04/02/11 -- Soybeans
Mar 11 soybeans closed at USD14.33 1/2, down 2 cents; Nov 11 Soybeans closed at USD13.69, up 3 1/2 cents; Mar 11 soybean meal closed at USD383.20, down USD3.20; Mar 11 soybean oil closed at 58.98, up 20 points. A modest pre-weekend sell off maybe best describes today's action, even so Mar beans still closed the week 35 3/4c higher. Strong demand from China looks set to underpin the market for some time yet, despite South American production estimates trending a little bit higher.
Mar 11 corn closed at USD6.78 1/2, up 16 cents; Dec 11 corn closed at USD6.01 3/4, up 13 1/4 cents. march corn was 34 1/2 cents higher on the week. Most of the action today came late in the session. The US Grains Council says that China will import large volumes of corn this year. The USDA reported two cargoes of corn sold split delivery between China and Japan for both old and new crop. Ideas that the tension in Egypt is easing also helped corn today - they are a large buyer of US corn as well as US wheat.
Mar 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD8.53 3/4, down 5 1/4 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD9.42 3/4, down 6 1/4 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD9.88 1/2, down 10 cents. Mar CBOT wheat was 28 cents higher on the week, with Mar Kansas up 30 3/4 cents and Mar MGEX up 27 cents. Traders booked profits ahead of the weekend, wondering what the situation in Egypt might be come Monday. They are back in the market today tendering for "normal" quantities, a cargo each of soft white and soft red winter wheat.
04/02/11 -- EU wheat closed mixed, but mostly lower, with Mar London wheat down GBP1.00 to GBP205.00/tonne and new crop Nov GBP0.95 lower at GBP174.50/tonne. Mar Paris wheat fell EUR1.00 to EUR275.75/tonne, with Nov unchanged to EUR238.25/tonne.
On the week as a whole Mar London wheat was GBP1.75/tonne higher, with Nov rising GBP0.60/tonne. Across the Channel quality wheat fared much better, with Mar Paris wheat rising almost EUR10/tonne on the week, and new crop up almost EUR7.00/tonne.
Brussels issued soft wheat export licences of 346,000 MT this week, a 44% increase on last week. That brings the marketing year to date total 12.6 MMT - a 22% increase on this time last year.
The situation in Egypt seems to have eased slightly, which may mean that work at the ports may return to normal before long.
Bangladesh became the latest nation to say that the will step up the size of their wheat (and rice) purchases in the coming weeks and months, in an effort to maintain their food security.
All eyes will soon be on America and how it's wheat crop emerges from winter dormancy. The signs at this stage aren't very promising, with potentially a larger percentage than normal being given over to grazing or ripped up and replanted with something else come the spring.
03/02/11 -- Soybeans
Mar 11 soybeans closed at USD14.35 1/2, down 8 1/2 cents; Mar 11soybean meal closed at USD386.40, down USD0.50; Mar 11 soybean oil closed at 58.78, down 47 points. Bean export sales were monster at over 4 MMT (1 MMT of which was old crop) with almost all of that total going to China. Sales of 1 MMT of old crop beans will further tighten the 2010/11 end stocks balance. With 7 months left in the marketing year – weekly sale need only average 6.4 million bushels to meet current USDA estimates. Today’s sales were 37.9 million.
Mar 11 corn closed at USD6.62 1/2, down 6 3/4 cents; Dec 11 corn closed at USD5.88 1/2, down 9 1/4 cents. Funds were said to have sold an estimated 7,000 to 8.000 contracts on the day. Weekly export sales from the USDA came in at 1.236 MMT against expectations of 450-700 TMT. Sales for 2010/11 were a marketing year high at 1,166,700 MT. Year to date sales are now running at 59% of the year to date total.
CBOT March wheat slipped 4c to USD8.59/bushel; KCBT March wheat lost 3 3/4c to USD9.49; MGEX March wheat fell 11 3/4c to USD9.98 1/2. Weekly export sales from the USDA came in at 565,400 MT for wheat - well below expectations for sales of 800 TMT-1.1 MMT. Egyptian worries are enough to cast a shroud of uncertainty over the market. In the US temperatures will warm up in hard red winter wheat, making a less threatening forecast for the week ahead, say Martell Crop Projections.
03/02/11 -- EU wheat futures closed mostly higher with Mar London wheat GBP0.50 higher at GBP206.00/tonne, and Nov up GBP1.20 to GBP175.45/tonne. Paris wheat closed with Mar up EUR2.75 to EUR275.75/tonne and Nov climbing EUR3.25 to EUR238.25/tonne.
It was another decent performance from London wheat, which was trading lower mid-afternoon after Chicago opened, in the wake of the pound rising above 1.62 against the dollar and trading up to 1.1850 against the euro.
The situation in Egypt seems to be going from bad to worse, with the country rapidly grinding to a halt. The ports are shut, and although the authorities say that this will only be for a day or two, we don't really know how much longer they will be the authorities.
The USDA announced quite disappointing weekly export sales under the circumstances, at 565,400 MT that was well below expectations for sales of 800 TMT-1.1 MMT. Despite their problems Egypt accounted for 140,200 MT of that total.
Brussels issued soft wheat export licences of 346,000 MT this week, up 60% on last week's total of 240,000 MT.
After a largely dry week or two, welcome heavy rain is sweeping into Ireland and the UK over the next couple of days. That might help new crop wheat here, the question is will we have enough old crop left to last us through until then?
Elsewhere in Europe "an expanding area of dryness in central France is a growing worry, most of continent is dry in the 7-day forecast," say Martell Crop Projections.
03/02/11 -- The overnight grains closed lower, retreating slightly from recent highs on profit-taking, although the bull trend remains firmly intact.
Beans closed the Globex session with mostly just nominal losses of a cent or so, corn closed around 2-3c easier with wheat retreating 5-7c.
Weekly export sales from the USDA came in at 565,400 MT for wheat - well below expectations for sales of 800 TMT-1.1 MMT. Sales for corn were robust at 1.236 MMT against expectations of 450-700 TMT. Bean sales were monster at over 4 MMT (1 MMT of which was old crop) with almost all of that total going to China.
Sales of 1 MMT of old crop beans will further tighten the 2010/11 end stocks balance.
Unrest continues on Egypt, with port operations severely disrupted. Security and lack of labour are two of the main concerns, with customs clearance also affected.
Concern also seems to be mounting over the state of the US wheat crop, particularly in the top producing state of Kansas which was rated 37% poor/very poor, 36% fair, and only 27% good/excellent as of Jan 30th.
Weather conditions in Argentina have improved considerably, prompting various forecasters to up or at least maintain their production estimates in the past few days.
Striking dockers are expected to be back to work today too. But let's face it, it's probably a case of when rather than if it all blows up again there.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Beans flat, corn down 1-3c, wheat down 5-7c.
02/02/11 -- Soybeans
March beans settled 6 cents higher at USD14.44 a bushel; March soymeal traded USD3.10 lower at USD386.90; March soyoil ended 53 points higher at 59.25. China underlined robust demand for US soybeans by buying 440,000 MT of new crop overnight, even though they are on holiday. A much improved weather outlook for Argentina beans was however bearish, although on-off strikes there may continue to push export interest the way of the US. Private analyst Michael Cordonnier and Oil World both raised their Argentine and Brazilian soybean production estimates this week on the back of improved rains.
March corn ends up 3 1/4c at USD6.69 1/4 a bushel; May corn ended up 3 1/4c at USD6.79 3/4 a bushel. Private analysts Newedge USA forecast 2011 US corn plantings at 91.5 million acres, up 3.3 million from 2010. Informa Economics left their Argentine corn production estimate unchanged at 21 MMT, with Brazilian output also static at 53.2 MMT. South American analyst Michael Cordonnier left both his Argentine and Brazilian corn estimates unchanged at 19.5 MMT and 50 MMT respectively. Crude oil was fully steady, also lending support, as too was weaker US dollar.
CBOT March wheat climbed 27 1/4c to close at USD8.63/bushel; KCBT March rose 28 3/4c to USD9.52 3/4; MGEX March climbed 29 1/4c to USD10.10 1/4. Wheat set contract highs on protective snow coverage missing large parts of the HRW wheat belt in HRW wheat in KS, OK and TX. Egyptian concerns, drought in China and the impending damage from Cyclone Yasi in Australia also added to trader's worries. In short, nobody wants to be short of wheat on this market. EU stock tightness, Argentina's viability as a reliable supplier and Australia's woes don't leave too many shops left open if you want quality wheat this spring.
02/02/11 -- EU wheat closed sharply higher with Mar London wheat up GBP2.85 to GBP205.50/tonne and new crop Nov GBP2.25 higher at GBP174.25/tonne. Mar Paris wheat rose EUR4.00 to EUR273.00/tonne, with Nov up EUR3.50 to EUR235.00/tonne.
It was a record high close for old crop wheat for both London and Paris on continued uncertainty on the international grain markets.
Demonstrators are still on the streets of Egypt, an enormous cyclone is heading for Australia, a severe winter storm is gripping the US Midwest and northern China is bone dry.
Wheat prices may have been even higher were it not for a firm euro and sterling.
Elsewhere, Russian wheat is dormant under thick snow in the Volga, Black Earth region. Winter precipitation has been generous, boosting prospects for new crop wheat. The southern Black Sea area has been too dry this winter, although showers possible in coming week, according to Martell Crop Projections.
Striking Argentine dock workers may resume work under a under compulsory conciliation order, according to media reports.
Tomorrow all eyes will be on export licence numbers from Brussels for the past week and weekly export sales from the USDA.
02/02/11 -- Reproduced by kind permission of my chums at the excellent Martell Crop Projections:
Drenching January rainfall in Argentina significantly improves the outlook for late planted soybeans that fill pods in February-March. It was enough rain to completely restore topsoil moisture. The January rainfall map now is wetter than normal in Cordoba and Santa Fe, key soybean provinces, following 4-5 inches of rainfall last weekend.
The recuperative powers of soybeans are well documented in the United States Midwest. If heavy rain arrives in time for pod setting and filling, soybean yields increase even if very dry conditions existed previously. Pod setting and filling is the period when yields are made or lost. Very heavy rain increases both the number and size of soybeans in the pod. In the Midwest this critical stage is in August. For Argentina February-March is the rain-sensitive period.
Included in this report (you'll have to subscribe using the link above if you want to see it - Nogger) is proof of Iowa soybeans responding to heavy late-summer rain, while corn floundered. The year was 1977. Conditions had been extremely dry May- July, damaging corn beyond repair. The corn yield finished 11% below trend. Soybeans rebounded making a productive yield 3% above trend. August rainfall was 7.8 inches and 195% of normal.
Slower than normal Argentina soybean planting rates may prove to be a blessing. Forty percent of beans were sown after December 1, based on Ministry and Agriculture reports. These late planted soybeans would bloom in February. Pods are “set” 10-12 days after blooms develop. This is followed by 30-40 days of seed filling. The message: There is still a lot of time left for late developing soybeans to improve, if heavy rain continues.
Drenching rainfall is Cordoba and Santa Fe over the weekend was preceded by drought-breaking rainfall in Buenos Aires province two weeks prior. We get the impression the weather pattern is changing. The sudden changeover toward wetness may be linked to a weakening La Nina. Drought is very typical with La Nina in Argentina. This country is one of the more sensitive areas where weather responds strongly the ENSO fluctuation. Last year with El Nino, conditions were extremely wet, causing concerns over disease in soybeans.
Warming sea temperatures developed at the same time in the sentinel eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, signifying a weakening La Nina. What we do not know is whether this is a short-term fluctuation or the beginning of La Nina’s demise. The Australia Bureau of Meteorology suggests the La Nina may continue throughout calendar year 2011. Should this be the case drought may resume in the Argentina grain belt.
02/02/11 -- The overnight grains closed higher, with wheat leading the way up around 12-14c. Beans were around 6-8c higher and corn up 5c or so.
Outside markets are all lending support to grains, with metals, sugar and crude oil all hitting multi-year, if not record, highs.
The dock workers strike in Argentina may drag on and off for some time yet in shades reminiscent of a couple of years ago. Unlike then, now we only have one of the Kirchners in control, and she is seen firmly digging her six inch stiletto heels in for fear of showing any signs of weakness.
Her presidency is already on very shaky ground, and there are elections due in October.
Breaking news suggests that the workers will call off their strike following a government order making the action unlawful. It seems highly unlikely to me that this will be the last word on the matter. Certainly against this kind of backdrop Argentina is not going to be topping may people's "preferred seller of choice" list.
That potentially pushes more interest they way of the US.
To add further unease to the markets we have the ongoing Egyptian unrest, a severe winter storm in the US and now a massive cyclone almost the size of America heading for Australia. On top of that it's hardly rained in Northern China since September.
Effectively all this is creating a huge cocktail of uncertainty and nervousness. The dollar is weaker too, helping propel overnight corn and beans to 30-month highs.
Despite New Year celebrations China has bought 440,000 MT of US beans overnight, according to the USDA.
The wintry conditions in the US will delay the opening of CBOT pit trading until 10 am local time, or 4 pm here in the UK I understand. So trade could be a bit thin.
Informa are out at 10.30 am local time with revised world crop production numbers.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Beans up 7 to 9 cent, corn up 4 to 6 cents and wheat up 13 to 15 cents
02/02/11 -- Currently bearing down on the coast of Queensland is Cyclone Yasi. The power of which could apparently power the world for a year. It is Australia's biggest cyclone ever & close to the level of Hurricane Katrina, and we all know what damage that did.
If you want to know exactly how big it is, click here
- Corn and soybeans hit 30-month highs
- Copper hits record high in London trading
- Nickel trades at highest highest since May 2008
- Palm oil reaches 35-month high as La Nina to persist
- Sugar hits 30-month highs in New York as Cyclone Yasi nears
- Oil trades near 28-month high on Egyptian concerns
- Tin hits record highs
- Commodity prices off the chart
- Freight rates slump to two-year low
02/02/11 -- The pound has climbed to it's best levels in almost three months, and close to a one year high against the dollar this morning on renewed ideas that an interest rate hike might be on the cards by mid-2011.
News out yesterday that British manufacturing grew at the fastest pace on record in January surprised the market, so too did construction data out this morning.
Meanwhile the spectre of rising inflation is still lurking in the background. BoE Deputy Mr Bean has added to arch-hawk Andrew Sentance's stance, saying that further rises in commodity prices and inflation might eventually force the MCP's hand into raising interest rates.
Meanwhile in the States the mixture of a Democrat controlled Senate and a Republican controlled House of Representatives could make a concerted effort on tackling US government debt (currently USD14 trillion and rising) rather tricky to push through.
The US looks set to hit it's statutorily imposed debt limit of USD14.3 trillion pretty soon. When it does it either needs to raise that ceiling even higher or introduce some painful spending cuts and austerity measures of its own. Cue much squabbling and back-stabbing and an ensuing period of dollar-bashing.
02/02/11 -- Still reeling from extreme flooding, Cyclone Yasi is expected to make landfall in Queensland later today. Described as a "monster, killer storm" by Queensland premier Anna Bligh, Yasi has been upgraded to the highest level category five overnight.
The state's sugar cane crop is seen most at risk amongst agri-commodities, and Queensland accounts for around 90% of the national total output. Mining is also under further threat, with copper and tin prices surging to record highs overnight.
Meanwhile how they could do with a drop of rain on the North China Plain, where around 75% of the nation's wheat is grown. The provinces of Shandong, Hebei, Henan, Anhui, Shanxi and Jiangsu have seen no significant rains at all in the October/January period.
Hebei Province has received just 2mm of rain since November and Shandong upped it's drought alert to the highest level last Thursday.
01/02/11 -- Soybeans
March soybeans settled 25 cents higher at USD14.38 a bushel; March soymeal climbed USD9.70 to USD390.00; March soyoil ended 84 points higher at 58.72. Beans hit 2 1/2 year highs and private exporters announced the sale of 110,000 MT of soybeans to "unknown" destinations. Strikes at the Argentine port of Rosario are likely to disrupt soybean supplies from the region.
March corn rose 6 1/2c to USD6.66/bushel; Mary corn also jumped 6 1/2c to USD6.76 1/4 a bushel. Private exporters reported the sale of 120,000 MT of corn for 2010/11 delivery to "unknown". Funds were estimated to have been buyers of 6,000 to 7,000 corn contracts on the day. The weather outlook in Argentina is improving, but some damage to corn may already be irreversible.
CBOT March wheat fell 5c to USD8.35 3/4 a bushel; KCBT March wheat declined 3/4c to USD9.24; MGEX March wheat rose 1 1/4c to USD9.81. Once again premium quality wheat gained on lower grades. US winter wheat ratings continue to decline, a severe winter storm heading into the Great Plains may cause further damage and disruptions. More US winter wheat than normal may get ripped up and replanted with corn or soybeans this spring is the word on the streets.
01/02/11 -- EU wheat closed mixed, but mostly lower, with Mar London wheat down GBP0.45 to GBP202.65/tonne and new crop Nov GBP0.60 lower at GBP172.00/tonne. Mar Paris wheat was unchanged at EUR269.00/tonne, with Nov down EUR1.50 to EUR231.50/tonne.
Egyptian uncertainty clouds the market, media reports suggest that all major ports there are closed for the time being. The Suez is open, but traffic along it is starting to slow.
Jordan bought 100,000 MT each of wheat and barley in a tender. Chicago soybeans hit fresh 2 1/2 year highs. A strong performance from both the euro and sterling capped gains today however.
Argentine port strikes are ongoing, disrupting nearby supplies of beans, corn and wheat. So too is a severe winter storm currently hitting the US Plains, "bitter cold will occur again tonight in HRW wheat," say Martell Crop Projections.
Wheat in the North China Plain remains under threat from a winter drought which has brought little rain since September.
Russia are set to begin auctioning off 5-6 MMT of intervention grain on Friday. Ukraine say that they expect to review their own export quota system later this month.
01/02/11 -- World agri-weather highlights from the excellent Martell Crop Projections:
- Overnight storm precipitation developed mostly east of US hard red winter wheat; zero F temperatures invading the Great Plains; wheat is exposed; bitter cold will occur again tonight, Wednesday night in HRW wheat
- Good rain in Mato Grosso yesterday, welcome with extreme heat; highs in the mid 90s F Monday; drought persisting East BZ soy states Goias, Minas Gerais; South Brazil soy states Parana and Rio Grande do Sul expecting heavy rain
- More beneficial rain yesterday in northern Argentina; this follows 3-4 inches in Cordoba Sunday; drought resolving in nothern grain belt, usually plagued by drought with La Nina; temperatures trending cooler and favourable for crops
- Dry weather in continental Europe with cold high pressure in control; winter wheat and rapeseed dormant again; dry January occurred in many areas following wet December on continent
- Australian heat wave continued yesterday, highs 105-108 F in Victoria, near 100 F southern New South Wales; sharply cooling, heavy rain in forecast, 5-10 inches in recurring thunderstorms in southern NSW; talk about weather extremes!
- China forecast includes chance for light-moderate rain in winter wheat Anhwei, Henan provinces; no important precip received October-January; cool winter temps a help, lowering evaporation; strong warming may bring wheat out of dormancy
- Scattered showers predicted in Afghanistan may not reach Pakistan; winter wheat in serious drought; hot temps would stress wheat further; warm-up also unfavorable for west India winter crops rapeseed and wheat
- Russia winter wheat dormant with cold temps; scattered precip, light snow keeps coming to Black Earth, Volga; Russia Black Sea wheat struggling in dry winter; Turkey wheat got heavy beneficial rain past 7 days
01/02/11 -- Almost twelve months to the day after deciding to place an ad on Nogger's Blog, Scotland's leading feed manufacturer reports pe-tax profits up a Loch Ness Monster 73% for the year ended 30th June 2010. Coincidence, or canny "we know a bargain when we see one" Jock thriftiness? I know where my money is going.
Group turnover was up GBP3 million to just over GBP68 million, in that funny money that they use up there, with pre-tax profit at GBP1.9 million.
31/01/11 -- Soybeans
March soybeans settled 15 cents higher at USD14.13 a bushel; March soymeal traded USD3.30 higher at USD380.30; soyoil was up 61 points at 57.88. The ongoing dock workers strike in Argentina was supportive, so too was sharply higher crude oil on the back of Egyptian uncertainties. Disappointing weekly export inspections (29.69 million bushels versus 43.1 million last week) capped gains. China being on holiday may have something to do with that.
March corn finished up 15 1/2c at USD6.59 1/2 a bushel. May corn closed up 15 1/2c at USD6.70 a bushel. A lower US dollar and firmer crude oil helped corn today. The USDA export inspections report came in at only 18.69 million bushels, 7.18 million bushels lower than last week. That was well below trade estimates for inspections of 25-30 million. Yet again the market seems to be ignoring bearish factors and concentrating only on bullish news.
CBOT March wheat rose 15c to USD8.40 3/4 a bushel; KCBT March jumped 12 3/4c to USD9.24 3/4; MGEX March gained 18 1/4c to USD9.79 3/4. Bullish factors were Egypt, rising crude oil, a falling dollar and an impending severe winter storm in the US. The USDA export inspections report this morning came in at 21.3 million bushels, a little bit less than last week. The top man at the Egyptian International Freight Forwarding Association said that operations at the world's largest wheat buyers' ports had been suspended.
31/01/11 -- Mar London wheat closed GBP0.15 lower at GBP203.10/tonne, with new crop Nov down GBP1.30 at GBP172.60/tonne. Mar Paris wheat rose EUR3.00 to EUR269.00/tonne, whilst new crop Nov gained EUR1.50 to EUR233.00/tonne.
A firmer pound was behind London wheat's fall, with sterling rising above 1.17 against the euro and over 1.60 against the dollar. Paris wheat rose as global supplies of quality wheat continue to tighten and foreign tenders keep coming in.
Uncertainty remains in the market over Egypt. They said over the weekend that the will continue to buy wheat in the usual manner, no more than that, and that they have six months worth of reserves anyway.
Jordan is tendering for 100,000 MT each of wheat and barley this week though, proving that there are still some buyers out there, even at these levels.
Asian buyers like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have all also reputedly bought US/Australian wheat over the weekend.
Brent crude oil rose above USD100/barrel this afternoon for the first time in 28 months on ideas that the escalating situation in Egypt may affect European supplies shipped via the Suez Canal. NYMEX crude was also sharply higher late in the day.
European weather is seen turning wetter this week, a not unwelcome development. More heavy rain is in the forecast for eastern Australia, although wheat harvesting here is just about over this may cause further logistical problems.
Rabobank has lowered it's Australian wheat production forecast to a rather low looking 22.7 MMT, more than 4 MMT less than the official ABARE estimate.
31/01/11 -- World agri-weather highlights from Martell Crop Projections:
- Hard red winter wheat will be mostly bypassed by brewing winter storm; no moisture at all for western Kansas, TX panhandle on updated forecast
- East Brazil stuck in a dry weather pattern, eastern Mato Grosso, Goias, Minas Gerais; elsewhere soybeans are developing well with adequate moisture; South Brazil forecast continues favorably wet
- Cordoba Argentina got 3-4 inches of rain Sunday; soybean recovery seems more possible this key province; very stormy weather will persist (GFS model); perhaps La Nina is collapsing?
- Cold and wet forecast this week in northern Europe; rain not unwelcome in a dry winter; Mediterranean countries getting all the rain, southern Europe, Northern Africa, Middle East
- Stormy weather may return to New South Wales this week; this would end a prolonged heat wave; wheat harvest suspected to be near the finish after 2-3 weeks of hot dry weather
- Still no relief from drought in China winter wheat; irrigation needs are very high in a super dry winter; warming temperature may coax wheat out of dormancy, increase irrigation needs
- Watching Pakistan wheat, very dry this winter; warm temperature forecast is detrimental, worsens moisture stress elevating evaporation; irrigated wheat in NW India also will come under stress with no rain, hot temps
- Unsettled wet conditions continue in Russia's Volga and Black Earth wheat; wheat in the Black Sea area to remain cool and generally dry
31/01/11 -- The overnight grains opened lower but closed firmer with wheat and beans around 10c higher and corn up 5-6c. The dollar is a bit lower and crude oil higher, both of which should add a bit of extra support.
Egypt's President Mubarak gave his cabinet a vote of confidence by sacking the lot of them over the weekend. He also appointed military intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as his new right hand man.
The market doesn't know what to make of the Egypt situation. It reminds me in a way of the Chernobyl disaster, the market was in a state of limbo for some time after that. Was it bullish or bearish, nobody could quite figure it out at the time either. Everyone knew if was either very bullish or very bearish, but they just couldn't figure out which it was.
Egypt said over the weekend that it would continue to buy wheat "normally" and that it has six months worth of stocks at hand, and that is before the harvest kicks off in a couple of months. Ideas that it would follow Tunisia and Algeria in as "forced" buyers may therefore be misplaced.
It could be that this civil unrest actually is bearish, if the world's largest wheat buyer stops buying for a while.
A report on Dow Jones today says that operations at the country's ports have been suspended, quoting the General secretary of the Egyptian International Freight Forwarding Association. That doesn't sound bullish for wheat to me.
Jordan is tendering for 100,000 MT each of wheat and barley.
Good and widespread weekend rains in Argentina have alleviated some drought fears. Ongoing strikes and labour disruptions however are bullish for nearby months.
In the US a major winter storm is brewing which will impact the the Central Plains eastwards through the Great Lakes, and eventually the Northeast.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Beans up 8 to 10 cents, corn up 5 to 7cents and wheat up 10 to 12 cents.
31/01/11 -- Misguided maybe, but never wrong. There are now 50,000 such transient simians visiting Nogger's Blog every month.
Good news for the advertisers over there on the right, so give yourselves a collective pat on the back. Those clever sods get their names exposed to those 50,000 traders, farmers and admittedly the odd assorted fruit cake/conspiracy theorist every month for an incredibly nominal fee.
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Nogger's Blog: the grain markets from a different perspective and free sartorial advice to scruffy global billionaires.
31/01/11 -- The market seems to be struggling to weigh up the impact to mounting civil unrest in Egypt. The most populous Arab nation on the planet is not only the world's largest wheat buyer, but the also hold the keys to the Suez Canal.
Brent crude came within a whisker of breaking through USD100/barrel for the first time in more than two years on Friday, peaking at USD99.97/barrel, on worries that a further escalation of the violent anti-government protests there could disrupt traffic passing through the Suez Canal.
That may affect the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf into Europe, hence the hefty USD10/barrel premium for Brent over NYMEX crude at the moment.
Egypt said over the weekend that it won't step-up on it's regular wheat purchases, but that it will continue to buy "the usual quantities". The market seems to have been expecting them to follow Algeria & Tunisia and increase their buying, but so far no tenders have been forthcoming.
There are question marks too over whether the continued unrest might disrupt import operations at major Egyptian ports. The North African country has reputedly bought over 2.75 MMT of US wheat so far this marketing year, and over 670 TMT of that is apparently still to be shipped.
There's an interesting situation developing here that's throwing up more questions than answers. Certainly I'd have thought that the government wouldn't want to cause further problems by disrupting the supply of state-subsidised bread to the masses.
It may however make exporters think twice about participating in future Egyptian tenders. Who's going to be in power next week and have they got the chequebook? How easy/expensive is going to be to charter a boat to go there? And what if the Suez Canal is closed when you've already sailed from say Australia?
Hmmm, here's another one: "I wonder if we can claim force majuere on this cheap stuff we've got sold to them and sell it elsewhere at today's prices instead?"
31/01/11 -- Despite soaring feed prices, EU and UK pig prices continue to fall off a cliff. At home, spot prices were down to 123p/kg last week, down 10p/kg since the first week of January following the outbreak of the dioxin scare in Germany.
In a visit to my local butcher at the weekend he told me that he was now buying pigs at £61/head when they were commanding over £100/head before Christmas.
It seems that Europe is simply awash with pigmeat as producers cut back on numbers.
Feed wheat at GBP200/tonne, soya at GBP300/tonne and pigs at £61/head plainly doesn't compute. Payback time lies ahead.