Durum strays from typical patterns ahead of new crop

CNS Canada — The durum market has moved off from its normal patterns heading into summer, one market analyst says, while exports are trending lower on the year.

“It’s a very unique situation because we’ve got bigger crops coming,” said Jerry Klassen, manager of the Canadian office for Swiss-based GAP SA Grains and Produits.

France, Italy and the U.S. are expected to produce larger crops this year, but even with that pressure looming, the market has stayed quiet, Klassen said.

Old-crop stocks are relatively low quality, he noted, which means the market is at a standstill until trade starts from Canadian and U.S. producers.

Analysts had also anticipated new-crop French and Spanish durum would be on the market by now, but that hasn’t happened.

Italy has been putting out small offers, Klassen said, but still, the market is hard to define due to limited activity.

End users are carrying sufficient stocks for the time being, he added, which is keeping prices at a standstill.

Delivered elevator durum prices are about $7.43-$8.07 per bushel in Saskatchewan and Alberta, while new-crop prices in the same two provinces are about $7.10-$7.77, according to data from Prairie Ag Hotwire.

Exports are down on the year for two main reasons, Klassen said. Bigger crops in competing growing regions mean less room for Canadian product, while last year’s exports were above-average.

Durum exports as of May 29 were at 3.9 million tonnes, compared with 4.2 million tonnes in the same time frame a year prior, according to data from the Canadian Grain Commission.

— Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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