EU Grains Mostly Lower As More Wheat, Less Corn, Scenario Plays Out

15/10/15 -- EU grains traded mostly lower, catching up with losses at the close in Chicago last night.

At close, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP1.00/tonne to GBP115.00/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was unchanged at EUR177.50/tonne (although other months were lower), Nov 15 Paris corn was EUR2.25/tonne easier at EUR161.25/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR2.75/tonne weaker at EUR376.75/tonne.

Defra were due to release updated UK yield and production and final planted area estimates today but instead "have stated that additional quality assurance checks are required to ensure the robustness of yield and production estimates, which has delayed their release. This has caused some uncertainty around the accuracy of the provisional wheat and barley production numbers which were published last week," say the HGCA.

You will recall that they last week estimated the UK 2015 wheat crop at 16.13 MMT, just 24 hours after the normally cautious NFU pegged the crop at 16.68 MMT, with record 9.1 MT/ha average yields.

Defra also had this year's UK barley crop at 7.28 MMT last week - the largest since 1997.

It's interesting that whilst we in the UK are stuttering along unsure of what got planted here 12 months ago, the Russians are updating us with the size of their 2015 harvest on a daily basis. OK, they could be simply making the numbers up in Moscow of course (shock horror), but that's not the point. The point is that they lie to us on a daily basis, so we know exactly where we are (or aren't more to the point). Defra don't even let us know where we aren't until well after the event of us not being there!

The Russian Ag Ministry say that their 2015 grain harvest is now 96.2% complete on 42.7 million ha, producing a crop of 102.4 MMT to date.

Wheat accounts for 63.5 MMT of that total (off 98.7% of the expected area) and barley an additional 18.1 MMT (off 98.8% of plan). They also cut 56.8% of this year's corn crop for a harvest of 7.9 MMT to date.

As far as plantings go, they say that winter grain sowings are now 87.5 % complete on 15 million ha, around half a million less than this time last year.

On a global level, MDA CropCast today raised their forecast for the world wheat crop by 2.91 MMT from a week ago. Europe was the biggest gainer, up 1.82 MMT. Ukraine was also increased by 0.34 MMT to 26.2 MMT for a near 10% rise compared with a year ago.

Ukraine's potential 2015 corn crop was however lowered by 1.7 MMT from a week ago to 21.3 MMT, a slump of 25% versus last year. The Ukraine Ag Ministry said that the country has harvested 53% of it's corn area for a crop of only 11.157 MMT so far - things need to improve quickly to hit the USDA's 25 MMT target.

They also said that winter grains (excluding OSR) plantings there are mow 75% complete on 5.5 million ha, including 4.9 million ha of wheat.

Strategie Grains raised their forecast for this year's EU soft wheat crop by 2 MMT to a new record 149.5 MMT today.

And so the more wheat, less corn scenario continues to be played out this year.

The French analysts also released a few tentative planting estimates for the EU 2016 harvest. The total cereals area is seen rising by some 200,000 hectares to 57.4 million ha. Soft wheat sowings will fall ever so slightly, down from 24.1 to 24.0 million ha, but plantings of both winter and spring barley and durum wheat will increase, they predict.

Egypt's GASC bought 240,000 MT of Russian/Romanian wheat for Nov 21-30 shipment today, in their second such purchase in a week. The split was three cargoes of Russian and one of Romanian.

The average price paid was said to be $212.16/tonne C&F, up from the $208.93/tonne paid over the weekend, albeit that the latter was for a slightly early shipping period. French wheat again missed out at a best-priced $216.49/tonne C&F. This time round it was also priced out on an FOB basis too, regardless of the more expensive freight costs.