03 March 2015 | Online since 2003



London and Paris wheat 'starting to look weak'


EU grains closed mixed ahead of the release of today's important USDA WASDE report, which will give us a first glimpse into their take on crop production prospects around the globe for the 2014/15 marketing year.

May 14 London wheat ended down GBP2.25/tonne at GBP161.45/tonne, and new crop Nov 14 London wheat closed GBP0.80/tonne lower at GBP156.15/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.75/tonne easier at EUR207.25/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn fell EUR0.25/tonne to EUR184.25/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed was up EUR2.00/tonne to EUR359.00/tonne.

Both old crop London and Paris wheats are starting to look weak, and are coming down to meet new crop. May 14 Paris wheat goes off the board on Monday. For Paris wheat this was the lowest close on a front month in more than a month, and for London wheat it was the lowest since the early days of March.

For the week May 14 London wheat was GBP5.55/tonne lower, with the new crop Nov 14 easing a more modest GBP2.05/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed the week EUR8.00 lower than it began it. Jun 14 Paris corn showed little change, up half a euro, and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed was also barely changed - down a quarter.

An apparently more conciliatory take on Ukraine by Russia's President Putin has eased tensions in the Black Sea a little this week, although the situation there is far from resolved. As we saw just last weekend, things could look different again come Monday morning.

Spring planting and the export of the 2013 crop still goes on in Ukraine though, apparently relatively unhindered. The Ministry there said that the country has now exported a record 29.971 MMT of grains this season, including 18.791 MMT of it's record 2013 corn harvest, along with 8.572 MMT of wheat and 2.269 MMT of barley.

Spring grains have now been planted on 6.8 million hectares in Ukraine, which is 82% of the Ministry's target. That total includes just over 4 million ha of corn (79% of target). They've also sown 3.595 million ha of sunflower (83% of plan) and 1.103 million ha of soybeans (67% of target).

Crop conditions all around Europe continue to run at least 2 weeks ahead of normal. FranceAgriMer reported today that 18% of the French wheat crop is now heading, up from 6% a week ago and compared to only 1% this time last year. The differences between this year and last year are even more apparent in the French winter barley crop, which was 96% headed as of May 5, against 52% the previous week and only 10% at this point in 2013. They said that 55% of the spring barley crop is now displaying an ear of at least 1cm long, versus 21% last week and only 16% a year ago.

French corn planting is also advanced compared with last year at 83% done, versus 65% in 2013.

As far as crop conditions go, FranceAgriMer left the proportion of winter wheat rated good/very good unchanged from last week at 73% versus 66% a year ago. Winter barley good/excellent was also unchanged at 70% compared to 66% this time last year.

Late in the day the USDA estimated the EU wheat crop at just shy of 145 MMT this year, the highest in 6 years and the third highest on record. EU wheat exports for the current season were raised to 30 MMT, and were projected at 27.5 MMT in 2014/15. World wheat production will fall in 2014/15 from last season's record high 714 MMT to 697 MMT, although ending stocks will show a small increase to a more than ample 187.4 MMT, they said.

The USDA raised their projected 2013/14 EU corn imports by 1 MMT to 13 MMT, and interestingly see that level of imports holding through next season as well.The EU-28 corn crop in 2014/15 was seen almost identical to this season at 64.65 MMT. Corn consumption in the EU is seen rising from 74.5 MMT this season to a record 76 MMT in 2014/15.

EU barley production in 2014 was estimated 5% lower than last year at 55.6 MMT. Consumption in 2014/15 will decline 4% to 51.5 MMT, they estimated.

The 2014/15 EU rapeseed crop was forecast at 21.5 MMT, up 1.6%, from last year, 1.0 MMT above the 5-year average and only 0.1 MMT away from the 2009/10 record.

They forecast the 2014 UK wheat crop rebounding 27% from last season's poor production year to 15.15 MMT, using a planted area of 1.95 million hectares and an average yield estimate of an achievable 7.77 MT/ha. They see the UK barley crop down 19% at 5.75 MMT, courtesy of fall in plantings of a similar percentage. The UK oat crop is seen more than 31% lower at 660 TMT, again due to a similarly large fall in plantings. The UK rapeseed crop will climb 14% to 2.43 MMT, despite a small reduction in area, as yields bounce back to more "normal" levels of an average 3.44 MT/ha, they said.

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