CBOT Closing Comments


August soybeans closed at USD10.17, up 1 cent; August soybean meal closed at USD299.90, down USD0.30; August soybean oil closed at 39.07, up 17 points. Private exporters announced the sale of 175,500 MT of soybeans to China for 2010/11 delivery and also a further sale of 175,000 MT to "unknown" for 2010/11. This strong export interest looks likely to underpin the market for the remainder of 2010.


September corn closed at USD3.71 1/4, down 5 1/4 cents; Dec corn closed at USD3.84 1/2, down 5 3/4 cents. Corn was down around 24 cents for the week. Mostly favourable weather is expected to benefit the corn crop in the Midwest over the next two weeks. Iowa, the top corn state, has received nearly the same heavy rain as 1993 in June and July. Despite that corn potential this year is way better than 1993, say Martell Crop Projections.


Sep CBOT wheat closed at USD5.96 1/4, down 1/4 cent; Sep KCBT wheat closed at USD6.15, up 3 1/4 cents; Sep MGEX wheat closed at USD6.28 1/2, up 5 3/4 cents. Wheat was up between 9 to 17 cents for the week overall. The trade is still focusing on the hot and dry weather in Russia. Argy plantings are running well behind schedule at 79% complete versus 99% a year ago.

EU Grains Closing Comments

Nov London wheat closed GBP1.20 higher at GBP133.95/tonne; Nov Paris wheat ended up EUR1.00 at EUR179.75/tonne. On the week as a whole London wheat gained GBP4.95/tonne and Paris wheat EUR7.25/tonne

Fund money continues to flood into the market, with Paris wheat trading a record volume - in excess of 50,000 lots for the first time ever yesterday.

Perennial bears have also been overwhelmed by the sudden surge in wheat, forcing them to also exit the market, helping to drive prices higher.

Bullish news, such as that coming out of Russia, is immediately being seized upon to drive the market higher. Bearish news such as better than expected French/US yields is being largely ignored.

The last time we whipped ourselves up into such a frenzy was 2008, and that all ended in an enormous puddle of tears as I recall.

The German Farmers' Union DBV yesterday reported that German wheat yields this season would be down by 10-20%. They are Germans, and they're farmers, do I need to say anymore?

I'm not disputing that things are bad in Russia or Kazakhstan, but do they really warrant a global price increase of a third?

You Really Are Doing My Head In Now

Hose? Garden hoes? Oh, you mean letter O's. Erm, hang on *sobs and wipes away tears* no, there's no O's in it either. Now clear off the lot of you, or I'll call the internet police.

Bloody Hell Stop Emailing And Twittering Me Will You

Haven't you got better things to do? It's only been up there five minutes ago and I'm already inundated with requests as to which large grain merchant is going to be bidding £200/tonne for barley whilst simultaneously offering wheat at fifty quid next week.

It's simple, just get some firm offers/bids in hand based on a premium over the futures market will you?

How could a mulit-million pound big bad grain merchant do such a thing to a little cottage industry like me? I'm so upset I probably will have to turn to drink. Again. The danger with that though is who knows what I will decide to put on there after I've had a few? Where did I put that Roger Mellie Profanisaurus again? And stop asking for clues Phil, but no, there's no F in it.

My Faith In Human Kindness

Has been both shattered and restored in the same blinking day! Restoring it, and proving than not everybody needs to turn every single thing they do into an "earner", and that sometimes complete strangers will just do you a favour for the hell of it, is John Hollis of JT Hollis Farms Ltd. Clearly a top man. Thanks for the assistance John.

Now then, which large grain merchant was responsible for doing the shattering this morning then I hear you ask. Oh, that's an interesting one isn't it? The most disappointing thing about it is that I haven't really got the time to have a laugh at their expense this afternoon, that may have to wait until next week. It will be very funny when it happens though, especially on this market, so keep watching!

Which reminds me of the previous occasion that somebody "extracted the Michael" only to subsequently find that an advert for KW had suddenly popped up on their website as if by magic! I LOVE computers and the internet I do.

CBOT Closing Comments


August soybeans closed at USD10.16, up 3/4 cent; August soybean meal closed at USD300.20, down USD3.10; August soybean oil closed at 38.90, up 64 points. Private exporters announced the sale of 110,000 MT of soybeans to South Korea for 2010/11 delivery. In addition weekly export sales of 111,800 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 1,115,400 MT for delivery in 2010/11 were above trade estimates for sales of 550-950,000 MT. The Census Bureau monthly soybean crush came in below trade expectations at 129.17 million bushels. Argentina said it will impose new import tariffs on various Chinese goods, that will do little to aid it's soyoil export hopes to China.


September corn closed at USD3.76 1/2, down 3 1/4 cents; Dec corn closed at USD3.90 1/4, down 3 1/4 cents. An early rally in corn faded as the wheat market eased back. Crude oil was stronger as the US dollar lost significant ground, both were supportive to corn. Export sales this morning were a combined total of 1,155,000 MT for both marketing years, a bit above expectations for sales of 850,000 - 1 MMT. China took 58,700 MT of old crop and "unknown" accounted for 304,800 MT of new crop. China has purchased 1.19 MMT of US corn to date.


Sep CBOT Wheat closed at USD5.96 1/2, up 8 1/4 cents; Sep KCBT wheat closed at USD6.11 3/4, up 10 1/4 cents; September MGEX wheat closed at USD6.22 3/4, up 9 1/4 cents. Futures closed higher but finished well off the day’s highs. Sharply higher EU futures got wheat off to a strong start as Black Sea production problems remain to the forefront. Weekly export sales of 382,100 MT were in line with expectations. Funds were estimated to have purchased 6,000 contracts of wheat in Chicago and were also noted buyers in Kansas. Russia increased the size of their crop area ruined by drought to 10 million ha.

EU Grains Closing Comments

Nov London wheat closed GBP3.25 higher at GBP132.75/tonne; Nov Paris wheat ended up EUR3.75 at EUR178.75/tonne. Futures posted significant gains but also closed below session highs.

Nov Paris corn finished EUR4.50 higher at EUR168.25/tonne; Nov Paris rapeseed advanced EUR3 to EUR367.75/tonne; Nov Paris malting barley closed up EUR0.75 at EUR186.75/tonne.

Nov London wheat rose to a fresh 13 month high of GBP137/tonne at one point as "smart investment money" continues to flow into the market. Although end-users are largely still sitting on their hands, they are becoming rather spooked to say the least by the swiftness and magnitude of this recent price spike.

More imminent production cuts look likely to be on the cards for Russia, whilst output in Kazakhstan may well also fall below current estimates.

The German Farmers' Union Deutscher Bauernverband (DBV) helped to keep the pot boiling by saying that wheat yields there are likely to be 10-20% down on last year.

The Ukraine Ministry forecast 2010/11 wheat exports 27% lower than last season at only 6.7 MMT.

Algeria bought 300,000 MT of option origin wheat yesterday, which is likely to be fulfilled by French grain. Although our mates Egypt bought Russian wheat again this week, it was at least almost USD50 up in price on a few short weeks ago. They may find that the Russian (and Kazakh) shops are shut come the new year.

So there you have it, lots of bullish news to get your teeth into.

Normally shy and reticent UK farmers are apparently falling over themselves to sell wheat at these prices, and I don't blame them. Pretty much the only buyers are the City boys who probably haven't even started shaving yet, or kissed a girl, let alone seen a field of wheat.

It has to be worth noting that the differential between front month August Paris wheat and November finished at almost EUR22/tonne tonight. That's rather a large differential for only three months isn't it? The two month difference between Nov and Jan is just EUR1.25/tonne, that's a very striking disparity.

The fresh-faced young batty boys with the braces aren't buying August you see, that's far too nearby for comfort. They prefer the safety zone of four months away November, for now. Tarquin and his mates will start shaking like a flatpack MFI wardrobe in a force nine gale as November approaches however. After all they don't want 100,000 MT of wheat turning up at Canary Wharf do they?

Help Wanted

Has anyone got a spreadsheet of the daily front month closes for London wheat going back several years, as many as possible in fact?

A virtual coconut to anyone who can assist.


USDA Weekly Export Sales

The USDA's weekly export sales report for the period July 9-15:


Net sales 382,100 MT for the 2010/11 marketing year were in line with expectations for sales of 350-450,000 MT. Exports for the week were 544,700 MT.


Net sales of 614,100 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 540,900 MT for delivery in 2010/11 came in a bit above expectations for sales of 850k-1 MMT. China took 58,700 MT of old crop and "unknown" accounted for 304,800 MT of new crop. Actual exports were 948,400 MT.


Net sales of 111,800 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 1,115,400 MT for delivery in 2010/11 were above trade estimates for sales of 550-950,000 MT. Unknown destinations (578,000 MT) and China (341,000 MT) took the bulk of the new crop. Actual exports this week came in at 274,800 MT, with China taking 132,000 MT.

Brazil To Plant Record Soybean Area For 2011

In their first estimate of Brazilian soybean plantings for 2011, Ag Rural are predicting a record area will be given over to the oilseed. They are calling for 24 million hectares to be planted to soybeans, half a million up on last year, or an increase on just over 2%.

Some of those extra acres will come from corn, encouraged by significantly higher returns from soybeans as CBOT hovers around USD10/bushel.

They haven't put a figure on production yet, although there is some trade talk of a crop in excess of 70 MMT if everything comes together and they are able to replicate the bumper yields of 2010.

At this early stage that's a big ask, especially with La Nina forming in the Pacific Basin. This is a big concern this year, La Nina's last appearance in 2007/08 didn't cause much disruption, but crucially that episode only developed late in the growing season. This La Nina is developing now, before soybean planting has even begun.

La Nina tends to delay the arrival of rains in Central and Southern Brazil, that could hold back plantings, potentially cutting yields.

German Harvest Latest

The German Farmers' Union Deutscher Bauernverband (DBV) say that wheat yields are likely to be 10-20% down on last year, although harvesting of this season's 3.25 million hectares has only just begun.

The 2010 harvest is marked by extreme weather events, they say. The long snowy winter and the continued wet and cold weather in April, delayed crops. Since mid-June, high temperatures and prolonged drought have now accelerated the harvest and led to premature ripening of wheat, barley and rapeseed, they say.

The winter barley harvest on the sandy soils in the eastern areas of Lower Saxony is already almost complete, whilst On the heavy soils in the northern parts of Germany it is in full swing, they add.

Nationwide barley yields vary quite widely with some regions seeing falls of 10% on last season, yet others such as Bavaria witnessing an improvement of 10% on last season. Overall they expect barley yields to be around 3% lower, they say. Quality is coming out "surprisingly well" especially in eastern areas, they add.

The rapeseed harvest is underway, but it is too early to make an accurate prediction on yield and oil content levels, although early results confirm that the recent heat must lower yields from last season's bumper levels, they conclude.

Chinese Imports

Chinese customs data shows that the nation imported a record 6.2 MMT of soybeans in June, bringing the half year to date cumulative total to 25.8 MMT, a 17% increase on last year.

Imports from the US for the year to date are currently running at 13.8 MMT, 15% up on twelve months ago.

Only one cargo of US corn arrived in China in June, bringing net imports for the year to date to 88,000 MT, much more is in the pipeline for this month and beyond.

For wheat Jan/June imports are more than double year ago levels at 885,000 MT.

Crumbs! They Must Be Crackers

We've sold off Cadbury's to the Yanks, now Jacob's Cream Crackers and Penguins look set to suffer a similar fate with the news that United Biscuits might be up for sale, according to this report on Reuters: Get off my Jaffa's

Ukraine Latest

The Ministry say that the rapeseed harvest will amount to 1.5 MMT this season, down almost 17% on last year. They've already harvested 75% of the planted area, gathering 1.1 MMT so far, they say.

The heavy rains that have dogged the harvest may cause some wheat quality downgrades in some areas, they add.

The Ministry have set a 2010/11 revised export target of 16 MMT, including 6.7 MMT of wheat (-27% on 2009/10), 5 MMT of corn and 3.7 MMT of barley. Sixteen million would be down 23% on last season and 35% lower than the "boom" year of 2008/09.

Chicago Closing Comments


August soybeans closed at USD10.15 1/4, up 3 1/2 cents; November soybeans closed at USD9.78 1/2, up 5 1/2 cents; August soybean meal closed at USD303.30, up USD1.80; August soybean oil closed at 38.26, down 14 points. Solid demand and uncertainties regarding the size of the US soybean crop kept a floor under the market. Argentina’s Ag Ministry trimmed their 2009/10 soybean production to 52.7 MMT, down from their previous number of 54 MMT. Weekly export sales for tomorrow range between 550 and 950 TMT.


September corn closed at USD3.79 3/4, up 5 3/4 cents; Dec corn closed at USD3.93 1/2, up 6 cents. Traders noted that the market had little or no support from crude oil or the US dollar. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report range from 850 to 1,000 TMT. The trade is still concerned about crop losses in the FSU and Europe. One report suggested that the prospective passing of the increase of the so-called E15 ethanol blend will see Wall Street money "pouring into" the Midwest.


September CBOT wheat closed at USD5.88 1/4, up 11 1/4 cents; September KCBT wheat closed at USD6.01 1/2, up 12 cents; September MGEX wheat closed at USD6.13 1/2, up 11 3/4 cents. The weekly USDA export sales report will be out in the morning. Trade estimates for that range from 350 to 450 TMT. Hot and dry conditions in Russia and Kazakhstan continue to stress spring planted crops there. The US missed out on Egypt's tender yesterday, but ideas are that they will have to cast their net further afield before too long.

EU Grains Close

Nov London wheat ended GBP4.05 higher at GBP129.50/tonne, and Nov Paris wheat gained EUR7 to close at EUR175/tonne. Paris corn and rapeseed also posted significant gains.

Fund money continues to push the market higher. There is no doubting the crop losses in Russia and Kazakhstan, the question is does the latest price action justify, or over justify it?

I've just deleted the next three paragraphs for fear of sounding bitter and twisted, so I will attempt to tone things down a little.

Nobody can predict the heights to which the current inflow of money will push this market to. It is tempting to say that this is "unintelligent money" but it isn't really. The objective seems to be to corner a relatively illiquid market and make some money. To that end EU wheat looks like a fair target.

I recall making a speech for a certain company around October last year, you know who you are. In that, I likened the 2007/08 market to the Everton/Liverpool FA Cup Final of 1986. At the time the media was full of images and reports along the lines of "I've waited all my life for this, it will never happen again, etc."

They were ultimately incorrect, as the "once in a lifetime Cup Final" subsequently happened again a few years later in 1989. A bit like waiting for the bus really, if you get my drift.

If we can learn anything from history, it is that it does indeed repeat itself. If current prices hold, I don't think that you have to be Poirot to figure out that global wheat plantings will be up big time this autumn. Just like they were in 2008.

What is that going to do to prices? It's a no-brainer. You can send the cheques to the usual place!

I Might Have Mentioned This Before But....

Celebrity Masterchef, do you watch it? I do, although I am already a bit of a celebrity already of course, courtesy of you my lovely readers, and I can slice up a spring onion with the best of them.

Anyway have you noticed something different about the celebrity version and the Joe Public variety? I have.

"Tonight Gregg, we're looking for something that little bit different, someone who can go the extra mile. They've got a full beef fillet, caviare, saffron, monkfish, lobster tails, wagyu beef and truffles, to cook us one dish in just four hours."

Whereas the non-celebs get "a pigs tongue, a pork pie, a banana, a slice of Asda econo bread and a tin of mushy peas, ten minutes do your best."

These lads are clearly unfamiliar with the concept of quitting whilst you're ahead.

How Much Is That Piggie In The Pokey?

Those slippery snakes the Indian government have so much wheat that they are looking relax a ban on exports and get shot of some, according to media reports.

Yet at the same time Indian flour millers are importing wheat from Kazakhstan and Australia.

So what's going on here then?

India's attempt to offload 400,000 next door to Bangladesh has hit a small technical hitch or is "caught in negotiations" as one media report describes it.

The Indians want to recoup their own ludicrously high domestic support price by asking their Bangladeshi chums to stump up USD370/tonne for their wheat. Bangladesh are understandably reticent to support the Indian economy by coughing up a highly inflated price compared to what is on the table elsewhere.

The Indians are quick to extol the virtues of their own wheat, in much the same way that they would try to sell you an "Armani" silk suit or a 24 carat "Rolex" no doubt.

What's so good about Indian wheat? Well there's no need to add any water to turn it into bread is there, they thoughtfully left it out in the fields for a couple of years already for you just to soak up all of nature's goodness.

Aral Sea Is Disappearing

This might help explain the current Kazakh drought:

Russia To Sell Off Intervention Stocks Domestically

Twenty three Russian districts have now declared state of emergencies due to what media reports are calling the "worst drought in 130 years".

Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik has said that the government will sell "at least" 3 MMT of the state-owned intervention grain stockpile to "struggling meat and dairy producers in the drought-affected areas."

Yet still they continue to sell their soul to the devil, or in this case GASC. I'm sensing a possible long hard winter of discontent in Russia this year as and when the public find out that the family silver has been exported to Egypt.

Meanwhile, some "enterprising" Moscow taxi drivers are now apparently charging their fares extra for using the air conditioning, according to some reports. More than 1,200 Russians are said to have died so far this month, mostly by drowning whist attempting to take refuge as temperatures reached near-historic record levels of 36.5C.

Only In Britain

Would you find flood warnings and a hosepipe ban in place at the same time in the same location. I can only assume that St Swithin must have come from Cumbria? Lucky there isn't much wheat grown up there, we've had our fair share in North Yorkshire from around 6pm last night, with one or two heavy downpours. Growers in the South East seem to have escaped relatively unscathed up until now from what I can tell, although spotty showers are forecast today through until Friday.

Farming Online's online survey pegs the average barley yield at 6.4 MT/ha so far this season, with oilseed rape averaging 3.39 MT/ha up until now.

Morning Snippets

The Kazakh Ministry have cut their 2010/11 grain crop estimate by a million tonnes to 13.5-14.5 MMT. They haven't put a specific figure on wheat yet, although last season wheat accounted for 80% of all grain production. That would imply a wheat crop of only 10.8-11.6 MMT this year, and the wheat planted area this season is slightly down on last year too.

Egypt's GASC bought 60,000 MT of Russian wheat from Cargill at USD211/tonne and a similar quantity of Russian wheat from Louis Dreyfus at USD212.45/tonne yesterday. Those prices are the best part of USD50/tonne higher than they were four weeks ago. French wheat was USD3-4/tonne dearer, and is also at a freight disadvantage. To me that indicates that at these prices Russia will find the wheat to export, for now, and will probably still remain aggressive exporters up until Christmas. If you are hoping for significantly higher prices than what's on the table now you may have to wait until then.

This year's Russian grain harvest is currently running at 21 MMT as of yesterday, according to the Ag Ministry. Yields this season are currently averaging 2.8 MT/ha, they say. That's "only" 10% down on last year, although there is trade talk that this figure will decline as the harvest progresses.

In Ukraine, they've harvested 11.6 MMT of grain so far, with yields averaging 2.4 MT/ha, according to the Ministry. They've already harvested a million tonnes of rapeseed off 70% of the planted area, they say. That implies a rape crop of around 1.4 MMT this year, down 22% on last season. Forty percent of the wheat area has been cut, producing 6.6 MMT say the Ministry, that would imply a final wheat crop of only 16.5 MMT - a whopping 21% down on last year, and considerably lower than anyone forecasting. Our Ukraine correspondent, Mike Lee, says that the recent hot weather "may have improved the quality of wheat, with our first samples achieving Grade II."

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology say that La Nina is continuing to develop in the Pacific basin. That should be good news for wheat in NSW, Victoria and Queensland in the second half of the year. It could however be bad news for South America.

CBOT Closing Comments


August soybeans closed at USD10.11 3/4, up 3 3/4 cents; November soybeans closed at USD9.73, up 1 cent; August soybean meal closed at USD301.50, down USD3.50; August soybean oil closed at 38.40, up 44 points. Supportive factors were the USDA announcing a sale of 115,500 MT of soybeans for 2010/11 delivery to China. Crude oil was a bit higher and the dollar a wee bit lower, which also helped.


September corn closed at USD3.74, down 7 1/2 cents; Dec corn closed at USD3.87 1/2, down 6 1/2 cents. Rain forecasts for the most of the eastern Corn Belt and portions of the Midwest are looking for up to nearly 5 inches of rain over the next five days. Above normal heat is also forecast to continue up until August 2nd. A strong dollar and weak crude also weighed.


September CBOT wheat closed at USD5.77, down 5 1/4 cents; September KCBT wheat closed at USD5.89 1/2, down 5 3/4 cents; September MGEX wheat closed at USD6.01 3/4, down 1 1/4 cents. Despite ongoing concerns over this year's Russian grain harvest, they still managed to undercut US and EU Wheat in today's Egyptian tender.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

It was another yo-yo day for EU wheat, with Nov London wheat finally ending down GBP1.30 at GBP125.45/tonne, Nov Paris wheat closing unch at EUR1678/tonne.

A very interesting day, with futures opening sharply lower, then briefly rallying into slightly positive territory, before ultimately closing flat to slightly lower.

Spec funds are the buyers, end users don't want to touch these prices with a very long barge pole.

Farmers are busy harvesting, and hoping that this is just the start of a 2007/08-style boom. Prices always rally just as the harvest gets underway, we all know that!

Heavy rain across northern parts of England will do little to aid harvest progress. Those in the south that have managed to do some cutting will no doubt be feeling pretty smug.

Egypt bought Russian wheat again in it's regular tender. Let them keep mopping up the few remaining parcels of cheap wheat in the region I say.

Interesting Maps Of The Russian Situation

Painstakingly complied by yours truly: I'm too good to you I really am

Here's an interesting development, the Russian State Statistics Service say that 2010 grain plantings were 43.6 million hectares. That's around 4-5 million below last year and the current estimate of 48 million from the Russian Grain Union.

I see that Egypt have bought 120,000 MT of Russian wheat today, just before the shop shuts, paying USD211-212.45/tonne. That's almost USD30 up on their previous purchase and almost USD50 over what they paid in the tender before that at the end of June.

They really are the Milwall of the grain trade those lads aren't they?

Bits And Pieces

Ukraine has turned from hot and wet to just hot (38C hot). That should help harvest progress get up to speed, although reports now suggest that what's left of the barley is in urgent need of harvesting before it goes over the top - yet growers are being tempted to get in amongst the rapeseed which is also now ready. A shortage of equipment is the problem. Heavy rains in Crimea have caused losses to winter grains four times higher than a year ago, according to the local Department of Statistics.

Excessive heat and lack of rainfall means that the German wheat crop will fall below 24 MMT, according to the local grain association DBV. The barley harvest hasn't been too bad yet, but lower yields are expected as the harvest concludes onto lighter soils in the north of the country this week, they add.

The wheat harvest is underway in northern France now, with results so far seemingly "not as bad as feared" although things aren't up to where they were 12 months ago.

In Russia it's still hot and dry. Another round of crop production cuts might be on the cards again this week with the weather forecast to stay largely unchanged for the next ten days.

It's all gone quiet in Kazakhstan, with "Stan" remaining frustratingly uncontactable. Based on weather maps I am looking at, things don't look very promising over there at all.

Get this, the Baltic Dry Index was up again last night, that's two days on the trot. It was only up 12 points mind.

CBOT Closing Comments


Aug CBOT soybeans fell 11 1/2 cents to USD10.08 per bushel; Nov soybeans slumped 13 cents to USD9.72; August soybean meal closed at USD305, down USD2.80; August soybean oil closed at 37.96, down 35 points. Profit taking after last week's sharp rally was seen. Soybean export inspections came in at 6.85 MMT, a bit on the low side. The USDA pegged soybean blooming 20 points higher than last week and ahead of average. They also said that 18% of the crop is setting pods, ahead of the 15% average pace. Good/excellent crop conditions rose 2 points to 67%.


Sep corn ended down 13 1/4 cents at USD3.81 1/2 per bushel; Dec corn closed down 13 1/4 cents at USD3.94. Rains over the weekend and forecasts of more to come got corn off on the defensive. A correction from last week's gains was also likely behind today's move lower. Corn export inspections came in at 38.91 MMT, slightly above last week. The USDA pegged silking up 27 points from last week. Corn dropped a point in condition, to 72% good/excellent, which was below average analyst estimates but still ahead of last year's 71%.


Sep CBOT wheat closed down 5 cents at USD5.82 1/4 per bushel; Sep KCBT wheat ended down 3 3/4 cents at USD5.95 1/4; Sep MGE wheat closed down 8 1/4 cents at USD6.03 1/4. Wheat export inspections came in at 22.45 MMT, well above last week by almost 8 MMT. The US winter wheat harvested was up 8 points from last week but slightly behind average. Spring wheat heading was up 15 points from last week, but also behind average. Spring wheat conditions were down a point to 82% good/excellent. Drought in Russia continues to underpin.

I Actually Feel Quite Sorry For Egypt Really

Nah, I don't, I'm only messing. Please, please, please let nobody put a bid in for their latest wheat tender. Not a single one. Come on, I'll beg if I have to, but I'm not doing that other stuff again, with the Mars Bar. Oh go on then, but this IS definitely the last time.

Here's my headline and I want it now:

Stick it Nomani. Egypt gets no bids in this week's wheat tender.

Do it, if not for me, for the kids.

EU Grains Closing Comments

November London wheat closed GBP2.25 lower at GBP126.75/tonne; November Paris wheat ended with losses of EUR4.50 at EUR168/tonne.

Paris corn and rapeseed were also sharply lower, although malting barley managed to post modest gains.

Reports from the Continent suggest that the barley harvest is already starting to wind down in some places, with yields generally not as good as last year and just "average" to slightly disappointing overall.

The grain harvest in Ukraine remains well behind schedule at just over 8 MMT compared with 11.5 MMT a year ago. Wheat yields are averaging 2.7 MT/ha, with barley yields coming in at 2.25 MT/ha.

It was another very hot and largely dry weekend in Russia, where the harvest is already well advanced and yields very disappointing. After two years of bumper grain harvests - 108 MMT in 2008 and 97 MMT in 2009 - output is set to be lower than consumption this year.

Quite heavy rain is forecast for the west and north east of England tomorrow, although the breadbasket south east should escape the showers, with temperatures rising as high as 29C.

Egypt are rumoured to be in the market tendering for wheat again this week, they could be in for quite a shock compared to the prices they have been paying of late. At least the freight market has gone in their favour.

Iraq bought 350,000 MT of Romanian, Australian, Canadian, Russian and US wheat over the weekend.

German Harvest Latest

My man Joachim in Germany, reports that early rapeseed yields are coming in at around 3.5-4.0 MT/ha this year. That's some 10-20% down on last season, although as Joachim points out last year was an exceptional year for yields.

He expects better results from rapeseed grown on heavier soils. Oil levels are currently coming in at around 41-43%, with moisture as low as 6%, reflecting the very dry finish to the season.

In the Rhine Valley the first wheats are also being harvested. Yields are coming in at 7-8 MT/ha, a good result for the area, although protein levels are surprisingly low, Joachim says.

The barley harvest in East Germany is virtually complete, and has produced surprisingly good bushel weights. In the Brandenburg region 65-69kg/hl is common, he adds. Ex farm prices off the combine here are around EUR101-102.50/tonne, with EUR110 available for September collection, he says.