EU Grains Fall

20/10/14 -- EU grains ended the day lower, pressured by falling US futures levels in expectation that good progress has been made over the weekend with the US corn and soybean harvest. The weather forecast for the week ahead is also friendly.

A firmer sterling had London wheat under a bit of extra pressure. Across the Channel, Nov 14 didn't fare as badly as the more further forward Paris wheat contracts did. That might mean a few people are getting squeezed out by the increased, and unexpected, margin call requirements announced on Friday.

The day ended with Nov 14 London wheat down GBP0.95/tonne to GBP115.55/tonne, Nov 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.25/tonne lower at EUR159.75/tonne, Nov 14 Paris corn was down EUR1.50/tonne to EUR141.00/tonne, whilst Nov 14 Paris rapeseed was EUR4.25/tonne easier at EUR317.75/tonne.

Fresh news to start the week was fairly scant, whilst the trade is expecting good harvest progress to have been made in the US over the weekend we won't have the USDA's actual take on things until tonight.

The Russian and Ukraine 2014 harvests, and winter plantings for 2015, aren't just winding down - they're entering the final furlong. The recent benign weather conditions are seen changing in the week ahead. "Some morning frost will be observed in the Moscow region tomorrow and should gradually reach Southern Russia and the Ukraine at the end of the week," said Agritel. "Under these conditions, the (winter) crops will have only limited time to profit from the humidity of the last weeks," they added.

Exports from the region remain strong. APK Inform reported that Ukraine seaports exported 689 TMT of grains in the past week, slightly more than the 684.4 TMT shipped out the week previously

Wheat accounted for 344.5 TMT of that total, with barley 132.1 TMT and corn 212.4 TMT. It is interesting to note that whilst the overall volume exported was little changed, corn had a much larger slice of the cake last week compared to the week prior. In percentage terms, wheat exports were 50% of the net volume shipped last week, down from 77% the previous week. Barley's share held steady at 19%, but corn accounted for 31% of last week's exports versus only 4% the week previously.

That would appear to indicate, as expected, that Ukraine's grain exports will soon start to major on newly harvested corn.

APK Inform also said that domestic consumption of grain in Ukraine will fall this season, leaving potentially more available for export. Wheat consumption will fall 2.7% to 12.9 MMT (compared to the official forecast of production this year at 24.55 MMT), barley consumption will increase 4% to 5.6 MMT and corn usage will drop 9% to 9.6 MMT, they estimated.

The reason for the decline in domestic wheat usage is the reduced quality of this year's crop leading to a decrease in flour production. UkrAgroConsult said last week that only 58% of this year's Ukraine wheat crop is up to milling standard versus 75% a year ago.

With the Ukraine Ministry steadfastly predicting a record grain crop for the second year in a row this year, all this potentially points to an increase in exports of feed wheat and corn for the Black Sea nation in 2014/15. They say that they are already in negotiation with Europe for a second round of duty-free export quotas to the EU for both grains, which they hope will begin Nov 1.

Russia meanwhile continue to major on wheat exports. Their Ag Ministry say that they exported 1.77 MMT of grains in the first half of the month, including 1.28 MMT of wheat (72% of the total), 314 TMT of barley and 158 TMT of corn. That takes the cumulative 2014/15 total to Oct 15 to 13.3 MMT, a 33% increase on a year ago. That consists of 11.13 MMT of wheat (over 83% of the total), 1.61 MMT of barley and 468 TMT of corn.

Rosstat said that Russian wheat stocks as at Oct 1 were up 30.8%, with barley inventories rising 52.2% and those for corn 210% higher.

On the international tender front, Jordan are said to be in for 100 TMT each of optional origin wheat and barley for Apr-May shipment.

In rapeseed news, Oil World were said to have pegged this year's EU-28 crop at a record 23.98 MMT, a 12.5% increase on last year. Top producer here is Germany, who's crop is up 8.5% at 6.27 MMT, followed by France with 5.51 MMT (up 26%), Poland with 3.1 MMT (up 15%) and the UK in fourth at 2.41 MMT (up 13%).