Pulse weekly outlook: Red lentils see some strength

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MarketsFarm — The red lentil market in Western Canada is seeing some life to start the New Year, with improved bids creating some marketing opportunities.

“Green lentil prices have been steady since the end of 2019, but red lentils are the one that’s jumped,” said Kevin Silzer, vice-president with Rayglen Commodities in Saskatoon, noting red lentil prices improved by about two cents/lb. over the holiday period.

Spot demand from Turkey and expectations for increased demand going forward accounted for the higher bids, according to Silzer. “Nothing has changed tariff-wise in India, it’s just a little bit of spec buying and a little bit of spot demand from Turkey.”

Red lentil bids around 23 to 24 cents/lb. area as of Tuesday were near their highs of the past two years.

However, some buyers have likely filled their short-term needs and may be pulling back, said Silzer.

There was a large lentil carryover from the 2018-19 crop of 673,000 tonnes (red and green combined), according to Statistics Canada data. With roughly 2.2 million tonnes of production in 2019-20, the large overall supplies may limit the upside potential.

No. 2 large green lentils have held steady in the 21-25 cents/lb. area over the past month, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data.

India’s next pulse crop will be harvested in the spring, which will also overhang the pulse markets.

While improving spot bids could swing some more attention to planting red lentils in 2020, Silzer said it was still too early to get a sense on seeding intentions.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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