Wittal: Export demand picks up, somewhat

Jan. 14 — Grains remained positive today, with small gains due to the fact that export demand seems to have picked up somewhat and deliveries have slowed down due to cold weather concerns reaching across the Prairies and into the U.S.

Corn was up four cents a bushel, beans finished up two to eight cents a bushel, canola finished up $4 to $8 per tonne and wheat finished up two to four cents a bushel. Crude oil was down 50 cents to close at US$37.28 a barrel.

The Canadian dollar was down US1.2 cents to close at US80.30 cents, and this was the biggest factor as to why we’ve seen the gains we did today in canola futures.

We are back near previous highs with canola that the markets have not been able to crack recently and, unless continued cold weather hampers delivery of grain, I don’t see why futures would continue to run much higher. Grain companies are still looking for stocks to fill sales, so look for basis premiums that are being offered by some of them.

Financial markets impacts could become a concern again as we see more bad news, such as Nortel declaring bankruptcy and its stock trading as low as 13 cents a share today.

Hopefully we don’t see too many more of these types of problems, but we have a ways to go before the auto sector is out of the woods, and these types of major business collapses will no doubt have impact on all markets going forward.

Taking a profit from the markets is a good thing. Thinking you can outguess the markets is a good way to get humbled.

That’s all for today. — Brian

Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as a grain producers. He welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts.

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Brian Wittal

Brian Wittal has 30 years of grain industry experience and currently offers market planning and marketing advice to farmers through his company Pro Com Marketing Ltd.

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