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31 August 2012 08:47:37 |Arable,Crops and Cereals,Market Reports,News

Isaac may delay harvests; EU providing 'real nervousness' in markets

Jonathan Lane, Gleadell’s trading manager, comments on grain markets:
The expected onslaught from hurricane Isaac, while potentially dumping much needed moisture onto the US wheat areas prior to winter sowing, is also seen increasing the likelihood of delaying corn and soybean harvests. US markets also gained strength on the assumption that the meeting tomorrow of Russian ministers to discuss the 2012 grain crop, will adopt ‘some type’ of grain export restriction, without declaring an ‘all-out ban’.
EU markets also traded higher, supported by growing yield concerns in Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine, and the potential of lower export availability.
French and German wheat harvests are now winding down, with French analysts reporting ‘good surprises in less favourable areas’, over quality and yield. In Germany, the overall crop seems to be satisfactory and much better than was feared only a few weeks ago. Across continental Europe, everyone has milling wheat – and milling premiums are disappearing at a rapid rate of knots. Even the Danes are supplying milling wheat specs against feed wheat contracts.
However, the UK remains depressingly bogged down with heavy rains, heightening quality concerns. It has to be hoped that the forecast of ten days of good weather will materialise and allow real progress to me made. The HGCA estimates the UK harvest 40% complete, but with very little harvest activity in the west and north. UK millers, hit by weather delays and quality issues, have stepped up purchases of imported grain from France, Germany, Denmark and further afield – and this will put a cap on UK domestic milling premiums.
With the harvest far from over, specific weight seems to be the main quality issue, leaving most domestic users reviewing their intake criteria and this, in turn, will determine the price. Despite a lower UK crop, we will still produce an exportable surplus and, in many regions, this is struggling to meet a minimum of 72kg/hl. Bushel weights below 72kg, in the export market, are heavily discounted below the nominal 72kg market but, unless quality is well below 68kg, it will find a buyer at some stage.
Willie Wright, Gleadell's Oilseed Trader, comments on the markets:
Soybeans and soybean meal have rallied to new contract highs once more. November soybeans touched $17.60 earlier in the week with signs of weakening at this time. Heavy rains are now hitting the US Midwest, which will do nothing to help the soybean or corn crop at this stage. Long soybean specs continue to sit tight as we enter the US harvest period, normally specs would sit out the harvest period and re-enter post-harvest once yield and quality has been established.
The UK rapeseed harvest is all but completed, although there is still plenty to harvest north of the border. Quality and yields have remained at the lower end of expectations, yields are being reported at around 3.4t/ha, with many reports of oil content running around 42.5%.
The UK crop looks set to come in at circa 2.45mln t, giving us an exportable surplus of around 500,000 tonnes for the season, much of this exportable surplus will have moved in the July-August period, leaving the UK with little to offer the European market place post-Christmas.
On the plus side, prices remain firm with ex farm values sitting at £390/tonne for early September movement, and much better crush margins than were first anticipated. We are at the optimum drilling time for OSR through to 7th September, however, with a larger majority of hybrid varieties now being grown in the UK, drilling until 15th September shouldn’t be an issue! Harvest values for 2013 are trading around £350 ex farm.
The European economic market place continues to provide real nervousness in global markets, with the Catalonian region of Spain coming forward to ask for a 5 billion rescue package from the Spanish government. Growth in China remains a concern and, with oil prices firm and the prospect of higher food prices in the coming months, the economy doesn’t look set to take off at any time soon.


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