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Where in the World? (PCN Fall 2015) OCT 1 2015 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Chuck Penner, LeftField Commodity Research

Most pulse marketers are carefully watching the Canadian crop situation right now, and for good reason. But because Canadian pulses depend heavily on exports, it’s important to keep one eye on foreign markets. Each pulse crop and type has its own set of global market factors, adding to the complexity. This article summarizes where and when to watch for key market developments.

It’s important to distinguish between destinations for yellow and green peas, since they’re very different markets. Three countries account for 90 per cent of Canada’s yellow pea exports. India is the dominant buyer and its purchase levels are influenced by its own domestic production during the rabi (winter) with planting in November and harvest starting in February. It’s important to watch the weather during that season, as it plays a huge role in India’s demand. In China and Bangladesh, less information is available but domestic production is less of a factor for import volumes.

The major exporters of yellow (and dun) peas are Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Australia and France. Because most of these countries are in the northern hemisphere, July and August are the months where production totals are set. For Australia, that happens in November and December. That means we’re in the middle of figuring out the supply side for yellow peas.

Green peas are a different market. India and China were the two largest buyers in 2014-15 but don’t account for as much of total exports as they do for yellows. The rest of green pea demand is widely scattered among 63 countries, meaning less of the market outlook depends on production in one or two locations and the supply side is a more important factor.

When it comes to green pea exports, Canada and the US are the two main sellers. What happens in North America largely determines the global exportable supply, making this time of year critical for market direction of green peas.

Red lentils are similar to yellow peas in that only a few countries account for most of global imports. India is the largest buyer but also grows sizable volumes in the rabi season, making the November-February period the most important to watch. That also applies to Pakistan and Bangladesh. In Turkey, red lentils are grown as a winter crop and harvested in May-June. Two other sizable buyers, Egypt and the UAE, produce few red lentils of their own.

The two major exporters of red lentils are Canada and Australia, with Canadian production dominating the market. Now that the harvest is over here, those supplies are locked in, while the Australian crop will be harvested in November-December.

Demand for green lentils is more widely dispersed, just like green peas. India is the largest buyer, but three quarters of 2014-15 Canadian exports were scattered among 88 other countries. Because no single buyer drives the market, it’s the exporters – mostly Canada and the US – that set direction and those crops are already in the bin.

For chickpeas, India is the largest producer and buyer of desi chickpeas but can also be a key exporter of kabuli types, with most of that harvest occurring in March. Mexico is another major exporter of large calibre kabulis and that crop is also harvested in March. The other key market for larger calibre kabulis is Turkey and that harvest occurs mostly in July. Smaller calibre kabulis are produced by Russia with a late-summer harvest and Argentina with the harvest in November and December. The Australian chickpea crop harvested in November/December is 90 per cent desi chickpeas but also includes a significant volume of kabulis.

Most market analysts use multiple sources of information about crops in these key countries. Some countries provide easy access to information while others take more digging. Web searches, sometimes requiring translation, can reveal local information sources including news reports and government statistical websites. For India, the single most important pulse market, most information is available in English. There are many information sources about the weather situations in various countries, but those looking for a central resource should start with the USDA’s Crop Explorer.