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Canola remains rangebound despite support for soy

The latest USDA report put pressure on wheat values

ICE Futures Canada canola futures spent most of the week ended Sept. 29 chopping around in their recently established range, despite two major reports that moved other agricultural markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday released its quarterly stocks report, in which it pegged U.S. soybean stocks at 301 million bushels. That was far higher than last year’s figure of 197 million, but still failed to meet most analysts’ expectations. This caused soybeans to rise sharply but traders took profits shortly before the close to mute the full extent of the gains.

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Canola also took strength from the report, but not enough to dent major resistance, which some traders put at just under $500 a tonne.

Canola’s dominant November contract lost $2.90 during the week ended Sept. 29 to finish at $492.40 a tonne.

While canola hasn’t sustained any major rallies in the past few weeks, the commodity has shown surprising resilience in the face of declining vegetable oil markets.

Exporter pricing was cited as one of the reasons for canola’s firmness during the past few weeks.

Harvest delays in parts of the western Prairies due to rain were also supportive, along with a recent surge in export demand.

On the bearish side, canola was pressured by an announcement early in the week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which said it was considering cuts to the amount of biofuel that must be blended into U.S. fuel. The reductions would be implemented under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) in 2018 and 2019. For now, the agency says it’s just looking for feedback on the idea, but the move was still serious enough to cause oilseeds, most noticeably soyoil, to drop.

Volumes should pick up in October when traders typically begin rolling their positions out of the November contract.

Corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade hung steady in narrow trade during the week ended Sept. 29. USDA pegged corn stocks at 2.23 billion bushels, which came in at the lower end of expectations. The market rose momentarily but farmers began unloading stockpiles which capped the rally. On the international front, new estimates for the South African crop revealed the country was sitting on a record harvest of 16.5 million tonnes.

Soybeans softened as traders took profits on the heels of the USDA report. The agency pegged stocks at 301 million bushels, which was higher than last year’s but lower than what most analysts were expecting. Late crop development in the U.S. was a bearish feature. The basis also weakened in many areas and barge-freight costs were quite high.

The wheat market moved above and below the key US$4.50 mark during the week. In USDA’s report, both the stocks and domestic production figures surpassed expectations, which weighed down the market. The quick pace of the Russian wheat harvest also undermined prices. On the other side, weekly export sales hit 435,700 tonnes, which surpassed expectations.

About the author

Columnist

Dave Sims

Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Dave has a deep background in the radio industry and is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife and two beautiful children. His hobbies include reading, podcasting and following the Atlanta Braves.

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