27 November 2015 | Online since 2003

EU Reports

25 November 2015 | EU Reports
25/11/15 -- EU grains closed mostly higher with Jan 16 London wheat up GBP0.65/tonne at GBP114.45/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat rose EUR1.75/tonne to EUR177.75/tonne, Jan 16 corn was EUR0.50/tonne easier at EUR167.00/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed gained EUR5.00/tonne to EUR382.00/tonne.

Fresh news was lacking. Rapeseed, having been the weakest link yesterday, regained the starring role today aided by an improved showing from Chicago soybeans. This was in fact within half a euro of being the best close on a front month since mid-August for Paris rapeseed.

The outlook for another significant fall in EU (and Ukraine) rapeseed plantings for 2016 might be lending some support to that going forward.

Talking of which, the Ukraine Ag Ministry recently said that the country's winter rapeseed crop was only sown on 79% of the originally intended area, with the optimum planting window long since passed.

Sowing of winter wheat in Ukraine has fared a little better, with 89% of the intended area now sown, but only 62% of that is yet emerged. Of what has emerged only 68% is said to be in good to satisfactory condition versus 83% this time a year ago.

Ukraine's grain exports for the season so far now stand at 16.3 MMT, including 8.64 MMT of wheat, 3.65 MMT of barley and 3.95 MMT of corn.

The Ukraine Ministry said that the country would export 16.6 MMT of wheat this season along with 3.9 MMT of barley and 16 MMT of corn.

Egypt's GASC bought 240,000 MT of wheat for late December shipment today, half of which was French origin. They also picked up one cargo each of Romanian and Russian wheat.

Sharply lower freight rates helped French wheat win a good share of the business. Whilst that is good news on the one hand, on the other it also possibly means that other "traditional" North African homes for French wheat like Algeria and Morocco are able to pick up more competitive offers out of the Baltic.

Tomorrow's weekly export licence total out of Brussels will provide a useful barometer to EU exports. Last week's total was a marketing year high of 636 TMT, up 58% on 401 TMT on the previous week. That market will be hoping for that trend to continue.

The market is also keeping an eye on developments between Russia and Turkey following the shooting down of a Russian jet that had allegedly violated Turkey's airspace on Tuesday. Turkey are a huge buyer of Russian wheat and energy, and as we know President Putin is not one to take these things lying down.

24 November 2015 | EU Reports
24/11/15 -- EU grains closed mixed with Jan 16 London wheat up GBP0.05/tonne at GBP113.80/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat down EUR1.25/tonne to EUR176.00/tonne, Jan 16 corn unchanged at EUR167.50/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed EUR2.50/tonne higher to EUR377.00/tonne.

The market appears to be treading water, with fresh news thin on the ground.

Ukraine said that winter grains there are 90% planted on 6.64 million ha versus 7.65 million ha this time a year ago.

Wheat is said to be 90% sown on 5.63 million ha, and barley 83% done on 864k ha.

The Ukraine winter rapeseed crop is only planted on 79% of the original government forecast at a surely over 648k ha.

The Ukraine 2015 grain harvest now stands at just over 59 MMT off 98% of the planned area. The corn harvest is now 93% done on 3.82 million ha for a crop of 21.19 MMT to date.

Russia said that it's 2015 harvest is now 99% complete at 108.1 MMT in bunker weight. The ongoing corn harvest is now 88.5% done at 12.4 MMT.

Russian plantings for the 2016 harvest remain stalled at 16.3 million ha, or 95.2% of the government's aim, versus 16.8 million ha this time a year ago.

Algeria are tendering for 75,000 MT of optional origin feed barley for December shipment.

Oil World said that the EU had imported 7.17 MMT of oilmeals in the final quarter of 2014/15, up from 6.55 MMT a year previously. That brings the total 2014/15 oilmeal imports to 27.14 MMT versus 26.61 MMT in 2013/14.

Soymeal accounted for almost 77% (20.86 MMT) of 2014/15 imports.

Oil World also said that the EU 2015 sunflower crop would fall to a 3-year low of 7.76 MMT, down 13% on a year ago.

23 November 2015 | EU Reports
23/11/15 -- EU grains began the week mixed. Rapeseed was the weakest of the bunch today following a poor beginning from Chicago soybeans.

At the close, new front month Jan 16 London wheat was down GBP0.45/tonne at GBP113.75/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was up EUR1.00/tonne at EUR177.25/tonne, Jan 16 Paris corn was EUR0.50/tonne higher at EUR167.50/tonne, whilst Feb 16 Paris rapeseed fell EUR2.50/tonne to EUR374.25/tonne.

Chicago soybeans fell to a 6-year low in overnight trade following the news that opposition candidate Mauricio Macri won the weekend's presidential election run-off in Argentina. Whilst not unexpected, reports that a potential devaluation of the Argentine peso by as much as 35% sparked ideas that heavy farmer selling from the South American country could be imminent.

A Bloomberg report suggested that Argentine growers have amassed as much as a huge 22 MMT hoard to soybeans as a hedge against inflation and the falling value of the peso - around one-third of last season’s record crop.

Much of those stockpiles could now come onto the market in the months ahead, along with smaller but still significant volumes of corn and wheat, it is thought. In addition, wheat production could soon return to the halcyon days of production in the 15-17 MMT range, a regular feature of the "noughties" when Argentina was one of the leading wheat exporters in the world.

The Argentine situation just adds to the whole bearish vibe reverberating around the market at the moment.

In other news, MARS said in their monthly report that "temperatures from the end of October until mid-November were well above average across most of Europe, and the highest in our records (since 1975) for the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries. Such temperatures are beneficial to the development of the emerged winter crops."

"Conditions improved in Poland, Ukraine and Russia, where beneficial rains and higher temperatures provided relief from the difficulties reported in the previous Bulletin. The preceding unfavourable germination conditions may yet have a knock-on effect on next year’s yields, depending on the winter and spring conditions to come," they added.

As far as winter wheat goes, that crop has gone in under generally favourable conditions in the leading EU producing nations.

In France "conditions have been predominantly good, allowing for slightly advanced sowing in all main producing areas; the sowing campaign has practically finished now." In Germany "sowing activities experienced many rain-induced interruptions in mid-October, but were completed with no problems at the beginning of November," they said.

At home in the UK meanwhile "sowing activities progressed well, and were practically completed in October, thanks to the drier than-usual autumn weather conditions," they added.

For rapeseed "the main EU-28 producers of rapeseed (Germany, France, and the UK, but excluding Poland) experienced favourable weather conditions around sowing and emergence," they said. For Poland though "sowing and emergence occurred under very complicated conditions. The persistent of dry conditions in August delayed sowing activities by several weeks. Farmers were eventually able to sow thanks to some rainfall in northern regions, but it was insufficient to replenish soil water reserves. Consequently, seeds germinated under unfavourable conditions. This made rapeseed plants more vulnerable to the low temperatures experienced in large parts of northern Europe in October, leading to poor crop establishment," they noted.

Less than ideal conditions were observed in Ukraine, although recent improved rains and above average temperatures may have improved conditions "some losses are likely for winter wheat, winter barley and rapeseed," they said. A very similar situation also occurred in the southern half of Russia too, they added.

Reuters reported of a 50,000 MT vessel loading wheat at the leading French export hub of Rouen bound for Indonesia - the first such shipment since 2009. That adds a bit of confidence to the market following news late last week of wheat loading at the southern port of Fos-sur-Mer bound for another "unusual" French home - Lebanon.

22 November 2015 | EU Reports
20/11/15 -- EU grains closed narrowly mixed on the day and for the week.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP0.50/tonne at GBP112.35/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat fell EUR0.25/tonne lower to EUR176.25/tonne, Jan 16 corn was EUR1.25/tonne easier at EUR167.00/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed gained EUR0.50/tonne to EUR377.00/tonne.

For the week, London wheat fell GBP0.20/tonne, Paris wheat was EUR0.75/tonne lower, corn was a euro higher and rapeseed gained EUR4.50/tonne.

Brussels confirmed that they'd released 636 TMT worth of EU soft wheat export licences this past week, up 58% on 401 TMT a week ago, and the largest weekly volume of the campaign so far.

Even so cumulative season to date licences still lag the pace of a year ago by 30%. Barley export licences were issued for 126 TMT, taking the season to date total to 4.48 MMT, some 24% up compared with 12 month ago.

Corn import licences this week totalled 314 TMT taking the season to date total to 3.9 MMT, up 39% versus 2.8 MMT this time last year.

Reuters report on a rare cargo of French wheat loading at the southern French port of Fos-sur-Mer bound for Lebanon, suggesting that cheap French prices are finally allowing their wheat to make inroads to some more exotic destinations.

Certainly euro weakness looks like continuing to help that cause.

The global balance sheet though continues to paint a picture of plentiful wheat supplies in 2015/16, and a more than ample carryout. Plantings for next year already look like being little changed, despite current low prices.

The IGC yesterday said that incorporating assumptions for spring wheat plantings and the next southern hemisphere crops, the world harvested area in 2016 is projected at 221.8 million ha, down less than 1% year on year.

Earlier in the week, Strategie Grains forecast the EU wheat area to decline just 1% saying that "soft wheat maintains a good acreage...because of the good conditions for wheat sowings, and poor conditions for rapeseed."

In the UK, the HGCA are pencilling in a "static" wheat area, a 4% decline in winter barley and a 10% increase in spring barley sowings.

If we guess that yields in 2016 possibly won't be able to achieve the bumper levels experienced this year, then EU wheat and barley production in 2016 should fall. Any decline however will likely be at least tempered, if not entirely eradicated, by potentially exceptionally large carryover stocks at the end of the current season.

The USDA currently has EU 2015/16 wheat ending stocks at 16.34 MMT, a 22.7% increase versus the end of last season - and that assumes that we can reach their ambitious export target this campaign of a reduction over 2014/15 of less than 7%.

We also need to consider that EU corn production is likely to recover significantly in 2016.

On the international tender front, Tunisia bought 125,000 MT of soft wheat for Dec/Feb shipment, along with 92,000 MT of durum for Feb/Apr and 50,000 MT of feed barley for January. All of optional origin. France should get a look in on supplying the majority of that.

FranceAgriMer said that the French winter wheat crop is now 98% sown, along with 100% of the anticipated winter barley area also now in. The 2015 French corn harvest is said to be 97% complete.

French winter wheat is rated 97% good to very good, up a point on a week ago and 3 points ahead of this time last year. The proportion of the crop rated in the top "very good" category is 36% versus 34% a week ago and 27% this time last year.

The unusually mild November that we've seen so far across much of Europe is finally set to come to an abrupt end this weekend. Generally however crops appear well established and in good shape heading into winter dormancy.

19 November 2015 | EU Reports
19/11/15 -- EU grains closed mostly a touch higher.

At the finish, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP0.30/tonne at GBP111.85/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat was unchanged at EUR176.50/tonne, Jan 16 corn was up EUR1.50/tonne EUR168.25/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed was EUR0.25/tonne higher to EUR376.00/tonne.

Strategie Grains estimated the 2015 EU soft wheat crop at a record 149.8 MMT, up 300,000 MT from a previous estimate of 149.5 MMT. They also increased their export estimate for 2015/16 by similar volume to 26.8 MMT, although that's 17.5% below last season's record 32.5 MMT.

They estimated 2015/16 EU soft wheat usage in feed at 54.5 MMT, down 1.5 MMT from a previous estimate of 56.0 MMT.

This year's EU corn crop was pegged at 57.3 MMT versus a previous estimate of 57.1 MMT, and the EU barley crop was placed at 60.5 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate.

Looking ahead, and in common with others, the French analysts see soft wheat plantings for the 2016 harvest barley changed at 29.3 million ha - down just 1% year-on-year. "Soft wheat maintains a good acreage...because of the good conditions for wheat sowings, and poor conditions for rapeseed," they said.

In other news, the Ukraine Ag Ministry said that they had agreed with traders to limit wheat exports in 2015/16 to 16.6 MMT. "The current size of the cap is unlikely to cause major concern as it is above both total season exports in recent years and current forecasts for 2015/16 exports," said the HGCA.

Ukraine's wheat exports to the end of the first week of November were 7.96 MMT, according to their Ag Ministry.

Ukraine's 2015 grain harvest now totals 58.7 MMT off 98% of the planned area, and should total 60 MMT at the finish, say the Ministry. The 2014 harvest was a record 63.8 MMT.

Winter plantings in Ukraine are reported at 89% complete on 6.6 million ha. Wheat is said to be 91% sown and barley 82% done. Those figures don't include winter rapeseed, said to be still only 79% sown on 647k ha.

The Russian grain harvest is said to be 98.9% done at 107.9 MMT in bunker weight. The corn harvest is 87% complete at 12.2 MMT.

Russian winter plantings are said to now be done on 16.3 million ha, or 95.1% of the government's target.

18 November 2015 | EU Reports
18/11/15 -- It was another quiet and relatively directionless day for the EU grains market. London wheat is managing to just about hold above GBP110.00/tonne, and Paris wheat doing likewise a touch better than EUR175.00/tonne.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.05/tonne at GBP111.55/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was up EUR1.25/tonne at EUR176.50/tonne, Jan 16 Paris corn was EUR0.75/tonne weaker at EUR166.75/tonne, whilst Feb 16 Paris rapeseed fell EUR0.75/tonne to EUR376.25/tonne.

Forecast record world wheat, corn and soybean stocks at the end of 2015/16 hardly read bullish. The IGC will update us with their forecasts for these tomorrow, which might yet provide the market with another kick lower.

The French Ministry estimate the 2015 wheat crop there at just under 41 MMT, a new record and 9% higher than that of a year ago, helped by better yields and increased plantings.

The French barley crop is seen 6% higher at 12.43 MMT, but corn production will drop 27% to 13.39 MMT, they added.

Russia's corn harvest is now said to be 86.9% complete at 12.2 MMT, with yields this year averaging 5.15 MT/ha versus 4.54 MT/ha a year ago.

Russian winter planting works for the 2016 harvest are said to be finished on 16.3 million ha, slightly more than 95% of the anticipated Ag Ministry forecast and 400k ha less than had been planted this time a year ago. Nevertheless, a reasonably favourable weather outlook for the next couple of weeks means that the Ag Minister still sees final plantings reaching 17.1 million ha.

Russia's grain exports so far this calendar year (Jan 1 - Nov 13) are 29.89 MMT, including 17.99 MMT of wheat. Marketing year grain exports (Jul 1 2015 to Jun 30 2016) are seen reaching 30 MMT. Exports might reach 35-40 MMT by 2020, according to the Russian Ag Minister.

Israel are tendering for 80,000 MT of optional origin corn and 30,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat for Jan/Feb shipment. Jordan are in the market for 100,000 MT each of optional origin wheat and barley or Feb-Apr shipment.

Nov 16 London wheat continues to offer a premium of around GBP14.00/tonne to the nearby old crop Nov 15 contract, and the far forward Nov 17 adds a further GBP7.00/tonne or so, for an overall additional GBP21/tonne extra compared to the current front month.

Do these differentials provide something of an opportunity in a market that seems almost devoid of any if you are a UK cereal grower?

One thing worth noting is that back on Jul 1, the first day of the 2015/16 marketing year, the premium on offer for Nov 16 was only GBP3.95/tonne. Nov 17 didn't trade until Jul 8 this year, but when it did that contract was only paying a GBP7.40/tonne premium to Nov 15.

Both these differentials have therefore widened considerably in the last 4 months. In fact the Nov 15-Nov 16 spread is 350% (based on tonight's close) of what it was as recently as Jul 1, and the Nov 15-Nov 17 spread has increased to more than 280% of what was on offer on Jul 8.

18 November 2015 | EU Reports
17/11/15 -- EU grains closed mixed. French markets traded mostly a bit higher following a renewed bout of euro weakness.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.65/tonne at GBP111.60/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat fell EUR0.75/tonne lower to EUR175.25/tonne, Jan 16 corn was EUR0.25/tonne firmer at EUR167.50/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed jumped EUR5.25/tonne to EUR377.00/tonne.

The pound rose to 1.43 versus the single currency, and now seems to be setting its sights on a test of the 2015 high of 1.44 - a push above that would see the UK currency at its best level against the euro in more than 8 years.

The euro also fell to around 1.0650 against the US dollar today, close to the 2015 low of around 1.05, which itself was a 12-year low.

The outlook for further euro weakness in the months ahead is one of the few bullish straws that French wheat has to grasp at in the current market. It should certainly aid export demand going forward, but we've seen little hard evidence of this theory being turned into practise too much so far this season with EU soft wheat export licences currently down 31% year-on-year.

News today that French silo operator Socomac had been forced to close their Rouen facility for the intake of wheat - following the lead of Senalia (and also Dunkirk-based Nord Cereales) last week - due to slack export demand, still leans bearish.

France still has a record wheat crop to place this season of course, and competition from Russia in particular remains fierce even if Ukraine now seems to be concentrating its efforts more on corn. Over 70% of Ukraine's grain exports via seaports last week were corn

The Ukraine Stats Office said that domestic grain stocks in commercial hands were up 60% as of Nov 1 at 31.7 MMT, including 14.4 MMT of wheat, 2.6 MMT of barley and 12.9 MMT of corn. Harvesting of the latter crop is now winding down and was 90% done as of yesterday.

Live concerns remain about the prospects for Ukraine's 2016 winter-sown crops. Winter wheat plantings are only 90% complete on 5.6 million ha, with barley sowings 82% done and the winter OSR area is only sown on 79% of the government's original forecast.

UkrAgroConsult have cut their forecast for the 2016 Ukraine wheat crop from 19 MMT previously to only 17.5 MMT - that would be the lowest since 2012. Output this year was said to be 27.3 MMT by the State Stats Service, so if correct this would be a drop of nearly 36%.

Separately, Agritel said that 36% of Ukraine's winter grain plantings have still yet to emerge due to earlier dryness and late sowings.

Russia said that its 2015 total grain harvest was 98.9% complete at 107.8 MMT in bunker weight. The corn harvest is 86.6% finished at 12.2 MMT. The Russian Ag Minister said that the country would bring in a clean weight grain harvest in excess of 102 MMT this year versus 105.3 MMT a year ago.

He forecasts total winter grain plantings for the 2016 harvest at 17.1 million ha, similar to a year ago, although only 16.3 million ha of that has been sown so far.

At home, the HGCA said that the UK OSR area for the 2016 harvest would fall 14% to 565k ha - the lowest seeded area since 2009. "The Early Bird Survey results are pointing to a static wheat area and the winter barley area is expected to decline marginally by 4%. The spring barley area, however, is anticipated to continue its growth and is expected 10% higher, year on year, at 727K ha," they said. The latter would mark the largest UK spring barley area since 2009 as the crop enjoys something of a renaissance.

17 November 2015 | EU Reports
16/11/15 -- EU grains closed mixed but slid mostly lower on the day. Fresh news was scarce, although concerns over Friday's late terrorist attacks in Paris seemed to cause some market unease and foster a bit more of a "risk-off" mentality.

At the finish, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.30/tonne at GBP112.25/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat was EUR1.00/tonne lower at EUR176.00/tonne, Jan 16 corn was up EUR1.25/tonne EUR167.25/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed was down EUR0.75/tonne to EUR371.75/tonne.

Ukraine said that their 2015 grain harvest was 97% complete at 58.2 MMT. The State Stats Service says that this includes 27.3 MMT of wheat and 8.6 MMT of barley. The corn harvest is now reported at 90% complete on 3.7 million ha for a crop of 20.3 MMT so far.

The Ukraine Ag Ministry predict a final grain harvest of 59.5 MMT, including final corn production of 24.5 MMT. Total 2015/16 grain exports are forecast at a record 36.8 MMT.

The Ministry say that final rapeseed production in the country this year was 1.77 MMT, and that the soybean and sunflower harvests are just about complete at 3.7 MMT and 10.95 MMT respectively.

APK Inform reported that Ukraine seaports shipped out 1.027 MMT of grains last week, up from 715.2 TMT the previous week. Last week's exports included 305 TMT of wheat, 722.6 TMT of corn and 30 TMT of barley. Shipments of the latter now seem close to finished for the season.

Ukraine's top export home last week was Egypt (183.7 TMT) followed by Spain (115.3 TMT).

Russia's seaports weren't as busy as Ukraine's last week, shipping out 563.7 TMT of grains, down from 638.1 TMT the previous week. That included 472.4 TMT of wheat, 56.7 TMT of corn and 34.6 TMT of barley.

Russia's Jul 1 - Nov 11 grain exports are down 9.5% year-on-year at 14.7 MMT, of which more than 76% (11.23 MMT) is wheat.

The Russian 2015 corn harvest is said to be now 86.6% complete at 12.2 MMT.

Russian winter grain plantings for the 2016 harvest are reported at more than 95% complete on 16.3 million ha (versus 16.7 million a year ago. Ukraine winter plantings are said to be 89% complete on 6.6 million ha, 1 million less than this time last year.

The 15-day forecast for both countries is generally wetter and warmer than normal.

14 November 2015 | EU Reports
13/11/15 -- It was another bad day for the EU grains market, red across the board at the close, and with all showing significant losses for the week as well.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.35/tonne at GBP112.55/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was down EUR2.25/tonne at EUR177.00/tonne, Jan 16 Paris corn was EUR1.00/tonne weaker at EUR166.00/tonne, whilst Feb 16 Paris rapeseed fell EUR2.25/tonne to EUR372.50/tonne.

For the week that puts London wheat GBP2.45/tonne lower, with Paris wheat down EUR8.75/tonne, corn EUR6.00/tonne easier and rapeseed EUR9.25/tonne easier.

For wheat certainly the story is one of bumper global production (record in fact for a third year in succession) and the prospect for output at similar levels in 2016, only modest demand, fierce competition and rising stocks.

"2015/16 French soft wheat closing stocks could be more than double last year’s figure and the highest since 1999/00, according to the latest supply and demand estimates published by FranceAgriMer yesterday," note the HGCA today.

Total EU soft wheat export licenses to date meanwhile are 31% below year ago levels, even though the USDA only forecast total wheat exports in 2015/16 to decline 6.8% year-on-year.

Euro weakness should help, but there's already a lot of lost ground to make up, and there's been a marked lack of evidence that this has helped that much so far this season.

Wheat carryover stocks at the end of 2015/16 therefore look like being rather high. The USDA currently has these at 16.34 MMT, a 22.7% increase versus the end of last season - and that assumes that we can reach their ambitious export target this campaign.

As far as global wheat plantings for the 2016 harvest go, the IGC recently forecast these at 221.0 million ha, down only marginally on 222.2 million a year ago, and slightly above the recent 5-year average.

For sure there are concerns surrounding the health of newly planted winter wheat in Russia and Ukraine in particular, but whether these possible shortfalls will ultimately prove to be a "game changer" for the global wheat market is far from certain.

UkrAgroConsult forecast the 2016 Ukrainian wheat harvest at 19 MMT in their first tentative peek into next year. That's down sharply from around 26.5-27.0 MMT this year, although this production loss could be tempered by an increase in corn output in Ukraine next year due to a rise in spring plantings and better yields than have been achieved this year.

This situation could also be replicated in Russia. IKAR recently forecast their 2016 grain crop at 96-101 MMT, without giving an individual crop breakdown. That's likely to consist of a wheat shortfall, being partially compensated for by a rise in corn production also.

This assumes of course fair spring and summer growing conditions in the FSU, but at this early stage we can't really factor in anything else.

In Europe, winter wheat plantings are winding down. FranceAgriMer say that the French crop was 95% sown as of Monday, and that 97% of the crop is rated good to very good - so there's no early cause for concern there in Europe's largest producing nation.

There are reports of one or two areas of dryness concern in Europe - parts of Poland for example - but crops here seem largely well established ahead of winter. The near GBP14.00/tonne premium currently on offer for Nov 16 London wheat over the front month Nov 15 looks tempting as it represents almost 12.5% gain. That's also a lot better than a less than 7% premium on offer in Paris for Dec 16 wheat over the Dec 15 market.

13 November 2015 | EU Reports
12/11/15 -- EU grains closed mostly a touch lower. Yesterday's partial victory for French wheat in the second GASC tender of the week offers some hope that EU exports might finally be starting to pick up, but there's already a lot of lost ground to make up.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.10/tonne at GBP112.90/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat was EUR2.25/tonne lower at EUR179.25/tonne, Jan 16 corn was EUR0.50/tonne easier at EUR167.00/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed fell a euro to EUR374.75/tonne.

There are signs that last week's mini-wobble for sterling against the euro may only have been temporary. The pound hit 1.42 against the single currency today before falling back a little, but a test of the 1.43-1.44 region could be on the cards over the coming weeks it is thought.

That should facilitate a pick up in euro-priced wheat exports into the second half of the season, although these are currently well behind where they were a year ago.

Brussels announced that they'd issued 401 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week, up by more than a third from slightly less than 300 TMT a week ago. Still, the cumulative season-to-date total still lags the pace of a year ago by 31% - and the USDA this week suggested that figure would be less than -7% come the end of the season.

Highlighting the concern over exports, FranceAgriMer today added 400,000 MT to their forecast for French soft wheat ending stocks this season to 5.2 MMT, more than double what they were at the end of 2014/15.

FranceAgriMer estimated the country's 2015/16 barley stocks at 2.0 MMT versus a previous estimate of 1.7 MMT. They see corn carryout unchanged from previously at 2.3 MMT.

Of course, if euro weakness does continue into at least the first half/quarter of 2016 as many analysts are predicting, then it still won't help UK wheat exports- quite the opposite in fact.

"Unfortunately, the UK is suffering from both poor trade progress to both EU and non-EU countries and indeed was a net importer of wheat for the first quarter (Jul-Sep) of 2015/16. In July-October 2014, the UK had exported around 135 TMT of wheat to North Africa plus 26 TMT to the US. This season, non-EU export licenses issued to the UK were less than 6 TMT by end-October, indicating a far more restricted non-EU export campaign to date," note the HGCA.

Jordan bought 100,000 MT of optional origin wheat for January shipment and are tendering for a similar volume of option origin barley for April shipment. The results of an Algerian wheat tender for January shipment are imminent.

Ukraine weather conditions meanwhile are improving, although it is now very late in the day for winter grains it has to be said. Temperatures are forecast as much as 5C above normal for the time of year across the next 14 days, and rains are also expected. This should benefit crops ahead of dormancy, although an estimated 30% of the winter wheat sown area has yet to emerge, according to Agritel.

The Ukraine Ag Ministry said that the country's 2015 corn harvest now stands at 20.27 MMT off 89% of the planned area. That takes this year's total grain harvest to 58.15 MMT versus 60.37 MMT this time a year ago.

Russia's corn harvest is said to be 85.2% complete at 11.9 MMT. Winter grain plantings there are 400,000 ha behind last year's pace at 16.2 million ha.

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