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Canadian canola stocks seen dwindling to four-year low

Winnipeg | Reuters — Canadian stockpiles of canola dwindled to a four-year low ahead of planting season after brisk demand from crushers and exporters, but wheat supplies swelled, according to a Reuters survey of 12 traders and analysts.

On Friday, Statistics Canada will estimate crop supplies as of March 31, 2017, from commercial and farm storage. The report is based on a farmer survey and government data, and offers a snapshot before farmers sow the next crop.

The average estimate pegged total canola stocks at 6.7 million tonnes, down 22 per cent year over year, and the smallest early-spring supplies since 2013.

Rising canola prices are a good indication that supplies of the oilseed are running thin, said Chuck Penner, analyst at LeftField Commodity Research.

More than one million acres of canola, wheat and other crops are still in fields, according to government and industry estimates, with quality unknown, after wet October weather pre-empted harvests.

Canada has domestically crushed and exported more canola year over year, draining stocks.

All-wheat supplies jumped 27 per cent to a three-year high 18.3 million tonnes, according to the average estimate, while durum stocks were seen nearly doubling to 5.2 million tonnes.

Canada produced its second-biggest wheat harvest in 25 years last year, and record-large durum output, but excessively wet weather damaged quality.

While durum stocks appear high, quality problems mean that much of those supplies will be used only for animal feed, Penner said.

Canada is the world’s biggest canola exporter and a major wheat exporter.

StatsCan surveyed farmers from March 16 to April 2.

— Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg.

Table: Trade estimates for Statistics Canada’s report on March 31, 2017 crop stocks, in millions of tonnes.

Average Lowest Highest StatsCan,
estimate estimate…. estimate…. March 31, 2016
All wheat…. 18.3 17.8 18.6 14.375
..Durum 5.2 4.9 5.4 2.702
Canola 6.7 5.0 8.4 8.565
Oats 1.6 1.4 1.8 1.817
Barley 4.4 4.2 4.8 3.733

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