27% moving to Spain. The cumulative export volume in the first three months of the crop year total 246,684 mt, up 37.2% from the 2015/16 crop year and 52.5% higher than the five-year average. AAFC hiked its export estimate by 50,000 mt in December to 1.350 mmt, with the current pace of movement behind the pace needed to reach this volume. As of November, 18.3% of this target had been achieved with 25% of the crop year gone by.
As seen on the attached graphic, exports of wheat (excluding durum) are behind both the pace set in 2015/16 as well as the five-year average when considering week 22 Canadian Grain Commission data as of Jan. 1 (licensed exports only). Year-to-date, 5.810 mmt have been exported (licensed exports only), down 21% from last year, 10.3% below the five-year average for this week and roughly 1.3 mmt behind the steady pace needed to reach the current AAFC target of 16.7 mmt. This gap is narrowed slightly, with the CGC reporting 194,727 mt of unlicensed exports shipped as of October.
Canada's durum exports are suffering a similar fate. Year-to-date, 1.608 mmt has been shipped as of week 22, down 12.1% from the same week last year and 15.6% below the five-year average. The cumulative volume is roughly 381,000 mt behind the steady pace needed to reach the recently-reduced target of 4.7 mmt, although again, unlicensed exports will help narrow this gap.
Since Aug. 1, 4.149 mmt of canola has been shipped by the end of week 22, a volume which is 1.4% higher than last year's record pace while 13.6% higher than the five-year average. Week 22 marks the first shipping week this crop year where 2016/17 cumulative shipments significantly exceeded year-ago volumes, while crop year exports remain roughly 130,000 mt higher than the steady pace needed to reach AAFC's export target of 9.5 mmt.
As seen on the attached chart, movement of oats remains above year-ago and above the average pace set over the past five years. As of week 22, 574,000 mt of oats have been exported, 25.8% higher than the same 22-week period in 2015/16 and 11.4% higher than the five-year average. AAFC's December demand estimate was increased by 75,000 mt to 2.475 mmt, which if achieved, would be the largest exported volume since 2007/08. Year-to-date exports (licensed only) remain well-behind the pace needed to reach this target although the CGC also reports 192,467 mt of unlicensed exports as of October which brings the pace closer to the goal.
Flax exports, as of week 22, total 139,900 mt, 18.8% behind the 2015/16 pace and 5% behind the five-year average. AAFC has estimated the crop year's exports at 600,000 mt, down very slightly from last year, while week 22 cumulative exports are well-behind the pace needed to reach this target.
Licensed cumulative barley exports, as of week 22, are reported at 381,200 mt, which is down 7.9% from last year and 29.4% below the five-year average. AAFC's December demand estimates saw the barley export estimate lowered by 50,000 mt, to 1.9 mmt, slightly lower than last year, while year-to-date exports are well-behind the cumulative volume needed to reach this target.