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Canola, spring wheat prices fall, after hefty Canada crop upgrades

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Canola and spring wheat futures fell after Canada revealed that its crops had been less affected than had been thought by dryness, with the canola crop upgraded to a record high – and to within an ace of being the world’s biggest.


Minneapolis-traded spring wheat futures for March, which had traded little changed ahead of the Statistics Canada data, dropped to $6.18 a bushel afterwards, a 1.3% fall on the day.


In Winnipeg, canola futures for January, which had also traded flat ahead of the statistics, fell to Can$505.30 a tonne, a fall of 0.9%.


StatsCan reported for both crops, and barley too, 2017 harvest estimates which exceeded figures revealed earlier in the year both by a farmer survey and condition modelling, while topping too investor expectations.


‘Yields have improved’


StatsCan flagged that growing season dryness in the Prairies, the key growing region, had not wrought the harm to crops that had been expected.


“Despite producers’ concerns of drought on the Prairies, and heavier-than-average precipitation in parts of eastern Canada this summer, farmers reported that yields have improved from their preliminary expectations reported in the July 2017 farm survey,” officials said.


While wheat yields did fall 10.8% in the top growing state of Saskatchewan, and by some 7% in Alberta, they rose 12.6% in Manitoba.


Overall Canadian wheat output, which is mainly of spring wheat, was pegged at 29.98m tonnes, a drop of 5.5% on last year’s bumper harvest, but ahead of the 28.0m-tonne figure that investors had expected.


StatsCan’s July survey pegged the harvest at 25.54m tonnes, with its model-based analysis in September putting the crop at 27.13m tonnes.


Canada vs EU


For canola, the harvest was pegged at 21.31m tonnes, a rise of 1.71m tonnes year on year, and well ahead of investor expectations of a 20.2m-tonne crop.


The upgrade also took the harvest – which StatsCan modelling had estimated at 19.71m tonnes – to within an ace of the European Union rapeseed crop, the world’s biggest, which industry group Coceral earlier on Wednesday put at 21.9m tonnes.


The European Commission and analysis group Strategie Grains both estimate the EU rapeseed crop at 21.7m tonnes.


Output shortfalls


For barley too, a StatsCan estimate of a 7.89m-tonne harvest beat market expectations of a 7.5m-tonne crop, besides coming in ahead of the 7.31m tonnes forecast by modelling.


However, not all harvests beat expectations, with the corn result of 14.10m tonnes matching trader forecasts.


And the soybean figure of 7.72m tonnes came in nearly 400,000 tonnes of expectations, while a lentil estimate of 2.56m tonnes was more than 40,000 tonnes short


The oats crop, at 3.72m tonnes, was 80,000 tonnes below the market forecast, and the StatsCan model estimate.

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