Canadian grain exports behind on year due to poor Chinese demand

Winnipeg, (MarketsFarm) – Canadian grain exports from licensed facilities are running well behind the previous year’s pace, due primarily to a sharp reduction in movement to China, according to latest monthly data from the Canadian Grain Commission.

Total 2019/20 (Aug/Jul) exports of Canada’s grain, oilseed and pulse crops as of the end of December came in at 17.6 million tonnes. That compares with the 20.7 million tonnes moved during the same five-month period the previous year. Of the totals, China was the top destination in both years, but took 7.5 million tonnes in 2018/19 and only 2.4 million tonnes in the current marketing year.

On a crop-by-crop basis, Canadian canola exports to China during the first five months of the marketing year of 553,000 tonnes were down by 74 percent from the previous year. Wheat exports to the country, at 269,000 tonnes were down 73 percent, and non-existent soybean sales compare to 2018/19 when Canada had already exported 3.0 million tonnes of soybeans to China by the end of December.

However, a few crops have seen improvements on the year. Total Canadian pea exports to China so far in 2019/20 are up 44 per cent on the year, at 860,200 tonnes. China has also imported 10 per cent more barley, at 725,600 tonnes.

In addition, while total Chinese demand for Canadian grains may be down, a number of other countries have increased their purchases.

Italy and Turkey have both increased their durum imports considerably on the year. Total Canadian durum exports as of the end of December of 2.0 million tonnes were up 40 percent on the year due primarily to the increases to those two countries.

The United Arab Emirates and Europe were also buying considerably more canola than the previous year, with exports to the UAE of nearly half-a-million tonnes up 383 percent on the year. Much of the UAE demand is tied to processors in the country who crush the seed and then export the oil to China and other destinations. Meanwhile, combined Canadian canola exports to France, Germany, Belgium and Portugal of 904,000 tonnes were up 336 per cent.

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