03 March 2015 | Online since 2003



EU grains markets 'ended the day almost universally lower'


EU grains markets ended the day almost universally lower, in follow through trade after last night's bearish USDA stocks/acreage data.

The day finished with Jul 14 London wheat down GBP3.50/tonne at GBP135.50/tonne, and with new crop Nov 14 London wheat GBP1.50/tonne easier at GBP134.50/tonne. Nov 14 Paris wheat ended EUR1.50/tonne lower at EUR184.25/tonne, Aug 14 Paris corn was unchanged at EUR170.00/tonne, whilst Aug 14 Paris rapeseed fell EUR3.00/tonne to EUR340.25/tonne.

Nov 14 London wheat closed at a fresh contract lifetime low today, whilst Jul 14 closed at the lowest level for a front month since July 2010. Aug 14 Paris rapeseed also traded at the lowest levels seen on a front month for 4 years.

Aside from digesting the USDA numbers, fresh news was relatively thin on the ground. Harvest pressure remains, and so too does a seeming lack of spec money willing to participate, wooed away from the grain sector by the prospect of better returns elsewhere. The S&P 500 finished the Apr/Jun period with its best second quarter advance since 2009, whilst the DJIA is close to all-time highs set in June.

Meanwhile Chicago wheat prices slumped 19% in Q2 of 2014, with London wheat down 15% and Paris wheat tumbling 10%. The speculative money that briefly rushed into the wheat market in Q1 of 2014 following the Russian taking of Crimea, causing a sudden price spike, has now gone away. Will it ever return? I think that for sure it will, but right now when that will be is anybody's guess. Meanwhile the path of least resistance remains lower.

Consumers remain relaxed, and with prices tumbling like this who can blame them? The spectre of another season of cheap imported corn hangs over the market, with the EU expected to import almost as much in 2014/15 as it did in 2013/14. Production of corn in the EU this year is also forecast to rise, not to mention Europe having an anticipated 6-year high (and second largest on record) wheat crop of it's own.

Exports out of the FSU have been a constant thorn in the side in 2013/14, and are likely to remain so for the new season ahead. Ukraine are expecting a second highest grain crop ever, despite all their recent woes. Russia's harvest is also thought likely to be up on last year. Early yield reports out of both are encouraging.

Russian growers have harvested 3.5 MMT of grains off 954k hectares to date (2.1% of plan). Yields are said to be averaging 3.65 MT/ha so far, and increasing as growers get into some of their better looking crops. Wheat yields in Krasnodar are said to be 5.42 MT/ha, a 5.4% increase on a year ago.

Early Ukraine grain yields are reported to be 12% higher than a year ago at 2.79 MT/ha.

APK Inform report that Ukraine seaports exported 30.4 MMT of grains in 2013/14, up 38% on the previous season. That total includes 18.7 MMT of corn, 9.1 MMT of wheat and 2.6 MMT of corn.

The Russian Ag Ministry said that the country had exported 656 TMT of grains in the Jun 1-25 period, including 344 TMT of wheat, 172 TMT of barley and 127 TMT of corn.

That brings the nearly complete 2013/14 campaign total to 25.232 MMT, a 61.5% rise on a year previously. That total consists of 18.238 MMT of wheat, 4.046 MMT of corn and 2.672 MMT of barley plus a small amount of other grains such as rye and buckwheat.

Egypt tendered for wheat for Aug 11-20 delivery, buying three cargoes of Romanian and one of Russian origin. The price paid was said to be around the $252/tonne FOB mark, with around a further $10-11/tonne freight on top. That's very similar to the price paid for Aug 1-10 shipment last week.

Iraq are shopping for wheat for Oct/Dec delivery. Algeria are tendering for option origin barley for Oct/Nov shipment. Jordan bought 50,000 MT of optional origin barley for Dec shipment. Turkey bought 37,500 MT of milling wheat and 39,000 MT of feed barley, both of optional origin for Jul/Aug shipment.

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