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Margins reach ‘staggering’ levels for canola crushers

Canola crush margins are leaving one analyst at a loss for words.

“They have soared up to levels that are just beyond anybody’s description,” said Ken Ball, commodities futures adviser with PI Financial Corp.

“I have run out of adjectives to describe them.”

His crush index hit $325 per tonne yesterday, representing a gross margin of $7.37 per bushel.

“In the U.S., a $1.50 per bu. margin for beans is considered fantasyland,” he said.

You might expect to see those kinds of “staggering” margins if Canadian farmers were harvesting a bumper crop of 22 million tonnes of canola or something like that, but that is not the case.

Statistics Canada forecasts 19.1 million tonnes. Ball thinks it will be sub-19 million tonnes because most farmers he talks to say yields are coming in a few bushels per acre lower than anticipated.

“The balancing factor is that Australia seems to be on their way to another whopper canola crop,” he said.

The Australian government forecasts 6.6 million tonnes of production, down two percent from last year’s record-shattering crop.

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