23/12/11 -- Soybeans: beans were higher for the seventh session in a row, even if only marginally on this occasion. It was a predictably thin day with Jan 12 beans ending 3/4 cent higher at USD11.63/bushel for a gain of 33 cents, or almost 3%, on the week. Jan 12 meal closed USD1.40 lower at USD297.00 and Jan 12 oil closed at 50.96, up 51 points. South American dryness supports as does a weaker US dollar, although how long either will continue like that is unknown.
Corn: March corn ended up 2 cents at USD6.19 1/2 a bushel; May corn ended up 1 3/4 cents at USD6.28 a bushel. March corn was up 36 1/2 cents, or 6%, on the week. Hot and dry weather in southern Brazil and Argentina is seen as more damaging for corn than wheat at this stage. Some reports of abandoned corn are already filtering through. In Argentina an estimated 40% of the crop is at the maximum water usage tasseling stage.
Wheat: Mar 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.22, up 1/4 cent; Mar 12 KCBT Wheat finished at USD6.75, up 2 1/1 cents; Mar 12 MGEX Wheat was up 3/4 cent at USD8.44 1/2. On the week overall Chicago wheat gained 38 1/4 cents, or 6.6%, curiously more than corn despite South American weather posing only a minimal threat to the wheat crop in the region. The large fund short in wheat is probably the explanation for that. The USDA reported the sale of 120,000 MT of hard red winter wheat to Nigeria.
Best wishes to all.
23/12/11 -- EU grains ended a holiday-shortened session with Jan 12 London wheat up GBP1.25/tonne to GBP147.00/tonne and Jan 12 Paris wheat down EUR0.25/tonne to EUR195.00/tonne.
For the week as a whole London wheat gained GBP5.00/tonne and Paris wheat EUR11.50/tonne. It was a predictably low volume day with very little of note to report.
So as we near the end of what has been another volatile year in which London wheat has fallen over a quarter since the end of 2010, and by almost a third from the highs of the year set in April, I thought that a quick flick back through the record books might be of interest.
Despite the temptation to kick the cat because the price of wheat doesn't begin with a two any more, it is worth considering that it's only ever been higher than today's close on Christmas Eve twice before, according to my records which go back to 1984.
Those years were of course last year when it closed at GBP197.50/tonne and in 2007 when it was GBP166.25/tonne on the day before Christmas.
Once we get into 2012 the immediate market direction may depend on the longevity of the South American weather story versus the inevitable market refocus on the European debt issues.
Best wishes for Christmas to you all.
22/12/11 -- Soybeans: Beans closed 7-9 cents higher, with meal around USD0.50 lower and oil 100 points or so higher. Weekly export sales were 653,400 MT for 2011/12 and 75,000 MT for 2012/13 - significantly better the anticipated 400-600,000 MT. Exports of 934,200 MT were primarily to China (599,400 MT). This was the sixth session in a row that beans have closed higher on the back of hot and dry conditions in South America. The outlook remains dry if somewhat cooler next week.
Corn: Corn closed with little change, a cent or so higher nearby and 4 cents weaker on new crop. Weekly export sales were robust at 715,000 MT for 2011/12 plus a further 238,000 MT for delivery in 2012/13 compared to the expected 450-650,000 MT. In addition weekly shipments of 1,300,800 MT were a marketing-year high. The trade is starting to factor in lower production numbers for Argentina, normally the world's second largest shipper of corn after the US. The USDA currently estimate that they will produce 29 MMT in 2012, the trade is now thinking more like 25 MMT.
Wheat: Chicago wheat was 3-5 cents higher with Kansas up 1-2 cents and Minneapolis mixed 2 cents up to 2 cents down. Weekly export sales of 362,300 MT were in line with the expected 300-450,000 MT. Funds continue to whittle away at their Chicago short position, covering in an estimated 2,000 contracts on the day. Weekly shipments want watching closely. They need to be 427,400 MT/week to reach the USDA's 2011/12 export target of 24.5 MMT, but they've only managed that three times in the past eleven weeks.
22/12/11 -- EU grains ended with Jan 12 London wheat up GBP1.25/tonne to GBP145.75/tonne and Jan 12 Paris wheat EUR1.50/tonne higher at EUR195.25/tonne.
Defra issued it's final estimate of the 2011 UK wheat harvest which came in at 15.3MMT, an increase of 2.5% on 2010.
The highest domestic yields came in at 8.1 MT/ha from the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. The lowest were 6.5 MT/ha from the North West and Merseyside. The Eastern region was the only one to see a decreased yield between 2010 and 2011, they added.
Barley production was pegged at 5.5 MMT, up 4.8% on last year and OSR output was said to be a record 2.8 MMT, a whopping 24% increase on 2010.
"On a regional basis, the highest yields for barley were in Yorkshire and the Humber with an average of 6.3 MT/ha. The lowest yield of 4.4 MT/ha was in the Eastern region, highlighting that the spring drought has had more of an impact on this region. Dry soils in the East of England earlier in the year led to poor tillering and delayed nitrogen uptake resulting in lower barley yields as barley has less ability to compensate for reduced tiller numbers later on in the season," they said.
"In England OSR production increased from 2.1 million tonnes in 2010 to 2.6 million tonnes in 2011. Winter sown production increased by 24% and spring sown increased by 35%. Winter oilseed crops established well in autumn 2010 and disease control continues to improve. Prices have also proved attractive for growers with an increased demand for biodiesel. Early indications from autumn 2011 plantings indicate this upward trend in oilseed production is set to continue," they added.
22/12/11 -- The overnight grains were little changed in a dull lifeless session with beans around 2 cents firmer, corn mixed and wheat unchanged to slightly lower. Crude oil and the dollar are also barely changed.
There was some overnight rain for Argentina, with more expected today, although the amounts involved aren't huge.
Bangladesh has bought Ukraine wheat, Japan has booked some Australian wheat and Jordan has bought 100,000 MT of wheat of unspecified origin - most likely from the Black Sea.
The USDA's weekly export sales and shipments were bullish for corn and soybeans and neutral to slightly negative for wheat.
Fresh news is thin on the ground. After several days of moving higher we may be in for a small consolidation day, but big moves either way today/tomorrow look unlikely.
Chicago operates normal trading hours tomorrow, is closed Monday and re-opens again Tuesday afternoon.
Early calls for this afternoon: beans up 2-4 cents, corn up 1-3 cents, wheat mixed.
22/12/11 -- The USDA's weekly export sales came in better than expected for corn and beans and in line with trade estimates for wheat.
Corn sales were 715,000 MT for 2011/12 plus a further 238,000 MT for delivery in 2012/13 compared to the expected 450-650,000 MT. There was one sale to China in amongst the 2011/12 volume. In addition weekly shipments of 1,300,800 MT were a marketing-year high.
Soybean sales were 653,400 MT for 2011/12 and 75,000 MT for 2012/13 against the anticipated 400-600,000 MT. Exports of 934,200 MT were primarily to China (599,400 MT).
Wheat sales of 362,300 MT were in line with the expected 300-450,000 MT. Shipments were only 399,900 MT - down 26 percent from the previous week. Exports need to be 427,400 MT/week to reach the USDA's 2011/12 export target of 24.5 MMT.
21/12/11 -- Soybeans: Beans closed around 9 cents higher with meal up USD3-4 and oil up 5-7 points. This was five straight up days in a row for beans with funds buying an estimated 6,000 contracts on the day. A wetter forecast for Argentina saw the market open negative but a revised drier call later on saw the board turn green. Estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for beans are 400-600,000 MT.
Corn: Corn closed around 9 cents firmer with funds buying an estimated 9,000 contracts on the day. Dryness concerns in southern Brazil and Argentina were the catalyst for the fourth day of gains in a row. Estimates for tomorrow's USDA weekly export sales report are 450-650,000 MT. A weaker dollar and firmer crude oil added support for corn.
Wheat: CBOT wheat closed with gains of 8-9 cents, with Kansas up 2-3 cents and Minneapolis mixed either side. Funds were said to have bought around 3,000 CBOT contracts on the day, buoyed by spillover support from corn and South American weather concerns. Weekly export sales for tomorrow are estimated at 300-450,000 MT.
21/12/11 -- EU grains ended mixed with Jan 12 London wheat down GBP1.30/tonne to GBP144.50/tonne and Jan 12 Paris wheat up EUR2.50/tonne to EUR193.75/tonne.
The pound climbed to its highest since January against a lethargic euro, closing above 1.20 on the day.
Fresh news was fairly limited, new crop London wheat gained on old crop with the differential between July and Nov narrowing to GBP6.00/tonne at the close.
More than one compounder I've spoken to in recent weeks questions why the 2011 harvest should command any sort of a premium over next year's harvest at all.
The market remains concerned over "drought" in South America, although other than that there are few bullish stories around.
Nov/Dec rains in the major HRW wheat areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas have been 200-300% above normal, according to Martell Crop Projections. That should be highly beneficial for American winter wheat.
21/12/11 -- The overnight grains posted modest losses, reversing three to four days of gains with beans down 6-8 cents, corn falling 3-4 cents and wheat down 4-6 cents. Crude oil is steady, although little changed and the US dollar is likewise.
Rain is in the forecast tonight and tomorrow for Argentina, easing traders concerns there, although after tomorrow it's back to dry if at least a little cooler.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says that the current la Nina episode is near it's peak and will gradually decline in Q1 of 2012.
Chinese customs data shows Brazil leapfrogging the US as the biggest supplier of soybeans so far in 2011. To the end of November China imported 19.8 MMT of Brazilian beans compared to 18.75 MMT from America.
US shipments to China in November were 2.46 MMT, down 35% on year ago levels.
There's just a week and a half left to go before the US ethanol blenders' tax credit gets removed. Ethanol producers margins have already taken a sharp cut in recent weeks and they're about to have another 45 cents/gallon taken off them.
US hard red winter wheat conditions should have improved from the 13% poor-very poor on November 27, the last report from the USDA, aided by a decent shot of moisture since then.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans down 6-8 cents, corn down 3-4 cents, wheat down 4-5 cents.
20/12/11 -- Soybeans: Jan 12 Soybeans closed at USD11.44 1/2, up 7 1/2 cents; Mar 12 Soybeans closed at USD11.54 1/2, up 7 3/4 cents; Jan 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD295.20, up USD2.20; Jan 12 Soybean Oil closed at 49.38, up 33 points. Beans were higher for the fourth straight session in a row on widespread concerns over dryness and heat in southern Brazil and Argentina. Funds bought an estimated 5,000 soybean contracts on the day as beans rose to their highest in four weeks. Some forecasts are citing rain for Argentina later in the week, although there are conflicting reports over the amount involved.
Corn: Mar 12 Corn closed at USD6.07, up 6 cents; May 12 Corn closed at USD6.15 3/4, also up 6 cents. This was the highest close for corn in more than a month. Funds bought around 7,000 corn contracts on the day on the back of the South American problems which could be worse for corn than they are for soybeans. "Moisture stress is building in Brazil corn and soybeans due to sub-par rainfall since November 1. Dry conditions would not be damaging in Brazil crops if generous rainfall developed the remainder of the summer season. Yet with a moderately strong La Nina in effect, there may be a reason to worry about drought," say Martell Crop Projections.
Wheat: Mar 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.07 3/4, up 8 cents; Mar 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD6.68, up 9 1/2 cents; Mar 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.39 1/4, up 12 cents. Wheat got dragged higher for the third day in a row on the back of the South American story. Crop conditions in the US southern Plains are improving for winter wheat. Russian grain exports are expected to be around 17.5 MMT by the end of the year, with wheat accounting for around 12.2 MMT of that. The Ministry there now say that they'd be comfortable with total grain exports of 25 MMT for 2011/12, which potentially takes them through to the end of March at the rate of around 2.5 MMT/month. Kazakhstan have more than enough wheat to take up the slack after that.
20/12/11 -- EU grains ended mixed with Jan 12 London wheat down GBP0.20/tonne to GBP145.80/tonne, Jan 12 Paris wheat rising EUR2.75/tonne to EUR191.75/tonne.
London wheat was higher early in the day but slid into negative territory late on as the pound rose close to 1.20 versus the weak euro. For Paris wheat this was the highest close for a front month in six weeks.
UK merchants report that farmer selling interest has increased as ex farm levels have risen back into the GBP140.00/tonne plus range for the new year.
As well as expecting a record wheat crop this year Australia is in for an all time high OSR harvest too. The Australian Oilseed Federation is estimating output at a record 2.95 MMT, up 37% on last year.
India is also set to establish a record of it's own, bringing in a wheat crop in early 2012 in excess of this year's all-time high 85.93 MMT, according to the Farm Secretary there.
Russia is also re-writing the record books, having just harvested new highs for rapeseed (1.1 MMT), soybeans (1.5 MMT) and sunflower seed (8 MMT). Whilst it's bumper grain harvest of 92 MMT isn't am all-time high it is up more than 50% on last year.
Neighbouring Kazakhstan has a record wheat crop of it's own to market, whilst Ukraine has an all-time high grain harvest led by corn production that is up 75% on last year.
Meanwhile the US is expected to plant a post-war record area of corn in 2012.
It seems therefore that maybe this mini rally in grains is more to do with year-end profit-taking and book squaring than anything else. Only time will tell.
20/12/11 -- The overnight Globex session saw grains extend recent gains with beans around 5 cents higher, corn up 2-3 cents and wheat adding 3-6 cents.
Crude oil is a couple of dollars higher and the US dollar a bit weaker, both adding a bit of support.
South American weather concerns are what has seen corn add 22 cents and beans 37 cents since the middle of last week.
Other than that and the poor state of Ukraine's winter wheat crop there isn't much other bullish news on the table.
A bit like the credit card bill, the market seems to be thinking that it will re-assess and worry about Europe in the new year. Meanwhile there's profits to be banked and positions to be squared ahead of the year-end.
The Russian Ministry have confirmed a clean weight grain harvest of 92 MMT, which they say will allow them to export 25 MMT this season. Of that 15 MMT has already been shipped by the end of November and a further 2.5 MMT is expected to go this month.
India's Food Secretary says that the country will probably bring in a wheat crop in excess of last season's record 85.93 MMT early in 2012. Harvesting of that will begin in three months time.
In the US, weather conditions "have grown progressively wetter in the southern Great Plains the past 6 weeks, easing drought in hard red winter wheat," say Martell Crop Projections.
"The subtropical jet stream has been unusually strong carving out a pronounced trough over the Southwest United States. Waves of showers keep spinning out of the trough into the Southern Great Plains. The GFS model indicates the persistent trough which has been dominant for over 3 weeks may eventually lift out of the southern United States after Christmas. Between now and then, there will more chances for beneficial rainfall in hard red winter wheat," they add.
Conflicting weather forecasts for Argentina this afternoon have the GFS model showing 0.5 to 1.25 inch rains between now and the end of the week, whilst the European model is still calling things relatively dry.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans up 4-6 cents, corn up 2-3 cents, wheat up 3-5 cents.
19/12/11 -- EU grains ended with decent gains for once with Jan 12 London wheat up GBP4.00/tonne to GBP146.00/tonne and Jan 12 Paris wheat EUR5.00/tonne higher at EUR188.50/tonne.
For both London and Paris wheat this was the highest close for a front month in just over a month. For London it was the biggest one day gain since July.
The catalyst for today's rally seems to be a combination of a developing dryness in South America storyline, plus a reversal from oversold conditions and year-end book squaring/profit-taking.
Whether this is a major change of direction remains to be seen. Nothing has changed on the European debt front which has been the main thing driving the market down from the highs set in April/May.
Things don't look too rosy for wheat production in Ukraine for 2012 and there's a question mark hanging over Argentina's ongoing wheat harvest.
"Wheat near Bahia Blanca received only 57% of normal rainfall in August through to November based on official weather reports. This was a key period in crop development, winter to spring, when southern Argentina wheat was tillering and jointing. Heavy rainfall finally developed in November, replenishing field moisture in Buenos Aires, but It was too late for wheat to recover," say Martell Crop Projections.
"Late in the growth cycle, heavy rainfall boosted grain-filling in wheat, but poor germination previously had reduced plant populations. In addition, growth was stunted from prolonged drought. Poor vegetation in early November confirmed wheat damage in southern Buenos Aires, the main area where wheat is intensively cultivated," they add.
In contrast however Australia is expecting it's second record crop in a row and increased production is also on the cards from Europe in 2012 if the weather plays ball.
To get things into perspective Argentina's wheat crop is less than half that of Australia's and Ukraine's is only a seventh of Europe's.
19/12/11 -- The overnight grains posted decent gains to build on Friday night's advances with beans up 15-17 cents, corn 10-12 cents higher and wheat adding 8-10 cents. Crude oil is around half a dollar firmer, although it's still around USD6/barrel down on a week ago.
The market seems to be buying into the building weather story in South America, even though there is rain in the forecast for most of the troubled areas a week from now.
European woes appear to have been put on the back burner for now. Short-covering, profit-taking and year-end book squaring all look likely to feature this week.
There's a near record fund short on CBOT wheat and the smallest fund long on corn for 17 months. Indeed, "non-commercial investors" have cut their corn length from over 350,000 contracts back in February to just 50,000 lots as of last Tuesday, according to Agrimoney.com.
There has been some talk over what the implications may be, if any, of the death of North Korea's Kim Jong-il. Unrest and rising tensions in the region? Or maybe they'd like to forge a closer relationship with the west, and buy some grain? Probably neither.
Reports that they test-fired a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan this morning initially raised a few eyebrows but is now being played down as a routine event and of no significance.
A US winter storm will today see rain and snow become steadier and heavier this morning across northern Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas, which will be beneficial for winter wheat in the region.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Beans up 15 to 20 cents, corn up 10 to 15 cents, and wheat up 5 to 10 cents.
19/12/11 -- According to RusAgroTrans Russia grain exports were 15 MMT in the Jul/Nov period. With December's exports forecast at 2.5 MMT (similar to November's) that means that they should stand around 17.5 MMT at the end of the year.
If they continue at that rate in the new year than they are scheduled to hit their supposed 24-25 MMT limit mid-March 2012.
Looks like Christmas is coming late for Kazakhstan this year.
I wonder if Egypt already has any Russian wheat bought for delivery after this date? And if they do, what is Russia going to do about it? They aren't going to pull the plug on the world's largest wheat buyer two seasons in succession surely? And if they did what would Egypt have to say about it when the Russians come calling again once they have the 2012 harvest in the bag? That could depress prices then if the Russians simply say, OK we might be a bit unreliable so how cheap do we need to be now to get the order?
19/12/11 -- Ukraine's Ag Ministry report only 27% of winter grains to be in good condition, with 39% rated satisfactory and 34% looking weak or thinned. On the rapeseed front things are pretty much split three ways, with around a third of the crop placed in each of the three categories.
One of the zillions of useful things about the blog is it's not too difficult to go back and see how things looked a year ago. To save you my busy reader the time and effort of having to do so, here's how things looked pre-Christmas in 2010:
"21/12/10 -- The Ukraine Ministry report that less than 7% of winter crops are in poor condition....Winter wheat is rated an impressive 57% good and 37% satisfactory. Barley is rated 44% good and 46% satisfactory, with OSR pegged at 54% and 36% respectively."
To save you the trouble of reaching for the calculator or using your fingers to add it up, you bone idle lot, that tells us that 6% of Ukraine's wheat was in a "two and eight" a year ago versus 34% now, with 10% of the rape crop looking sicker than Kim Jong-il compared to 33% this year.
19/12/11 -- The markets have started the week in positive mode with Globex wheat up 5-7 cents, corn up 7-8 cents and soybeans extending Friday night's gains by a further 12-14 cents. London wheat is following suit, with front month Jan 12 up three whole pounds by 10.30 am London time.
South American weather is the main reason, although some forecasters are calling for rain towards the end of the week.
"Two week rain totals of 1-2+ inches in all but NE Argentina and extreme S Brazil. 10-20 inches crosses C Brazil! 3-4 inches in parts of Buenos Aires," say QT Weather.
The death of nuclear-armed North Korea's head honcho Kim Jong-il over the weekend has caused a few jitters as it raises a questions over stability in the region. The dodgy self-proclaimed "Great Leader" appears to have an assortment of potential successors amongst his sons born to a motley crew of ex-wives, dancing girls and concubines.
The European debt issue is an ever present millstone around the neck of commodities in general however. Data from the ECB today reveals investors pulling a net EUR4.2 billion out of the eurozone during September. It seems unlikely that trend will have done anything other than accelerated in the ensuing months of chaos and uncertainty.
It seems likely that we will be in for a low volume week, with short-covering ahead of the Christmas holidays and year-end possibly seeing a bit of a rebound in the grains sector.
16/12/11 -- Soybeans: Jan 12 Soybeans closed at USD11.30, up 18 1/4 cents; Mar 12 Soybeans closed at USD11.39 1/2, up 18 1/4 cents; Jan 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD290.30, up USD7.40; Jan 12 Soybean Oil closed at 49.55, dup 57 points. Jan 12 beans were 23 cents higher on the week. The market is still talking about weather concerns in South America. "Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost farm state and a key producer of corn and soybeans has been dry for over a month," say Martell Crop Projections. Further north things are less critical. In Mato Grosso "soybeans have been under heat and moisture stress for over a month, but growing conditions have stabilized recently with increasing showers. Recurring thunderstorms are developing in a trough of low pressure that extends from Mato Grosso in the Brazil interior to Minas Gerais on the Atlantic coast," they add. Informa Economics estimated the 2012 US soybean acreage at 74.608 million, down from the 76.1 million they forecast in November.
Corn: Mar 12 Corn closed at USD5.83, up 4 cents; May 12 Corn closed at USD5.91 3/4, up 4 cents. Mar 12 corn was 11 1/4 cents lower on the week. Informa Economics estimated the 2012 US acreage for corn at 94.389 million versus 94.0 million last month, around 2.5 million up on 2011 and a post-war record. Even so the South American weather story and spillover strength from beans was enough to see corn post modest gains by the close. Funds were said to have bought around 5,000 contracts on the day, although that would still place them selling something like 10,000 on the week. Ukraine remain aggressive sellers of their record 2011 crop and they could up their plantings around 12-15% in the spring due to lack of emergence issues amongst its winter wheat crop. A below-normal rainfall forecast for Southern Brazil in the week ahead could cause some yield losses for corn as pollination here typically peaks in December, say Martell Crop Projections.
Wheat: Mar 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD5.83 3/4, up 4 1/2 cents; Mar 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD6.39 1/2, up 2 cents; Mar 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.11 1/4, down 4 1/2 cents. Chicago wheat was 12 1/4 cents lower on the week. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange increased their forecast for wheat production in Argentina to 13.6 MMT from 13.0 MMT previously. That is still 0.9 MMT lower than the 14.5 MMT that USDA currently say however. In complete contrast the Ag Ministry there now say that this season's crop will only come in at 12.0 MMT, giving us a pretty wide spread considering that harvesting there is around halfway done. Informa Economics estimate US winter wheat plantings at 39.833 million, down 813,000 acres from last year. Funds still hold a sizable short in Chicago wheat, which may continue to limit downside potential, even though world stocks are seen at multi year highs, and close to the highest on record, at the end of 2011/12.
16/12/11 -- EU grains ended mixed with Jan 12 London wheat down GBP1.00/tonne to GBP142.00/tonne, Mar 12 unchanged at GBP142.05/tonne and May 12 up GBP0.30/tonne to GBP144.00/tonne. Jan 12 Paris wheat was up EUR1.75/tonne to EUR183.50/tonne.
On the week as a whole Jan 12 London wheat was GBP0.25/tonne lower. Jan 12 Paris wheat managed to do a bit better, posting a gain of EUR4.00/tonne. Prices the other side of the Channel got support this week from the ailing euro against which the pound rose to its best levels since February.
At the risk of repeating myself we remain stuck in a very narrow range. This was the twentieth session in a row that London wheat has closed within the GBP140-145.00/tonne band.
The problems in Europe continue to hang over the market. Ratings agency Fitch downgraded six of the world's largest banks and are now switching their attention to entire countries, revising its outlook on France to "negative" from "stable". They added that downgrades were also being considered for Belgium, Spain, Italy and Ireland amongst others.
Harvesting in the southern hemisphere is ongoing. The Buenos Aries Grain Exchange estimate the Argentine wheat crop at 13.6 MMT, up from 13.0 MMT previously. Private estimates suggest that Australia's crop could top 29 MMT, beating last year's record output.
As we head into the depths of winter early indications are that the EU-27 2012 wheat crop will be around 3-4% higher than in 2011 by virtue of better yields in the west.
Russian wheat is said to be in decent condition overall, but much of Ukraine's crop will need replanting in the spring. That may see a further switch into corn production there for 2012.
Informa Economics now peg US winter wheat plantings at 39.833 million acres, down 813,000 acres from last year. Spring wheat plantings are however expected to at least partially offset some of this reduction. Corn sowings there this spring are now seen at 94.389 million, a post-war record.
Russian wheat exports have slowed up a little from their early season phenomenal pace, whilst Ukraine has concentrated its efforts more on shifting it's record corn crop. Kazakhstan is left stuck with it's own record wheat harvest waiting for some spare capacity to become available at ports on the Black Sea.