Jonathan Lane, Gleadell’s trading manager, comments on grain markets:WheatThe market has been supported by rumours of China buying up to 1 mln mt of wheat from various origins. This rumour is not confirmed.
Sterling has been extremely volatile this week, as has the Euro. Economic conditions both here and in Euroland remain uncertain, currency has a large effect on both import and export parities.
There has been little further news regarding Russia’s import demand. Much of the tonnage is expected to come from Kazakhstan.The latest customs information shows UK exports in December totalled 35,130 mt, giving a season total to the end of December of 512,129 mt (of which Gleadell has shipped nearly 60pct). Imports of wheat in December totalled 305,584 mt, giving a season to date figure of 1.34mln mt. Also of note is the imported maize figure of 759,850 mt to the end of December, an increase of 300,000mt over the previous year, with much of this extra tonnage rumoured to be aimed at the bioethanol plants.
Wheat prices have been buffeted by wild currency moves worldwide and by rumours of Chinese buying, or the lack of it. In the EU the line-up of French vessels still looks sizeable but there are fears that France will not meet its export target and will have carry out stocks that are larger than previously anticipated. The debate about both the extent of plantings and therefore the size of the UK 2013 wheat crop has started in earnest, with potential crop sizes ranging between 10 mln t and 12.6 mln t.There is still some way to go till harvest with a lot of weather to be negotiated, therefore any estimate at this stage is at best a guesstimate. One thing that is becoming clear is that the UK will carry out over 2 mln mt of old crop wheat - a large number! This wheat is mostly of dubious quality and, in today’s terms, priced at £25 to £30 over new crop values, which makes carrying stock over to new crop financially unviable. This is not, on its own, at all supportive for old crop UK prices, and we still do need to export some of this tonnage between now and the end of June.Oilseed RapeMay13 matif rapeseed has gained around 10 euros this week tracking soybeans and canola higher. Soybeans have traded up towards the top of the recent range on Argentinian weather concerns, a lack of Argentinian farmer selling, logistical problems at Brazilian ports and renewed Chinese buying interest. At present the soybean market is trading within a range as we have a mixed picture of bullish and bearish factors.
The big driver in domestic UK prices this week has been the weakness of Sterling against the Euro following the release of the Bank of England minutes. They revealed a potential move towards more quantitative easing, taking the FX market by surprise and adding £6-7 on domestic prices in a very short space of time. This currency move enabled some farmers to achieve £400 ex farm, although the matif rapeseed contract remained fairly stable.
The European physical market is fairly quiet with Australian seed still trading into the EU at discounts to European seed.
The UK new crop market also remains quiet with farmers reluctant to sell forward with question marks over crop prospects.