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Prairie wheat bids rise as dollar falls

Threats of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports drag on the Canadian dollar

Most wheat bids in Western Canada rose over the week ended March 2, following the lead of U.S. futures and taking strength from a weak Canadian dollar.

Depending on the location, average Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS, 13.5 per cent protein) wheat prices rose in Western Canada by $1-$5, according to price quotes from a cross-section of delivery points compiled by PDQ (Price and Data Quotes). Average prices ranged from about $239 per tonne in southeastern Saskatchewan to as high as $254 in northern Alberta.

Quoted basis levels varied from location to location, but rose to range from $11 to $16 above the futures when using the grain company methodology of quoting the basis as the difference between U.S. dollar-denominated futures and Canadian dollar cash bids.

When accounting for currency exchange rates by adjusting Canadian prices to U.S. dollars, CWRS bids ranged from US$185 to US$197 per tonne, which was down on a U.S. dollar basis on the week. That would put the currency-adjusted basis levels at about US$31-$43 below the futures.

Looking at it the other way around, if the Minneapolis futures are converted to Canadian dollars, CWRS basis levels across Western Canada range from $40 to $55 below the futures.

Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat bids rose across Western Canada by $8-$12. Prices across the Prairies ranged from $207 per tonne in southeastern Saskatchewan to $224 per tonne in southern Alberta.

Average durum prices were mixed, with some unchanged and others falling $1 or rising $1 in most of Western Canada; bids ranged from about $255 to $265 per tonne.

The May spring wheat contract in Minneapolis, off of which most CWRS contracts Canada are based, was quoted March 2 at US$6.2025 per bushel, rising seven U.S. cents from the previous week.

Kansas City hard red winter wheat futures, traded in Chicago, are more closely linked to CPSR in Canada. The May K.C. wheat contract was quoted at US$5.3375 per bushel on March 2, rising almost half a dollar compared to the previous week.

The May Chicago Board of Trade soft wheat contract settled at US$5 on March 2, up by almost 36 U.S. cents on the week.

The Canadian dollar settled March 2 at 77.57 U.S. cents, falling 1.37 cents over the course of the week. The loonie was dragged down by global fears of a trade war after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he will impose tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

About the author

CNSC

Ashley Robinson writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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