Winnipeg/Ottawa | Reuters — Canadian canola and wheat stockpiles were sharply lower in midsummer from a year earlier, the smallest in three years, but bigger than expected, a Statistics Canada report showed on Wednesday.
StatsCan pegged all-wheat stocks as of July 31 at 5.2 million tonnes, down 27 per cent from a year ago but far exceeding the average trade expectation of 4.29 million tonnes.
Canola supplies amounted to two million tonnes, down 21 per cent but topping the average trade guess of 1.27 million tonnes.
Trade expectations for wheat and canola likely differed widely from StatsCan’s stocks estimates because the agency found more crop being stored on farms than expected when it surveyed growers, said Chuck Penner, owner of LeftField Commodity Research.
StatsCan bumped up its estimate of last year’s canola harvest to 18.4 million tonnes from 17.2 million to account for the extra supplies.
“Something had to give,” Penner said. “It’s a bigger adjustment than we were expecting.”
Confirmation of bigger stockpiles at the end of the last marketing year is likely to weigh on canola prices, although wheat stocks are still relatively small, Penner said.
The market took the report in stride, however, and ICE Canada November canola futures rose 0.5 per cent in early trading, in line with other oilseeds.
Minneapolis December spring wheat futures also gained modestly.
Canada is one of the world’s largest wheat exporters and the biggest shipper of canola, a cousin of rapeseed used largely to produce vegetable oil.
Oat stocks amounted to 930,000 tonnes, up more than one-third from a year ago and exceeding the average trade estimate of 880,000 tonnes.
Ample oat supplies are likely to keep prices in check, unless fellow grains corn or wheat rally, said Randy Strychar, oat analyst at Ag Commodity Research. Chicago Board of Trade December oats rose one per cent, climbing with the other grains.
— Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Kaven Baker-Voakes in Ottawa.