Exports tumble as supplies simply not there

'There's very little to sell'

Wheat being loaded onto a cargo ship in Vancouver in 2011. (File photo: Reuters/Ben Nelms)

MarketsFarm — Cereal and oilseed exports out of Canada nosedived in August just as the 2021-22 marketing began, according to the monthly export report from the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).

At about 2.24 million tonnes, total grain exports were down 38.5 per cent overall compared to those in August 2020.

“There’s very little to sell. August is always a tricky month anyway. You’re usually pre-harvest and August tends to be a lower month anyway,” analyst Bruce Burnett, director of markets and weather for MarketsFarm said.

Unlike the Augusts over the last couple of marketing years, Canada simply doesn’t have the stocks available this August, he pointed out.

That’s crystal clear in the CGC’s report, which showed wheat exports were down 22.2 per cent this August at 1.44 million tonnes. Among the other cereals, barley exports essentially dried up at only 2,400 tonnes, crashing 98.6 per cent compared to August 2020 and at 119,400 tonnes, oats dropped only 5.8 per cent from a year ago. The one bright spot was durum, which its exports increased 27.8 per cent at 361,300 tonnes.

Among the oilseeds, soybeans careened by the largest percentage at 90.3, with only 13,000 tonnes that left Canada in August 2021. Also when comparing August to August, flax exports fell 85.8 per cent at 5,400 tonnes and canola was down 77 per cent at 205,500 tonnes.

Of the latter, Burnett said, “it’s a combination of price rationing and tight supplies.” Not only did China’s canola purchases fall almost 79 per cent at 65,900 tonnes, but those going to Japan did as well, dropping 58.7 per cent at 83,000 tonnes.

Burnett stressed that exporters don’t want to take any big risks in August as they cannot rely on an early harvest.

Although Canada’s harvest was early this year, expected sharp declines in cereal and oilseed production will create supply problems, he said.

“Our exports will be down this year 15 million tonnes or more on major crops,” Burnett stated.

Table: Major grain exports for August 2021 in thousands of tonnes. Source: Canadian Grain Commission.

Grain August 2021.   . August 2020.  . Change (per cent)
Barley 2.4 167.9 -98.6
Rye 11.9 21.0 -43.3
Wheat 1,438.6 1,849.7 -22.2
Durum 361.3 282.6 +27.8
Oats 119.4 126.8 -5.8
Soybeans.  . 13.0 134.6 -90.3
Flax 5.4 38.1 -85.8
Canola 205.5 901.4 -77.0

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