Flax prices pressured

Flax prices pressured

Seasonal harvest pressure has weighed on flaxseed bids in Western Canada over the past month or so, but the weaker Canadian dollar is providing some support.

Current spot flaxseed bids are in the $11.00 to $11.50 per bushel area, with top-end prices having lost over a dollar over the past month, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data.

“There’s not a huge amount of demand for spot load flaxseed at the moment, with most people still bringing in their contracted volumes,” said Mike Popowich, co-owner of TA Foods, a flaxseed processor and exporter in Yorkton, Sask. He said current spot pricing was about 50 cents per bushel lower than contracted levels, with roughly three-quarters of the flaxseed grown likely contracted.

He said the lack of a futures market for flaxseed kept it acting much like a special crop, with most companies preferring to contract ahead of time so they can book sales.

One factor to watch in flax is the weak Canadian dollar, according to Popowich. He said the strengthening trend in the U.S. dollar relative to the loonie was making it cheaper for U.S. customers to bring in Canadian flax, which is resulting in more interest from south of the border and lending some support to local prices.

Canada’s 2015 flaxseed crop is pegged at 889,000 tonnes, according to the latest Statistics Canada estimates. That compares with the 872,500 tonnes grown in 2014.

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