ICE weekly outlook: Canola, soy crush margins up sharply

MarketsFarm — As canola and other ag commodities made strong gains over the last week, there was something a little strange about them, according to Winnipeg-based trader Bill Craddock.

Crush margins, he said, follow prices for edible oils and meal, as well as the Canadian dollar. It’s all part of the formula used to calculate the daily crush margins.

About two weeks ago, the crush margin for the May canola contract was at about $64 per tonne, but it closed Tuesday at $109 per tonne, Craddock said — and he wasn’t entirely sure why it’s climbed so much.

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The soybean crush also had some wild ebbs and flows, he noted. That crush reached US$1.77 per bushel, then fell back to a range of 93 to 95 U.S. cents. On Monday, however, it climbed to US$1.36/bu., then dipped to US$1.30 on Tuesday.

“The meal was going up faster than what the beans were going up,” Craddock said, noting crush margins usually fluctuate by a few 10ths of a cent rather than several cents.

This might be the result of what’s been happening in commodity markets in general, particularly in U.S. markets, due to economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“I have the thought that part of the up-move in the whole thing in the U.S., was in part, money coming into commodities and it came out of equities. Commodities look cheap on a historical basis,” Craddock theorized.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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