Is There A Chink Of Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Wheat?

30/07/13 -- Most of us are hearing that the early French wheat harvest is throwing up some low proteins, also a bit of stuff has been cut in Germany with similar results, although it's early days yet.

My chum Rudy at Bloomberg said on Twitter yesterday that he'd "Hitched ride on combine in Nievre. After 4 days harvesting soft wheat yield normal, spec 80 kg/hl, protein 9.5-10% where normally 11.5%!"

Now this morning I read from Agritel "The dry spell in May/June impacted test weight of wheat. In Rostov, Krasnodar, Stavropol, only 35% of the wheat will comply with milling standards."

There seems to be a problem with US wheat quality too by all accounts.

And China are buying wheat BIG TIME.

Another friend at Bloomberg, the lovely Whitney, has kindly done the research for me and says that China are confirmed to have bought 3.45 MMT of US wheat so far for 2013/14 shipment. The Chinese think tank CNGOIC are today saying that they bought 1.5 MMT of Australian wheat in the past six weeks. About a month ago they were reported to have bought 275 TMT of French wheat. They're supposed to have been buying Canadian wheat too (one report I've found says 295 TMT).

Add that lot up and you get over 5.5 MMT already.

Reuters today say that 16% of their winter wheat crop is only suitable for feed. The Chinese Stats Bureau estimate the 2013 winter wheat crop at 115.7 MMT, and 16% of that is 18.5 MMT.

Meanwhile as long ago as last February my US weather chum Gail Martell flagged up that China's 2012 wheat crop may only have been around 108 MMT, according to the USDA attaché in Beijing - far less than the USDA's official figure of 121 MMT. Chinese wheat consumption is currently estimated at around 125 MMT per annum.

Interesting stuff, n'est pas? Did you like my Chink of light pun too? I stayed up all night thinking that one up.

Have I told you my Cliff Richard goes to China joke? Where he's met off the plane by the chairman of the Cliff Richard Fan Club (Beijing Branch) and his wife?

The chairman says "Welcome to China, Criff. Me number one fan for you in China, Criff."

"Me have all your record, Criff. My favourite is Conraturations, and cererations, when I tell everyone that you're in ruv with me."

"Thanks very much," says Cliff. "What about your wife, she's very quiet, does she have any of my records too?" enquires the youthful one.

"Oh, Criff, she have itch sore fanny," comes the reply.

"Oh dear, I'm erm sorry to hear that," says a caring Cliff.

"No Criff, you no understand, she have Itchy sore fanny, why we don't talk any more.."

I'll get me coat.