Americans becoming top wheat buyer

The Canadian Grain Commission’s November export report provides insight into this year’s export picture.


As we have reported this fall, overall exports are running well ahead of average but are falling far short of demand sparked by the desire to move this record large crop.


Wheat and pea exports are up from last year at the same time, but canola, durum and barley exports are down.


In wheat, the United States has increased its purchases over the past few years. 


Last year, it became the leading buyer of Canadian wheat, leaping ahead by 50 percent over the previous year’s total to 2.22 million tonnes. Its buying pace so far this year is ahead of what it was last year.


Shipments to the U.S. total a little more than 700,000 tonnes in the first four months of the crop year, up from 500,000 tonnes at the same point last year and 450,000 tonnes in 2011-12.


Mexico is the No. 2 buyer of Canadian wheat this year, taking 524,000 tonnes. Indonesia is in third place at 492,000. In a bit of a surprise, Japan is down to fourth place at 393,400 tonnes.


Japan’s buying also helped explain the slower pace of canola exports this year.


Japan is traditionally a top buyer of Canadian canola but in recent years has placed either first or second behind China.


Japan is running in second place this year with shipments to the end of November at 755,300 tonnes, which is 107,600 tonnes behind last year. 


China is in first place with 1.082 million tonnes, up 105,100 tonnes.


Japan isn’t the only country buying less canola. 


Mexico is at 457,900 tonnes, down 170,200 tonnes from the same time last year. 


The United Arab Emirates, which had imported 185,600 tonnes of canola at this time last year, has taken nothing this year.


Total durum shipments are down a little this year at almost 1.4 million compared to 1.67 million at the same time last year.


The main reason is that Morocco and Algeria are buying less because they had better domestic crops this year, although Tunisia has taken a little more.