Pakistan in canola market after late start

(Resource News International) — Pakistan has been in the market for Canadian canola recently, and is expected to end up taking a few more cargoes than it did the previous year.

That’s despite the fact that the country has been slow making purchases this year, according to a canola exporter.

Canada exported 222,800 tonnes of canola to Pakistan in 2007-08, according to Canadian Grain Commission data. The five-year average of Canadian canola exports to the country comes in at around 327,000 tonnes.

However, in the most recent monthly data from the government agency, there had yet to be any movement to Pakistan during the first six months of the 2008-09 crop year.

“They came late, and they’re making up for it,” said canola exporter Lach Coburn of Cargill Ltd., noting that all of the business to Pakistan this year has come on the books since January. Overall, he expected to see Pakistan take 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of Canadian canola during the crop year.

While the fact that Pakistan is back in the market for canola is good news for exporters, Coburn pointed out that China remains the major market in 2008-09.

As of January, China had already imported over a million tonnes of Canadian canola, according to the Canadian Grain Commission, surpassing total exports during the previous crop year of 659,300 tonnes.

Coburn said the question now was whether or not the Chinese demand would continue as the country can be sporadic in its purchases.

Steady business is what the Canadian canola sector likes to see, he added. “We don’t ramp up very well and we don’t ramp down very well,” he said noting that it would be good to see countries such as China and Pakistan become more steady customers, like Japan.

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