Pulse weekly outlook: FCC sees opportunities for exports

MarketsFarm — Farm Credit Canada (FCC) on Tuesday released a report titled Diversifying Canada’s agriculture exports, which included pulses and also looked at some of the pros and cons to diversifying Canada’s wheat, canola and soybeans.

“Canada has done extremely well in establishing strong trade relations in a number of key markets thanks to a long-held focus on getting trade agreements in place,” FCC chief agricultural economist J.P. Gervais said in a release.

“While we believe there is still room for growth in diversifying our agriculture export markets, it won’t be easy. The long-term success of Canadian agriculture relies on our ability to provide a greater diversity in commodities and food products for new and existing export markets.”

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The 16-page report stated Canada was the world’s fifth largest agricultural exporter in 2018, with about 35 per cent of those exports, worth almost $34 billion, going to the U.S.

Soybeans and pulses have accounted for 20 to 25 per cent of Canada’s total ag exports.

However, trade disruptions, such as the U.S./China trade war, exemplified the over-dependence on one or a few major customers.

As well, when it came to pulses and other crops, Canada has faced increased competition from Asia, South America and the Black Sea region.

From 1999 to 2017, Canadian pulses saw yearly average increases of around 8.3 per cent. Since then, pulse exports slipped, largely due to India hiking import tariffs as its domestic production increased.

There are major impediments to diversifying Canada’s pulse exports, the report noted, such as the added cost of developing those newer trade ties.

Another is the emergence of China as a major player, as it holds a tremendous amount of sway in the global marketplace.

Also, demand from new markets would be curtailed by any slowdown in the Chinese and U.S. economies.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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