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China’s requirements leave Canadian flax piling up

flax
(Dave Bedard photo)

CNS Canada –– Stalled demand from a key international buyer has caused a buildup of flax inventories in Canada, with more crops on the way.

Demand on the ingredient side of the flax market has been steady, said Mike Popowich of processing firm TA Foods at Yorkton, Sask.

“But we’ve experienced a bit of a slowdown on the exports. There are ongoing issues with processed flax in China,” and the Flax Council of Canada and government officials are working to resolve the issue, he said.

China in July last year began rejecting flax shipments due to a lack of import standards, the council said in a release.

The restriction still applies to food-grade flax, to date.

China has never had a specification for processed flax for human consumption, “but they started to make something about it over the last year, which has kind of hindered our exports there on cleaned or milled flax,” Popowich said.

That has created a volume build up in the North American market, though the market has held mostly steady, despite the stockpiles.

“Prices are fairly stable, they’ve pretty much flat-lined, since harvest, the supply is still out there right now,” Popowich said.

As for up-and-coming crops, most look generally OK, though market watchers are paying attention to areas of concern in southern and southwestern Saskatchewan.

“That’s led to some speculation, and some farmers holding onto their flax,” Popowich said.

Delivered elevator flax prices in Western Canada are sitting between about $11 and $12 per bushel, according to data from Prairie Ag Hotwire.

— Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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