Morning News Headlines

11/07/13 -- The overnight Globex grains are generally firmer, particularly on the nears (although remember that all these Jul 13 contracts go off the board tomorrow and are a bit technical).

The first thing to catch my eye this morning, apart from the lady with the substantial chest out jogging on my way into the office this morning, is news that Chinese think tank CNGOIC have raised their estimate for wheat imports in 2013/14 from 3.5 MMT to 5.0 MMT. They say that's a 73% increase on last season. It's certainly 1.5 MMT more than the USDA said last month, and may still prove to be only the first increase of several. Let's see what the USDA have to say later.

Also catching the eye this morning is NYMEX crude creeping stealthily on to currently stand at above USD107/barrel, a level last visited 16 months ago. Data yesterday revealed the biggest two-week decline in US crude stockpiles on record. The Egyptian situation is also buoying prices.

Other news throws up a variety of business/tenders for wheat, including Iran buying 450 TMT of Russian/Baltic material and Jordan (the country, not the woman with the big jugs, stop going on about funbags will you?) tendering for 150 TMT of wheat. I somehow suspect that they won't be passing on this one due to price as they did consistently a month or so ago. Then again, the USDA might decide to change all that this afternoon.

Talking of the USDA (I am tempted here to get my third "tits" reference into three of the last four paragraphs in a row here), I wonder if we will get a clue as to whether this afternoon's report is bullish or bearish in the half hour or so leading up to the WASDE report's release at 5pm London time?

That's what happened last month, and not for the first time either. Although the numbers are given to the various news agencies prior to the official release time to the market to enable them to push them out onto the wires within seconds after the embargo is lifted, the people involved write them up under very strict conditions I understand. Like in a locked room, with all mobile phones etc taken off them.

I find it hard not to believe that in the modern era, with Google Glass etc and all the money that's at stake that someone hasn't found a way around this problem. "Mobiles, laptops, dongles, pagers, iPads on the table please ladies and gentlemen. Nah, you're all right mate you can take the pigeons in..."

Elsewhere, the German wheat harvest will be underway in 2/3 weeks, only a week later than normal after the recent spell of warm, dry and sunny weather has accelerated crop development markedly, according to a report on Reuters.

MDA CropCast have cut their Russian wheat production estimate by 1.2 MMT from last week to 50.5 MMT "due to recent dryness in spring wheat areas." They also trimmed their outlook on Australia by 1.0 MMT to 22.3 MMT on dryness issues.

Egypt's stocks of imported wheat have dwindled to just 500,000 MT, which is barley enough to feed a Sphinx cat, I also read this morning. They say that they've bought 3.7 MMT of (insert words "fairly crappy") local wheat since the domestic harvest began, and have 3.0 MMT of that in stock, they say.

The latest numbers from Defra out this morning show that the UK milled 505 TMT of wheat in the 4 week period through to April 27, a 7.5% increase on the same period in 2012. Home grown wheat used in the grist was almost 316 TMT, down 24% versus last year, whilst the proportion of imported wheat grew 256% to 189 TMT.

For the crop year to date total wheat milled comes in at just under 5.5 MMT, up 11.6% year-on-year. Home produced wheat accounts for 4.2 MMT of that (down 5%), with imported wheat at 1.36 MMT (up 137%).

Total UK barley usage in 2012/13 to the end of April is just under 1.5 MMT, almost exactly the same as a year previously.

Breaking news on Twitter from the Public Ledger are reports that the EU's 2013 rapeseed harvest may be higher than expected, according to Oil World. No, hang on that isn't breaking news, I told you about that on Tuesday.

Another newsworthy item via Twitter is a plea for any Welsh speaking vets looking for a job to get in touch. They don't say where the job is, but my money is on East Anglia.

Elsewhere in Twittersphere we get this from the Farmer's Weekly: "Teat tampering probe launched at Great Yorkshire Show" (that's 4 tit mentions so far in this report). It's not quite as amusing as the Phoenix Night's Crimewatch spoof featuring the headline "Police probe Leed's woman's snatch" but it's a fair effort before the 9 o'clock watershed.