01 March 2015 | Online since 2003



Traders debate implications for grain after Russian ban


EU grains closed mixed, but with wheat mostly lower, in light consolidation following yesterday's decent gains.
The day finished with Nov 14 London wheat down GBP1.00/tonne at GBP125.00tonne, Nov 14 Paris wheat ended EUR2.00/tonne lower at EUR176.25/tonne, Nov 14 Paris corn was p EUR1.25/tonne at EUR156.50/tonne, whilst Nov 14 Paris rapeseed was up EUR1.25/tonne at EUR327.00/tonne.

It was announced that both delivery points against the Paris milling wheat contract had agreed on the minimum specification that they would accept against the 2014 crop. Minimum protein levels of 10.5% look easily achievable, although a minimum hagberg level of 220 does not. There was however a "rider" attached that hagbergs down to 170 would be allowed, albeit at an allowance,

Russian Premier Putin is expected to make an "urgent announcement" to the nation at 20.30 Moscow time. The trade is anxious as to what that might entail.

Traders are already debating what the implications are for the grain trade of the Russian decision to ban the import of various meat and agricultural products from Europe, the US and others. It may certainly mean that less Russian wheat is available on the export market, as more could need to be fed locally.

It could also mean a reduction in demand for feed in some countries. Russia is the second largest global buyer of US chicken for example. It could also mean that at least some of that demand is simply switched elsewhere eg. Brazil.

Meanwhile, Rusagrotrans raised their forecast for the Russian 2014 grain crop from 98.2-99.9 MMT to 100.9-103.3 MMT. Production in 2013 was 92.4 MMT according to the Ag Ministry.

The Russian Ag Ministry said that the country had harvested 55.8 MMT of grains to date, off only 36.2% of the planned area. Yields were said to be up almost 20% at 3.3 MT/ha.

That total includes 41.4 MMT of wheat off 45.4% of the anticipated area, along with 8.7 MMT of barley off 31.6% of plan. If these figures are accurate then the 2014 Russian harvest could ultimately prove to be much higher than current estimates even if yields decline as the harvest progresses into less productive areas and lower yielding spring wheat.

Ukraine said that they'd exported 2.534 MMT of grains so far this season, including over 1.14 MMT of barley and in excess of 1 MMT of wheat.

APK Inform said that 63% of this year's Ukraine wheat harvest was of milling standard, down from 70% a year ago.

They added that this year's wheat harvest had suffered badly from high levels of fusarium due to a lack of adequate spraying because of a general lack of credit, heightened by the wet growing season.

Tunisia said that their 2014 grain harvest was already past the 1 MMT mark (to Jul 31), and that they expected a 2014 crop of around 3.2 MMT this year, up almost 150% on last year's drought hit crop of only 1.3 MMT.

Oil World forecast the EU-28 2014 rapeseed crop at a new record 23.1 MMT, up 1.9 MMT on last year and higher even than Strategie Grains' recent estimate of 22.9 MMT.

As the EU-28 wheat harvest picks up, so too are exports. Brussels granted 532 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week, the busiest week so far, taking the season to date total to 1.8 MMT. They also issued 131 TMT worth of barley export licences, taking the 2014/15 total so far to 1 MMT.

Corn imports continue to more or less match the pace of wheat exports, with 490 TMT of corn import licences granted this week. The season to date total is now 1.6 MMT.

The EU also issued 48,950 MT of duty free wheat import licences to Ukraine under the existing preferential deal that permits 950 TMT of Ukraine wheat to enter the bloc tariff free. The exemption period runs to Oct 31. To date 426 TMT worth of licences have been issued.

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