It is the evening of August 1 and I am struggling with something useful to say about the upcoming crop year. The best I can do is confirm/repeat some observations that I believe will be true for the next six months. Please read along with the following disclaimer taken in the form of funny t-shirts. We may all require some humor as the week’s progress.
Trader: We do precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge I'm a commodity trader: I solve problems you don't have in ways you can't understand. and my favorite: In my defense I was left unsupervised.
- We will have a short lentil crop, but it will not be a crop failure. US and Canada will range between 8-18 bushel/acre. The primary impact will make buying a very difficult endeavor for processors because the farmer will carefully shop around each lot before contracting. It will cause the grower market to perpetually run 2-3 cents ahead of export bids.
- Quality will be good, but be limited by colour. Suntanned or browning lentils should be more of the norm this year. We should be able to avoid stain, wrinkle, and splitting issues. There should be worry by buyers about blending last years poorer product into the current crop.
- Major volume markets like ISC will not be present until much later in the fall. It will make the market spottier and much more difficult to get in and out of.
- Beware of the potential for a perfect price storm and return to S+D fundamentals early in the new year. Diminished stocks in the pipeline, limited grower stocks in the bin combined with a potentially poorer production in competing countries should significantly be able to boost prices Jan – April 2018.
- Drought worry and limited carry out stocks will continue to propel prices through the fall of 2018. Pulse crops were able to pull through this year because they were seeded into adequate subsoil moisture. This may not be adequately replaced before the winter freeze. It should make for an anxious spring.
Throughout August our focus will be to execute our production contracts and find a way to determine availability. The early harvest will give us production opportunity for spot business based on what additional product producers are willing to let go. Expect smaller quantities to be offered for shorter periods of time with more volatile pricing.
Encouraging everyone to share production and pricing information as we stumble into a new year.
Looking forward to your communications.