The most likely impact of the Turkish lira crisis is that the Canadian dollar might slip a couple of pennies against the American dollar in the next few weeks if the crisis continues or spreads.  |  REUTERS/Murad Sezer illustration

Measures advised to help protect against falling loonie

Do you know how the Turkish crisis is going to work out? Me neither. But while I get to watch the situation in a professional capacity, getting intellectual joy out of it, you get to worry about how it is going to affect the value of hundreds of thousands or a couple of million dollars […] Read more

Not knowing how long the trade dispute between China and the United States will last makes the pricing and hedging of continentally and internationally traded commodities a riskier proposition on both sides of the border.  |  File photo

Assuming trade war will end soon is risky marketing move

Assumptions and reasonable expectations can be risky when the world goes crazy. That’s true in agricultural markets right now, with United States President Donald Trump’s multi-front trade war just beginning to bring economic bloodshed. It makes hedging everyday production risks more fraught than usual. Before I discuss these risks a bit more, let me muse […] Read more

Closed market access because of the discovery of genetically modified wheat plants in Alberta may upend the predictable market cycles on which hedging is based.  |  File photo

Unpredictability makes hedging difficult for producers

There are some things you can count on in the crop and meat markets: Crops are volatile but rise from spring toward August and then sell off as weather worries arise and then dissipate. Pork prices rise into midsummer as barbecuers work their grills, and then sell off. Except when those things don’t happen, like […] Read more

Canada’s own security might be compromised if it doesn’t expand its trading capacity beyond its southern neighbour. Expansions at the ports of Montreal, shown here, and Vancouver are critical to goods trade, as are improved pipelines to tidewater.  |  Sean Pratt photo

National security is in the eye of the beholder

For Canada, critical export infrastructure should be treated like the U.S. treats national defence: as a non-partisan issue too serious to mess with. The Trump administration has farcically claimed “national security” as its excuse for the unjustified steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and other trading partners it imposed last week. The weak argument of […] Read more

Canadian canola could be vulnerable to Chinese trade actions now that Canada has pulled the plug on an investment venture.  |  File photo

Will ag trade bear brunt of China’s retaliation for Aecon?

Get ready for China to pull some more shenanigans with Canadian canola. I’m sure the massive country’s government feels it needs to do something to signal its grave displeasure with Canada’s decision to prevent one of its state-owned organizations from taking over Canada’s biggest construction company. Hitting canola is a pretty easy way to slap […] Read more

Traders work on the floor of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange during the final minutes of trading, Dec. 16, 2004. | File photo

Exchange’s noble history deserves recognition as it leaves Winnipeg

Winnipeg’s 114-year futures-trading existence is ending much the way the Roman and British empires disappeared: with some nostalgia and regrets, but no panic, and an acceptance that its time was done. Most will never recognize it has happened. Farmers probably won’t be worse off after the Intercontinental Exchange, if it gets needed regulatory approval, takes […] Read more

Statistics Canada’s first seeding intentions report of the year finds farmers planning to grow 300,000 more acres of barley, and some analysts think it could be higher than that.  |  File photo

Barley might be bouncing back from its recent doldrums

This could be the year of the big barley bounce back. It’s too early to tell if farmers were telling the truth to Statistics Canada about their seeding intentions, and weather can always throw honest intentions into a blender and puree them into an ugly mess, but as of early spring farmers said they were […] Read more

Canada benefits greatly from having its hog industry integrated with the U.S., but processors have to find a better way to reflect some of the differences between the two industries when prices tank in the U.S.  |  File photo

Producers need to find a refuge from the hogs of war

Something’s wrong with Canadian hog prices and it needs to get fixed. Right now, the market is sending the wrong signals to farmers, and bad signals equal bad decisions made on the farm. “When we (the United States) do stupid things, you lose,” Iowa State University agricultural economist Dermot Hayes commented to me recently when […] Read more

U.S. President Donald Trump has kept the trade rhetoric rolling, but with so many pots on the fire, might Canadian trade be forgotten?  |  REUTERS/Carlos Barria photo

Dull and diligent likely to prevail over Trump trade tactics

America’s mercurial, combative, antagonistic and games-playing president fancies himself a brilliant negotiator. But I’m betting he’s going to get fleeced by Canada’s dull and diligent trade team, and so successfully that he never even realizes he’s been had. I was just in Washington, D.C., and President Donald Trump’s trade talk is still the talk-of-the-town, which […] Read more

U.S. wheat sales are lagging annual averages, but American farmers plan to put 12.6 million acres of spring wheat in the ground this season. That could take all-wheat seedings to 47.3 million for harvest in 2018, 1.3 million more than last year. A shipload of North American wheat, loaded out of the state-of-the-art EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview in Washington state, unloads April 1 on the Red Sea at Hodeidah, Yemen.  The Washington facility is jointly owned by Bunge and Japanese trader ITOCHU.  |  Reuters photo

Frisky market rally ignores larger reality of oversupply

It was out with the old and in with the new when crop markets rallied on the United States Department of Agriculture’s planting intentions report. But even though we all get frisky in the springtime and want to forget about the dreary old crop hanging over us, that friskiness can distract from reality. Sure, U.S. […] Read more