The Good: Durum exports last week were strong with 144,700 tonnes inspected by the CGC. The exports were essentially evenly split between Vancouver and St Lawrence ports with 62,000 and 61,200 tonnes exported, respectively. The good news for durum exports is that the St Lawrence seaway is now open and three lakers are expected to arrive in Thunder Bay on Saturday. This should help with durum shipping as stocks in the St Lawrence have dipped to 92,000 tonnes. A total of 477,700 tonnes of durum were exported via salties (ocean freighters) from Thunder Bay prior to freeze-up, but increased freight rates will likely limit direct exports of durum from the port. It will be more economic to transport durum via lakers to ports in the St Lawrence and export from the river terminals.
The Bad: The winter precipitation across Western Canada has been well below normal in most areas with the driest conditions reported in Manitoba. A number of records for the driest winter will be set in Manitoba and parts of northern Alberta. There has been some areas with normal to above normal precipitation in central and northern Saskatchewan and the northern Price River region. The remainder of the Prairies have received below normal precipitation. There is still time to receive moisture before planting begins in April, but the situation is concerning. The market appears not to be all that concerned about the ongoing drought in the northern U.S. and Canada.
The Ugly: The ugly chart of the day belongs to canola, which was limit down in the May contract and down C$26 per tonne in the July. The July contract settled the day at C$706.50 per tonne. The move in the vegetable oil complex was due to technical based selling in both canola and soybean oil futures. There was no change to the old crop fundamentals and crush margins remain strong. February crush numbers were slightly below last year at 797,438 tonnes due mostly to the fact that there was one less day in February this year when compared with 2020. The nearby canola contracts continue to resemble a casino than a price discovery tool.