Flax prices muted

(Dave Bedard photo)

MarketsFarm — Flax yields are expected to be average at harvest season, thanks to the combination of more seeded acres and inclement growing conditions.

Export numbers have been lower in recent years, due in part to China having opted to import flax from other countries besides Canada.

According to an early 2019 report from FarmLead, Kazakhstan surpassed Canada in both flax production and export volumes in 2018, “foreshadowing the gradual decline of Canadian flax in international markets.”

This decreased foreign appetite for Canadian flax has played a role in dampening flax prices.

“It seems like prices should be softer than they have been, but that doesn’t mean the grower wants to sell at that level,” one Winnipeg-based trader said.

Another industry expert characterized prices as a “cat-and-mouse game.

“Nobody is chasing prices… Buyers think prices will be lower, and sellers are cautious.”

New-crop flax bids are currently between $12 and $12.50 per bushel, and that price may decrease come harvest time.

“Everything is trading closer to that,” the first trader said.

Recent rainstorms across the Prairies have also softened prices, eliminating the price premium that flax markets were observing earlier in the season.

— Marlo Glass writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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