11/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed mixed. Support came from weekly export sales of almost 1.8 MMT, versus trade ideas for sales of 1.0-1.5 MMT. These were mostly for unknown destinations (994,400 MT) and China (658,400 MT). A total of 822,900 MT in sales were carried over from the 2014/15 marketing year, which ended August 31. Exports for the part week ending August 31 of 187,500 MT brought accumulated final exports for 2014/15 to 49.8 MMT, up 12 percent from the prior year’s total of 44.5 MMT. The September WASDE report was expected to show a revised downwards US soybean production total of around 3.85 billion bushels versus the 3.916 billion bushels projected by the USDA last month. In fact what the market got was an increase to 3.935 billion bushels with a national average yield forecast of 47.1 bu/acre. The average trade guess for yields was 46.4 bu/acre, down 0.5 bu/acre from last month. That took the wind out of the bullish impetus provided by robust export sales. Still, the market managed to finish closer to the highs of the day than the lows, helped by a firmer corn market. Despite this week's strong export sales, US shippers have only got 34% of the USDA's target for the 2015/16 season on the books versus 48% this time last year. Back to the WASDE report, old crop US soybean ending stocks were cut to 210 million bushels from 240 million a month ago and around 20 million lower than the average trade guess. New crop ending stocks were pegged higher than the average market expectation of 410 million bushels at 450 million, although that was down 20 million on a month ago it wasn't as large a cut as expected. China's 2015/16 imports were left unchanged at 79 MMT, and there were no changes to output or exports for Brazil, Argentina or Paraguay in 2015/16. World 2015/16 ending stocks were estimated at just under 85 MMT versus an average trade guess of 86.21 MMT and versus 86.88 MMT a month ago. Sep 15 Soybeans closed at $8.87 3/4, up 3 1/4 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.74 1/4, up 1/4 cent; Sep 15 Soybean Meal closed at $314.10, up $2.70; Sep 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.58, down 29 points. For the week Sep 15 beans were 10 1/2 cents higher, meal was up just 20 cents and oil rose 14 points.
Corn: The market closed around 12 cents higher on the day and with good gains for the week. Weekly export sales of 411,200 MT were less than stellar, although they fell within the 300-600,000 MT range of trade estimates. A total of 1,427,100 MT in sales were carried over from the 2014/15 marketing year, which ended August 31. Exports for the part week ending August 31 of 640,900 MT brought accumulated exports for the 2014/15 season to 45.85 MMT, down 3 percent from the prior year’s total of 47.38 MMT. Exporters typically have 29% of the USDA's target for the season ahead on the books by the end of the first week of a new marketing year. Currently that figure is only 19%. In it's monthly WASDE report the USDA lowered US 2015 corn yields to 167.5 bu/acre, putting total US production at 13.585 billion bushels. The average trade guess was 167.6 bu/acre and 13.559 billion, so these were pretty much spot on with trade thinking. The trade is also thinking that there will be further yield and production decreases to come down the line. As far as inventories go, old crop US ending stocks shrank by 40 million bushels, and new crop ending stocks were down 121 million from the August report. The average trade guess had been for reductions of 11 million on old crop and 70 million on new crop. 2015/16 carryout of 1.592 billion bushels is lower than the average trade estimate of 1.643 billion. On a global level, the USDA had old crop ending stocks at 197.2 MMT, falling to 189.7 MMT in 2015/16. Trade estimates had pegged these at 197 MMT and 195 MMT, so I guess you could say that the new crop number is a bit friendly. The USDA were pretty much unchanged with their production estimates in most countries around the world: Brazil, Argentina, China, Ukraine etc, but slashed Europe by 4.3 MMT from a month ago to 58 MMT. "Yield is estimated at 6.16 MT/hectare, down 6.3 percent from last month and 21.9 percent from last year’s record," they said. Corn production potential was cut in France, Germany, Romania, Poland and the Balkans. Europe will now need to import 16 MMT of corn this season, 1 MMT more than was estimated a month ago and 7 MMT higher than in 2014/15. Brazil and Ukraine both got a 1 MMT hike in their corn export potential. Production was seen unchanged in Brazil, Argentina, China, Ukraine and Russia. It's worth noting that average corn yields in Ukraine were left unchanged at 6.59 MT/ha. With admittedly only a very small area cut so far, the Ukraine Ag Ministry say that these are currently only averaging a little over 4 MT/ha. Sep 15 Corn closed at $3.74 1/2, up 12 3/4 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.87, up 12 3/4 cents. For the week Sep 15 corn gained 25 cents.
Wheat: The market closed mostly higher, catching a ride on the coat-tails of rising corn prices, despite a pretty bearish USDA report. Weekly export sales of 290,400 MT failed to impress, although they just about fell within modest pre-trade estimates of 250-500,000 MT. Trade estimates had US 2015/16 all wheat ending stocks estimated at an average 865 million bushels, from within a range of estimates of 850-885 billion, and versus the USDA's August estimate of 850 million. Today's USDA number was in fact 875 million. World 2014/15 wheat ending stocks are seen little changed at 209.84 MMT, ditto global 2015/16 carryout which was estimated at an average 221.90 MMT. The USDA today gave us 211.3 MMT and 226.6 MMT, so both came in higher than the market was expecting, and the new crop figure is in fact an all-time high. Russia and Ukraine both got a 1 MMT rise in output from what was suggested a month ago, with their wheat crops now coming in at 61 MMT and 27.5 MMT respectively. Europe did even better than that with a huge 6.3 MMT increase in production to a second-highest ever 154.1 MMT. Average yields in Europe were increased from 5.59 MT/ha to 5.80 MT/ha and the harvested area estimate was also increased by 100,000 ha. The USDA forecast 2015/16 Canadian wheat production at 25.0 MMT, down 5.7 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year "due to adverse growing conditions." Wheat consumption in the EU-28 was raised 1 MMT, and that in Russia increased by 0.5 MMT. EU 2015/16 wheat exports were increased 1.5 MMT from a month ago to 32.5 MMT, and Ukraine's were increased by 0.5 MMT to 13.5 MMT. Russia's were left unchanged, along with Australia, Canada and Argentina. It is noteworthy that the USDA now see Europe's wheat exports down only 8% versus the previous record total achieved last season, but that soft wheat export licences are currently running 30.5% below where they were this time last year. Presumably the USDA see these picking up significantly in the second half of the season? In other news, Ukraine said that they'd exported almost 7 MMT of grains so far this season, including 3.43 MMT of wheat, 1.33 MMT of corn and 2.18 MMT of barley. Russia said that it's 2015 grain harvest was 68% complete on 32 million ha producing a crop of 80.7 MMT to date. The wheat harvest there is 72.3% complete on 19.4 million ha for a crop of 53.9 MMT so far. Winter grain plantings of mostly wheat for the 2016 harvest are now 37.3% complete on 6.4 million ha, which is 400,000 million up on a year ago at this time. Sep 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.75 1/2, up 7 1/2 cents; Sep 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.59, up 5 1/2 cents; Sep 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $4.87 3/4, down 3 1/2 cents. For the week that puts Chicago wheat 17 3/4 cents higher, with Kansas up 10 1/2 cents and Minneapolis gaining just 1 1/2 cents.
11/09/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower on the day, but generally a bit steadier compared to last Friday.
At the finish, Nov 15 London wheat was unchanged at GBP112.00/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was down EUR1.50/tonne at EUR167.25/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was EUR1.00/tonne firmer at EUR165.00/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR2.00/tonne lower at EUR363.25/tonne.
For the week that puts Nov 15 London wheat GBP1.00/tonne higher, with Dec 15 Paris wheat up EUR1.50/tonne, Nov 15 corn EUR3.50/tonne steadier and Nov 15 rapeseed EUR7.00/tonne firmer.
The USDA today raised their projection for Europe's 2015/16 all wheat exports to 32.5 MMT, up 1.5 MMT on last month and now only 8% behind last year's record 35.4 MMT total.
Meanwhile they raised their forecast for this year's EU-28 all wheat crop by a whopping 6.3 MMT from only a month ago to 154.1 MMT, a total beaten only by last year's record 156.5 MMT.
"With newly arriving harvest results, significantly higher than expected yields are being recorded. Yields that had been reduced earlier in the season are now being revised upward across the EU," they said.
They increased the size of the French all wheat crop by 2.7 MMT from last month to a new record 42.5 MMT. Germany's crop was also raised by 0.4 MMT and the UK's upped by 0.7 MMT to 16.0 MMT - the latter being consistent with trade thinking.
Whilst Europe might have a second bumper wheat crop on it's hands, that isn't how things look in the case of corn though. The USDA took 4.3 MMT off their EU-28 corn production estimate, now pegging output here at 58 MMT. That's 17.3 MMT, or 23%, less than last season's record volume.
"Almost every producing nation in the EU is estimated to have lower production after a summer with excessive heat and dryness. Rainfall returned to most areas in August, preventing a larger decline but significant damage is still being realized," they said.
The French crop was estimated at 13.5 MMT, down 0.5 MMT from a month ago, which is consistent with recent forecasts from the Farm Ministry and FranceAgriMer. The drop was due to an increase in farmers switching corn into silage use, they said.
They increased EU corn imports in 2015/16 by 1 MMT to 16 MMT, which is now 78% more than the 9 MMT brought in last season.
Essentially then we have a lot more wheat than expected in Europe this year, and a lot less corn. EU corn consumption was only forecast 1 MMT lower than last season, necessitating the need for a sharp hike in imports. Corn ending stocks in Europe will also decline 43% year-on-year, they project.
In the case of wheat, Europe will import around 6 MMT this season, a total very similar to 2014/15. Domestic usage will rise 2 MMT to 125.9 MMT and ending stocks are seen up more than 3.0 MMT on a month ago and 1.8 MMT more than they were at the end of last season (and the largest since 2009/10) - and that's IF we can manage to export 32.5 MMT in 2015/16. To do that things really need to pick up markedly.
Brussels reported last night that they'd issued 355 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week. Whilst that's up 28% on last week's paltry total, it's still not enough. Cumulative licences to date are now already more than 30% behind last year's pace at 3.69 MMT, yet the USDA are expecting these to only be 8% behind come the end of the season.
Also of note is that Europe's leading exporting nation France only picked up 26% of the past week's total.
Separately, FranceAgriMer today estimated that the French corn crop was rated 56% good to very good. That's one point better than a week ago, but still 30 points down on this time last year. The 2015 corn harvest has now just about started in the Rhone Alps region, they added.
This time last year they pegged both corn and soybean yields and production higher than the trade anticipated. For the record they then went on to raise both again in October. It wasn't until November that they started to fine tune yields closer to where they eventually ended up.
Obviously there's a lot more hard info to go on then (November) than there is right now as far as yields go.
Note that in Sep 2014 they had corn yields at 171.7 bu/acre, these were then increased again in Oct to 174.2 bu/acre. It is now accepted that they ultimately ended up at 171 bu/acre. (Even in Nov they were only reduced to 173.4 bu/acre).
They surprised the market in August this year by raising both corn and soybean yields when the trade was expecting them to be lowered.
Will they fall into line with trade expectations today? We shall have to wait a few more hours yet to find out, but their track record says no. Consider that they have very little new yield evidence to go on just yet. Also back in August they had soybeans rated 63% good to excellent and corn at 70% G/E. The former are still at 63% G/E, although the latter has dropped 2 points in the top 2 categories since, that hardly looks like a game changer to me.
But what do I know...
10/09/15 -- Soycomplex: The entire complex closed with little change. The trade seems to have positioned itself where it wants to be heading into tomorrow's WASDE report. That is expected to peg 2015 US soybean production at 3.841 billion bushels, according to a Bloomberg survey. US production was pegged at 3.916 billion bushels by the USDA last month and production last year was 3.969 billion. MDA CropCast went a little lower than that today, even if they did up their estimate 22 million bushels, with a figure of 3.776 billion due to improved rains in some of the drier areas. A different survey came up with an average estimate of 3.869 billion bushels from within a range of estimates of 3.791-3.935 billion. Yields were pegged at 46.4 bu/acre, down 0.5 bu/acre from last month. US 2014/15 soybean ending stocks are expected to fall from 240 million bushels last month to around 230 million. US new crop ending stocks are forecast at around 415 million bushels versus 470 million a month ago. World 2014/15 ending stocks are seem little changed from last time at 80.15 MMT. World 2015/16 carryout is estimated at 86.21 MMT versus 86.88 MMT a month ago.The FAO today estimated the world 2015/16 soybean crop at 318 MMT, up 2 MMT from previously. They cut 3 MMT off global 2015/16 ending stocks to 52 MMT, although this is still 3% higher than last season's record level, they said. Celeres estimated Brazil’s 2015/16 soybean planted area at 32.2 million ha, up 2.3% from a year ago. They see production at 97.1 MMT, almost identical to the USDA. Conab are due to give us their first 2015/16 Brazilian production estimates tomorrow. Also due tomorrow are the holiday-delayed weekly export sales numbers. A strong week is expected, with bean sales of 1.0-1.5 MMT. Sep 15 Soybeans closed at $8.84 1/2, up 1 3/4 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.74, up 1 3/4 cents; Sep 15 Soybean Meal closed at $311.40, down $1.10; Sep 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.87, up 27 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around 5 cents higher on ideas that the USDA will cut US yields and production in tomorrow's report. A Bloomberg survey has production at 13.484 billion bushels, another has a figure of 13.559 billion, from within a range of estimates of 13.471-13.870 billion. The USDA's August estimate was 13.686 billion and 2014/15 US final corn production was 14.216 billion. Corn yields are estimated at 167.6 bu/acre, from within a range of estimates of 166.1-170.5 bu/acre. The USDA August's estimate was 168.8 bu/acre and 2014/15 US final corn yields were 171.0 bu/acre. US 2014/15 corn carryout is seen at 1.761 billion bushels from within a range of estimates of 1.722-1.779 billion and down slightly from the USDA's August estimate of 1.772 billion. New crop corn ending stocks are seen at 1.643 billion bushels. The range of estimates are 1.511-1.832 billion and the USDA's August estimate was 1.713 billion. World 2014/15 ending stocks are seen little changed from last time at 197.05 MMT. New crop global carryout is seen a little lower than last month's 195.09 MMT at 193.44 MMT. The FAO estimated the world 2015/16 corn crop at 1011 MMT, up 4 MMT from a month ago due to better prospects in the US, Brazil and Argentina more than offsetting reduced expectations for Europe. World 2015/16 ending stocks were seen by them 5 MMT higher than previously at 226 MMT. The weekly US Energy Dept report showed that US ethanol production rose to 958,000 barrels per day last week, up from 927,000 bpd the previous week. Celeres estimated Brazil’s 2015/16 total corn crop at 87.0 MMT. The USDA were only at 79 MMT last month. Safras e Mercado said that Brazil’s 2014/15 safrinha corn crop is now 95% harvested. Conab will give us revised 2014/15 estimates tomorrow along with their first peek into 2015/16. Last month they had 2014/15 total Brazilian corn production estimated at 84.3 MMT. S&P today downgraded Brazil's debt to junk status and the real plunged even lower than the previous record low versus the USD set in 2002. An a big day for numbers, trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for corn are around 300-600,000 MT. Sep 15 Corn closed at $3.61 3/4, up 5 1/4 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.74 1/4, up 5 1/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed higher on what looks like consolidation, book-squaring and/or profit-taking ahead of tomorrow's USDA report. It was most probably a combination of all three, not that the USDA are expected to throw up any big surprises for wheat - tomorrow's report is much more likely to be all about corn and beans - but you just never quite know with the USDA. Trade estimates for tomorrow have US 2015/16 all wheat ending stocks estimated at an average 865 million bushels from within a range of estimates of 850-885 billion and versus the USDA's August estimate of 850 million. World 2014/15 wheat ending stocks are seen little changed at 209.84 MMT and global 2015/16 carryout is estimated at an average 221.90 MMT, also barely altered from a month ago. So as you can see, there are no big surprises factored in anywhere there, EU wheat production might be in for an increase from last month's 147.8 MMT thanks to France's record crop I guess. FranceAgriMer have raised their forecast for that to 40.7 MMT, up 8.5% from last year. MDA CropCast raised their outlook on the world wheat crop this year by 0.68 MMT to 715.5 MMT due to beneficial rains in Australia. They also added 0.28 MMT to the global barley crop taking that up to 138.4 MMT for similar reasons. The FAO have the world wheat crop this year considerably higher at 728 MMT, up 5 MMT from a month ago. This month's increase is due to higher output in the EU, Ukraine and Russia and improved prospects for Australia, they said. World 2015/16 carryout was increased 4 MMT to 202 MMT, which according to their figures is a 13 year high. Russia's Ag Ministry said that it had prepared a draft proposal that would alter the current export duty on wheat, without giving any details away. If they are to raise the ceiling at which the duty kicks in, as trade organisations have requested, then that could see their exports pick up sharply. This seems like a possibility now that they are more than two-thirds through with their 2015 wheat harvest, and presumably confident in a 60 MMT+ crop. Production so far is already said to be at 52.7 MMT. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are 250-500,000 MT. Sep 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.68, up 6 cents; Sep 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.53 1/2, up 5 1/4 cents; Sep 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $4.91 1/4, up 3 cents.
10/09/15 -- EU grains traded mostly lower, with beleaguered front month Sep 15 Paris wheat pleased to go off the board today.
At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was unchanged at GBP112.00/tonne. In Paris, new front month Dec 15 wheat was down EUR0.25/tonne to EUR169.25/tonne, Nov 15 corn finished EUR1.00/tonne lower at EUR164.00/tonne and Nov 15 rapeseed ended up EUR1.50/tonne to EUR365.25/tonne.
At home, the HGCA said that the UK wheat harvest was now 70% complete as of Tuesday night, up from 60% done a week ago. Perhaps the most interesting development was that they increased their average yield forecast from 8.3-8.6 MT/ha a week ago to 8.5-8.7 MT/ha as more data coming in from the north confirmed earlier finding from the south. That now pegs this year's average yield at around 9-12% above the 10-year average. It also suggests that we might be looking at a crop in excess of 16 MMT this year.
One grower who farms in the Lincolnshire Wolds achieved a verified yield of 16.5 MT/ha from his crop of Reflection, breaking the current world record, previously set in New Zealand, they noted
Only 10% of the Scottish wheat harvest has so far been completed, they said.
The HGCA made no changes to their winter barley yield estimate, leaving that at 7.2-7.4 MT/ha - around 11-14% above the 10-year average. The spring barley harvest is 50% done, up 20 points on the week, and average yields here were pared back from last week's 5.9-6.2 MT/ha estimate to 5.8-6.0 MT/ha, but still 7-11% above average. Scotland are off to their tardiest spring barley harvest in the last 5-years, they added. They are only 15% done compared to around 60% complete by the end of the first week of September, they said.
The UK winter OSR harvest is 99% complete with yields averaging 3.6-3.8 MT/ha, they say. That's also an increase of 6-12% on the recent norm. Spring OSR harvesting is 20% complete, up from only 5% done a week ago. Their first yield forecast there was 2.5-2.75 MT/ha. That's better than the 5-year average of 2.0 MT/ha, "although these yield figures must be treated with caution as they are based on the small number of samples harvested to date from a limited number of regions," they noted.
Across the Channel the bins are also busting. FranceAgriMer increased their forecast for the French soft wheat crop from 40.4 MMT to a new record 40.7 MMT, which is now little different to the Farm Ministry's 40.8 MMT estimate.
They see 2015/16 French soft wheat ending stocks at a rather low looking 2.6 MMT versus 2.5 MMT in the season recently ended. Wheat exports will fall 3.3% to 18.79 MMT, they predict, but domestic consumption will rise hence carryout at only around last season's levels. News that Egypt's GASC is to raise the minimum moisture level on wheat imports from 13.0% to 13.5% through to the end of May might help French exports though.
FranceAgriMer forecast the French 2015 corn crop at 13.3 MMT, down 25.7% on last year's record and 200,000 MT below the Farm Ministry estimate. French 2015/16 corn exports will fall by almost a third to 5.37 MMT, they said.
The FAO raised their forecast for the world wheat crop by 5 MMT to 728 MMT, due to higher output in the EU, Russia and Ukraine, along with improved prospects for Australia. That will help nudge world ending stocks 4 MMT higher than previously expected to a 13-year high of 202 MMT, they said.
They increased the global 2015/16 corn crop by 4 MMT to 1011 MMT, as improved prospects in the US and South America more than offset lower production in the EU. World ending stocks were raised 5 MMT to 226 MMT.
Back home again, customs data shows that the UK exported 76,963 MT of wheat in July. Even that relatively low volume is more than six times the amount exported in July 2014. That's about as far as the good news goes though. The UK also imported 136,300 MT of wheat in July, and don't forget that Jun 30 ending stocks of almost 2 MMT were 71% up on a year previously.
The UK also imported 183,100 MT of corn in July, which is 238% more than the volume of wheat exported and an increase of 82% compared to 12 months previously.
The Russian Ag Ministry said that they have prepared a proposal to amend the current export duty on wheat, without saying how or what to. Any sign that their export effort would now be stepped up is bearish.
UkrAgroConsult said that Ukraine's rapeseed crop this year came in at only 1.5 MMT, the lowest since 2007 due to reduced plantings and unfavourable weather.
09/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower in what I guess you could call "Turnaround Tuesday" style - even if technically this was a Wednesday it was still only the second trading day of the week. The trade is still debating the varied nature of this summer's US weather, and trying to come up with an average yield. "The best weather for a productive soy yield is heavy August rainfall, as this promotes larger seed development. Normally there are 3 beans per pod, but with above normal rainfall there may be 4 beans. Soybean growing conditions in August were mixed, wet in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, but dry in Illinois and the eastern Midwest. Serious drought in central Illinois is apt to take a heavy toll on the soybean yield. This is the largest US soybean state. Iowa is at the other end of the spectrum experiencing ultra wet weather. Six to 10 inches of rainfall developed in August, which is 4-6 times normal in the northwest half of the state," said Martell Crop Projections. Dr Cordonnier estimated the 2015 US soybean yield at 46.0 bu/acre, unchanged from his previous estimate. The USDA were at 46.9 bu/acre in August. China’s Ministry of Commerce estimated the nation's Sept soybean imports at 5.07 MMT, down from the 7.78 MMT of beans imported in Aug. Oil World said that the world's top 5 soybean exporting nations shipped out 8 MMT of beans last month, up from 6.16 MMT a year previously. Brazil was the top exporter with 5.16 MMT versus 4.12 MMT a year ago. In second place was Argentina with 1.32 MMT (up from 1.17 MMT) and third was the US at 1.0 MMT (versus 0.46 MMT). Sep 15 Soybeans closed at $8.82 3/4, down 8 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.72 1/4, down 7 cents; Sep 15 Soybean Meal closed at $312.50, up $0.50; Sep 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.60, down 25 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around a cent or so higher. The trade seems to think that the USDA's current 168.8 bu/acre US corn yield estimate is at least a couple of bushels too high. Dr Cordonnier today placed his estimate unchanged from previously at 165 bu/acre. Arlan Suderman of Water Street Solutions said "a state-by-state breakdown continues to suggest to me that the real yield will eventually come in at 161.0 bu/acre. My export target is less aggressive than USDA, but a yield of 161 bu/acre still results in ending stocks falling to 1.1 billion bushels, or a 30-day supply. The USDA had these at 1.713 billion last month. Fund money was net long around 77k corn contracts as of last Tuesday, and appears to think that Friday's WASDE report will be friendly for corn. "US corn conditions September 6th matched the previous week with 68% good-excellent, 22% fair and 10% poor-very poor. This was rather astonishing, since hot, windy weather was present, increasing evaporation and sapping field moisture. On the positive side, the extra heat units have pushed corn development closer to maturity. Twenty percent of corn was ripe and therefore safe from frost," said Martell Crop Projections. Early Russian corn yields are coming in at 5.09 MT/ha, slightly above where the USDA expects them to average. The harvest there is 8.5% done producing a crop of 1.2 MMT so far. Final production estimates vary, with IKAR at 12.5-13.0 MMT, Rusagrotrans at 11.4 MMT and the USDA at 13.5 MMT, Production last year was around 11.3-11.4 MMT depending on who's estimate you run with. IMEA estimated Mato Grosso’s safrinha corn crop at 21.21 MMT versus a previous estimate of 20.95 MMT, and up 20% from a year ago. The Rosario Grain Exchange forecast an 800,000 ha, or a 24%, drop in Argentine corn for grain plantings to 2.5 million ha this year. Sep 15 Corn closed at $3.56 1/2, up 1 1/2 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.69, up 3/4 of a cent.
Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed. South Korea's MFG bought 60,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat for Jan-Feb shipment. Taiwan bought 56,000 MT of US wheat for Nov shipment. The USDA last night reported the 2015 US spring wheat harvest at 94% complete, well ahead of the 76% average for this time. Winter wheat planting is now underway, with Colorado already 13% done (versus 5% complete normally) and 3% of the crop in the ground nationally, which is in line with the 5-year average for this time. The Rosario Grain Exchange said that winter wheat planting in Argentina is finished, placing the final area at 3.36 million ha. That's a 28% decline on a year ago. It is also well below the 3.7 million estimate currently being used by the USDA and Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. The Rosario Exchange also estimated that heavy rains and flooding has wiped out around 90,000 ha of the 3.36 million that did get sown, further reducing production potential this year. That would take the 2015/16 Argentine wheat harvested area to the lowest in 100 years. This could provide US wheat with a vital window of opportunity to sell some of it's wheat surplus to Brazil in 2015/16. Brazil are the world's 4th largest wheat importer after Egypt, Indonesia and Algeria. They are also of course much closer to the US than the other three, offering a freight advantage over EU/Black Sea wheat. A significant shortfall in production in Argentina this year would potentially leave Brazil forced into cast the net outside of the Mercosur trade bloc, much as it did in 2013/14 when Argentina's crop was hit by adverse weather, coming in at only 10.5 MMT. Some private analysts are now forecasting production of only 8-9 MMT this year. Brazil's CONAB are due to update the market on Friday with their latest crop production estimates. They had the Brazilian wheat crop at 7 MMT last time. The USDA currently forecast Brazilian wheat consumption at 11.5 MMT and imports at 6.5 MMT. Sep 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.62, down 3 1/4 cents; Sep 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.48 1/4, down 3 3/4 cents; Sep 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $4.88 1/4, up 2 1/4 cents.
09/09/15 -- EU grains traded higher for a second day throughout the morning, but slipped to end mixed at the finish. Firmer stock markets were supportive. In Asia Japan’s Nikkei rose 7.7% today, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 4.1% and China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 2.3%. Stocks in Europe followed suit, and that seemed to add a bit of spill-over confidence into the grains sector.
By the close, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP0.10/tonne to GBP112.00/tonne, having hit GBP113.25/tonne earlier in the day. In Paris, expiring tomorrow Sep 15 wheat closed down EUR2.00/tonne to EUR148.00/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was down EUR0.25/tonne to EUR363.75onne.
Nothing much has changed fundamentally, so I guess we can call the early action consolidation/bargain hunting and/or book squaring ahead of Friday's upcoming WASDE report from the USDA.
Russia's 2015 grain crop is getting bigger it would seem, and exports are also starting to gather pace helped by the weak rouble.
The Russian Ag Ministry said that this year's grain harvest is 65.6% complete on 30.8 million ha producing a crop of 78.7 MMT to date. Yields are averaging 2.56 MT/ha, down 5.9% on a year ago. Rusagrotrans yesterday raised their final crop production estimate to 102.68 MMT from 100 MMT previously.
The Russian wheat harvest is said to be 69.4% complete on 18.7 million ha producing a crop of 52.7 MMT so far. Rusagrotrans now estimate final production at 60.2 MMT which is 0.5 MMT more than last year.
The Russian barley harvest is 74.3% complete at 15.4 MMT, and the fledgling corn harvest is 8.5% complete at 1.2 MMT. Corn yields are now averaging 0.9 MT/ha more than the USDA's final forecast of 5.0 MT/ha.
Rusagrotrans said that the country exported 3.65 MMT of grains in August versus a little over 2 MMT in July, although that's still 21% less than the record 4.64 MMT shipped out in August 2014.
Wheat accounted for 81% of August exports (2.86 MMT) versus only 63% in July, but down from 91% a year previously (4.2 MMT).
Russian growers are already 32% done with planting their winter grains, say the Ag Ministry. Dryness has been a concern, but wetter than normal conditions are now in the forecast for the south at least for the coming 15 days.
In Kazakhstan meanwhile the 2015 grain harvest is 32.9% complete on 4.85 million ha producing a crop of 5.3 MMT to date. Average yields are running 5.7% up on a year ago at 1.11 MT/ha.
UkrAgroConsult said Ukraine had exported 2.2 MMT of wheat in August, almost three times the volume shipped out in July.
The HGCA reported that the UK "is near to concluding a trade protocol agreement with China following an AHDB-hosted visit by its Plant Health Inspectors in June." Essentially that means that the UK could become an "approved supplier" to China, who has been importing large volumes of French barley of late, taking 2.2 MMT from them during the 2014/15 season.
Australia was China's largest barley supplier last season, shipping in 4.9 MMT of the grain, followed by France, Canada and Ukraine.
The Chinese barley area has steadily declined to around half the size of the area planted fifteen years ago as growers switched to more profitable crops like corn and wheat, they HGCA said.
The Chinese government pay enormous premiums compared to global levels for the latter two grains to local farmers, hence their popularity.
08/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed with decent gains to start the US trading week. The USDA announced 120,000 MT of US beans sold to unknown for 2015/16 shipment. After the close they left good to excellent crop ratings at 63%, although there was a one point shift from excellent into good. They have 96% of the crop setting pods, up 3 points from a week ago but still 3 points behind the norm. They said that 18% of the crop is dropping leaves which is 2 points ahead of the 5-year average. Weekly export inspections came in at 93,308 MT for the week to Sep 3, that included 22,644 MT for the new 2015/16 marketing year. Concerns over Chinese trade remain. The BBC reported that China's imports dropped 14.3% in August, and that exports fell 6.1%. China was said to have imported 7.78 MMT of beans in Aug, down 18% from a year ago. At 52.39 MMT however they've still imported 9.8% more soybeans Jan/Aug than a year ago. Brazil said that they'd exported more beans Jan/Aug (45.8 MMT) than they did in the whole of the 2014 calendar year (45.7 MMT). Those exports have been helped by a sharp fall in value of the Brazilian real which is down 40% versus the USD since the turn of the year. FC Stone estimated Brazil’s 2015/16 soybean crop at a new record 100.9 MMT versus their 2014/15 production estimate of 96.2 MMT. Brazilian plantings are expected to rise around 3% this year. There's talk too of an Argentine growers switch from corn to beans. The weak real and peso make input hungry corn a more expensive crop to grow, but could also have an impact on fertiliser and agrochemical usage levels in beans too, possibly reducing yields. Sep 15 Soybeans closed at $8.90 3/4, up 13 1/2 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.79 1/4, up 12 3/4 cents; Sep 15 Soybean Meal closed at $312.00, down $1.90; Sep 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.85, up 41 points.
Corn: The market closed around 5 cents higher. Weekly export inspections came in at 894,609 MT for the week through to Sep 3, including 471,577 MT for the 2015/16 crop year. The USDA also announced 120,000 MT of US corn sold to Mexico for 2015/16 shipment under the daily reporting system. CNGOIC reduced their Chinese 2015 corn production estimate by 3 MMT to a still record 229 MMT due to drought in some regions. They pegged China's 2015/16 sorghum imports at 7 MMT versus 10 MMT in 2014/15. Ukraine Ag Ministry estimated the country's 2015/16 corn exports at 16.9 MMT versus 18.8 MMT in 2014/15. Rusagrotrans estimated Russia's 2015/16 corn crop at 11.4 MMT, unchanged from a year ago. IKAR are higher, estimating Russia’s 2015 corn crop at 12.5-13.0 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate. The Russian Ag Ministry said that the country aims to produce 25 MMT of corn by 2020, with plantings rising from around 2.8 million ha to something in the region of 4.5-5.0 million ha. Increased production will also helped by increased fertiliser applications, they said. A Bloomberg survey estimated the EU 2015 corn crop at 60.2 MMT, down 23% from a year ago. That saw the French corn crop estimated at 13.4 MMT, with Romania at 9.3 MMT, Italy at 6.7 MMT and Hungary at 6.6 MMT. The French corn harvest may start next week some are saying. After the close the USDA was unchanged on US corn good to excellent ratings, leaving those at 68%. The percentage of the crop dented was 76% as of Sunday night, one point ahead of the 5-year average. Maturity is at 20%, six points behind the norm for this time of year. The highest level of maturity is in North Carolina - 86%. There are some reports here and there of some very early corn having already been harvested with yields 10-30% lower than a year ago. The trade is expecting the USDA to maybe cut national average yields by around 2 bu/acre in Friday's WASDE report. They were at 168.8 bu/acre last month. Sep 15 Corn closed at $3.55, up 5 1/2 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.68 1/4, up 5 1/4 cents.
Wheat: The market closed higher, helped along the way by a sharply weaker US dollar. Weekly export inspections were humdrum at 371,343 MT, and down more than 40% on a week ago. ABARES estimated the Australian wheat crop at 25.28 MMT, up 1.69 MMT from their previous estimate. They also increased their outlook on barley by 374 TMT to 8.62 MMT versus just over 8 MMT a year ago. Rusagrotrans raised their forecast for the 2015 Russian grain crop to 102.68 MMT from 100 MMT previously. They now see wheat production outstripping last year's 59.7 MMT by another 0.5 MMT. IKAR estimated Russia’s 2015 wheat crop a touch higher at 60.6 MMT. They see Russia’s 2015 barley crop at 16.9-17.1 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate. Rusagrotrans go for a figure of 17.4 MMT. Russian customs data showed that the country exported 6.8 MMT of wheat between Jan/Jul 2015 versus 8.4 MMT a year previously as the export tax held things back. After a slow start to 2015/16 their wheat exports are now starting to pick up however helped by the weak rouble. Reuters said that Algeria actually bought 550 TMT of wheat in their recent tender, not the 400 TMT that was originally reported. Iraq bought 100,000 MT of Canadian hard wheat in their tender. Jordan retendered for 100,000 MT of optional origin wheat for Nov/Dec shipment. South Korea's MFG tendered for 65,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat for Jan/Feb shipment. Agritel reported that Black Sea 11.5% milling wheat is offered at only around a dollar more than feed barley as sellers there search the market for spot buyers. The Ukraine Ag Ministry estimated the country's 2015/16 wheat exports at 15.9 MMT versus 11.2 MMT in 2014/15. They estimated Ukraine’s total 2015/16 grain exports at 36.0 MMT versus 34.8 MMT in 2014/15. Reuters reported that the Egyptian Ag Minister had been ordered to resign and immediately then arrested on suspicion of corruption. French customs data showed that the country exported 1.24 MMT of soft wheat in July versus 1.01 MMT a year ago. Despite that, following a record 2015 harvest, silos in Dunkirk and Rouen remain closed for the intake of wheat. Sep 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.65 1/4, up 7 1/2 cents; Sep 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.52, up 3 1/2 cents; Sep 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $4.87 3/4, up 1 1/2 cents.
08/09/15 -- EU grains closed mostly higher Tuesday. Whilst there was more gloomy economic news out of China - imports dropped 14.3% in August, and that exports fell 6.1% - the situation in Europe looks brighter. Germany's imports and exports were at record high levels in July it was revealed. The market chose to concentrate on the latter rather than the former today.
At the finish, Nov 15 London wheat was GBP0.90/tonne higher at GBP111.90/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat was up EUR1.00/tonne at EUR150.00/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was EUR3.00/tonne firmer at EUR165.75/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR6.25/tonne steadier at EUR364.00/tonne.
China's Shanghai Composite index closed 2.9% higher today, reversing yesterday's losses, as the government there unveiled new measures intended to curb speculation. The market remains extremely nervous over China though.
Their think tank CNGOIC forecast the nation's 2015/16 sorghum imports at 7 MMT, down 30% compared to 2014/15, although still at historically high levels. Barley imports will drop almost as much, down nearly 28% to 6.5 MMT, they said. Europe, and most specifically France saw a huge growth in barley sales to the Far Eastern buyer in 2014/15, so it looks like these might drop back a little this season.
Ukraine may also stand to see reduced demand from China, which would leave it looking elsewhere for buyers. The Ag Ministry there say that the country will have a total grain harvest of 60.5 MMT this year, and project exports at an all time high of around 36 MMT. They've already hit the ground running with those in the first few months of 2015/16.
The 2015 Ukraine grain harvest is now said to be 71% done and stands at 37.4 MMT. Plantings of winter rapeseed for the 2016 harvest are now approaching 47% complete on 388k ha, the Ministry add.
In Russia, the 2015 grain harvest is 64.1% complete at 77.4 MMT, and winter grain planting (mostly wheat) is complete on more than 5 million ha, or 29.5% of plan, the country's Ag Ministry say.
Rusagrotrans raised their estimate for this year's Russian grain harvest from 100 MMT to a more specific 102.68 MMT. They now see wheat production beating last year's 59.7 MMT by half a million tonnes to 60.2 MMT. They forecast the 2015 Russian barley harvest at 17.4 MMT, down 3 MMT on a year ago and have corn output equal to that of 2014 at 11.4 MMT.
Down Under, Australia's ABARES have raised their forecast for the 2015 wheat crop there by 1.69 MMT to 25.28 MMT. That's a 6.8% increase on a year ago despite earlier El Nino related production fears. They also increased their estimate on the size of this year's Australian barley crop by 374 TMT to 8.62 MMT (up 7.6% on a year ago) as well as raising their canola crop forecast by 188 TMT to 3.15 MMT, a 6.4% increase versus 2014.
Reuters said that last week's Algerian wheat purchase was in fact for 550 TMT, not the 400 TMT originally reported. The prices paid were said to be around $195-196/tonne C&F - the equivalent of around GBP127/tonne including freight.
They've now bought around 3 MMT of wheat on the international stage for import between July and November this year. The world's third largest wheat buyer is expected to import a total of 7.7 MMT this season, an 8.5% increase versus 2014/15.
France will certainly be hoping to pick up a decent proportion of that business. Unlike in the case of Egypt, they do at least have a freight advantage into Algeria compared to the Black Sea nations.
South Korea's MFG tendered for 65 TMT of optional origin feed wheat. It may be that the Black Sea does win that one though.
08/09/15 -- The overnight grains trade mostly higher this morning, resuming business after US markets were closed for Labor Day yesterday. Will the same vein continue when US traders awake and sit at their desks later? I'm not convinced.
Outside markets offer little in the way of re-assurance this morning. News that Chinese imports dropped 14.3% in August, and that exports fell 6.1% means that the jitters over their economy haven't gone away. Crude oil is down more than a dollar/barrel too this morning.
So where's this morning's support coming from? Bargain hunting I guess, prices are at multi-year lows for wheat, corn and soybeans after all, but that doesn't mean that they can't go lower still.
The combines will be rolling in the US pretty soon, and historically we don't see the US corn or soybean markets bottom until early October. A bit of harvest pressure there could yet be to come, especially if early yields come in anything like decent.
In contrast, the EU harvest is winding down - for wheat, rapeseed and barley at least - and production of all three is looking better than expected. There's still the corn harvest hurdle to get over, but it seems at least like conditions there have at least stabilised, even if production is going to be sharply lower this year.
For sure it looks like the EU will import more corn in 2015/16 - the USDA have it at 15 MMT versus 9 MMT in 2014/15 - but that doesn't help wheat much does it?
French silos are full of wheat, and despite dropping their pants to the tune of $11/tonne in 24 hours that still wasn't low enough for Egypt last week.
Ukraine will be more than happy to supply us with our corn needs, and so too will South America. Meanwhile 11.5% milling wheat prices FOB the Black Sea are only around a dollar or two over those of feed barley.
There's talk of dryness in southern Russia possibly being detrimental to winter crop development, but we won't know much about that until the spring.
ABARES yesterday raised their forecasts for Australia's wheat, barley and rapeseed crops this year too - El Nino, what El Nino? Production of all three will now be higher than year ago levels, they said.
So, with the Northern Hemisphere growing season more or less over that leaves only Argentine wheat as pretty much the one area of real global concern across the next few months.
Why can/could soybeans go lower? If you are a Brazilian grower current prices in the local currency are actually pretty good thanks to the fact that the real has fallen 40% versus the USD since the turn of the year and is down 70% against the US currency in the last 12 months.
Data out today shows that Brazil exported 45.7 MMT of soybeans in the first 8 months (Jan-Aug) of this year. That's more than the volume shipped out in the whole of the 2014 calendar year. And where will most of that have headed? China of course.
Yet another record soybean crop could be on the cards in Brazil again in 2015/16, with plantings forecast to rise around 3%. They'll worry about whether China actually wants it all later.
I'm not getting my bullish head on for anything just yet therefore.
In other news, the BBC and Reuters report this morning that the Egyptian Ag Minister has been arrested on suspicion of corruption immediately after being "told" to resign yesterday.
07/09/15 -- With the US closed for the Labor Day Holiday, EU grains were left to paddle their own canoe, and managed to put on generally small gains in predictably subdued trade to start the week.
Front month Sep 15 Paris wheat remains vulnerable ahead of the contract's expiry on Thursday, and posted a new lifetime contract low of EUR143/tonne today. That's the equivalent of around GBP104.50/tonne as this year's record crop and thus far slack exports weigh.
At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was unchanged at GBP111.00/tonne. In Paris Sep 15 wheat recovered to close up EUR1.25/tonne to EUR149.00/tonne, Nov 15 corn also gained EUR1.25/tonne to end at EUR162.75/tonne and Nov 15 rapeseed rose EUR0.50/tonne to EUR357.75/tonne.
APK Inform reported that Ukraine seaports exported an impressive 810.6 TMT of grains last week, up nearly 27% on the previous week. That total included 565.2 TMT of wheat, 241.4 TMT of barley and just 4 TMT of corn. That may mean that corn exports are more or less done until the 2015 harvest gets going in earnest, we shall have to see.
Only a small volume of new crop corn has been cut there so far - 27k ha. Early average yields are only 4.39 MT ha though. The USDA has final yields a year ago at 6.15 MT/ha and sees that rising to 6.59 MT/ha this year.
After a slow start, Russia's exports are now picking up, with 672.7 TMT of grains exported last week, a 35% increase on the previous week. That included 633.1 TMT of wheat, 26.3 TMT of barley and 10.1 TMT of corn.
Russia's Jul 1 - Sep 2 grain exports are down 19% year-on-year at 5.78 MMT, but they were 46% lower as of four weeks ago, so things have certainly picked up. Season to date exports consist of 4.35 MMT of wheat, 1.21 MMT of barley and 184 TMT of corn.
The Russian government said that they will resume their intervention purchasing programme on 15 Sep. This year's campaign was suspended due to lack of interest, with only a few sales made by local producers - exclusively in the Crimean region where growers will struggle to move their grain to outside markets. The prices on offer are still not great due to the recent fall in value of the rouble.
Domestic prices for so called 3rd grade wheat are above the price the government is currently offering to pay at around RUB10,000/tonne, and up 43% versus around RUB7,000/tonne this time a year ago.
Meanwhile this year's Russian grain harvest is said to be 64% complete on just over 30 million ha producing a crop of 77.4 MMT to date.
That includes 52 MMT of wheat off 68% of the planned area, with yields averaging 2.84 MT/ha, down 9.8% on this time last year.
The Russian corn for grain harvest is said to be 7.5% complete on 210k ha, producing a crop of 1.1 MMT to date. Average yields of 5.04 MT/ha are only slightly down on last year and are now in line with the USDA forecast for the season.
At home, UK farmers will be cracking on with attempting to wrap up the 2015 wheat harvest. After a largely fine weekend across almost the entire country good progress should have been made, and the outlook for the rest of the week is generally favourable.
Most UK traders will now probably be factoring in a crop of 15.75-16.0 MMT this year, although there's also now some talk of production in excess of 16 MMT. The HGCA have yields currently averaging 8.3-8.6 MT/ha versus last season's record 8.58 MT/ha. Whilst harvesting in the south is nearing completion, there was still plenty left to cut in the north as of last week.
Note though that much of what was left to harvest should contain a much higher proportion of potentially higher yielding feed wheat, and also feature crops grown on generally heavier soil types. Both those factors could boost the national average yield towards the upper end of the current HGCA scale.
The HGCA have the total UK wheat area at 1.87 million ha. A yield of 8.6 MT/ha would push final production slightly above 16 MMT assuming their planting figure to be correct. A planted area of 1.90 million ha (they were after all higher than that at 1.927 million for the 2015 harvest) and an average yield of 8.6 MT/ha would take total production up to 16.34 MMT.
Better than expected UK production and a much larger than normal domestic carryover from last season would put total wheat availability in 2015/16 at levels that could prove difficult to move given sterling's relative strength versus the euro - the latter being a factor that most analysts are forecasting to continue well into 2016.
The crop isn't entirely in the barn yet, but already 2015/16 is looking like another challenging season. Still, at least we beat San Marino!
04/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower on the day and for the week. US markets are closed Monday for Labor Day. A Bloomberg survey into trader/analyst sentiment found 7 bulls, 13 bears and 5 neutrals on soybeans. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that growers there are 64.3% sold on their 2014/15 soybeans versus 56.5% sold this time a year ago. CONAB come out on Friday with their final 14/15 Brazilian crop estimates. The USDA are also out next Friday with their updated WASDE numbers, including US yield and production numbers. There’s some history of the USDA raising their soybean yield estimate in September in similar weather years, before lowering it again in October, said Arlan Suderman of Water Street Solutions. The weekly commitment of traders report shows managed money flipping from a small net long to a net short of 17,302 contracts in beans for the week through to Tuesday night. Sep 15 Soybeans closed at $8.77 1/4, down 2 1/2 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.66 1/2, down 3 cents; Sep 15 Soybean Meal closed at $313.90, down $2.60; Sep 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.44, down 32 points. For the week Sep 15 beans were down 16 cents, meal was $7.50 lower and oil lost 135 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around 1-2 cents higher on the day and around unchanged for the week. The Bloomberg survey into trader/analyst sentiment found 8 bulls, 11 bears and 6 neutrals on soybeans. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that growers there are 66.5% sold on corn, very similar to 65.5% a year ago. South Korea bought 61,000 MT of optional US or South American corn for March shipment in a tender. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that the corn harvest there was now 98.4% complete and they held steady with their production estimate at 26 MMT. The weekly commitment of traders report shows managed money increasing their net long in corn for the week through to Tuesday night. Their new long-holding is now just shy of 77k lots. Russia said that their 2015 corn harvest was 4.7% done on 132.4k ha producing a crop of 647.4 TMT to date. Yields are said to be averaging almost 4% down on last year at 4.89 MT/ha. Ukraine has only harvested 18k ha of corn so far, but early yields of only 4.44 MT/ha are well down on a year ago and also far below the average that the USDA has pencilled in this year of 6.59 MT/ha. France dropped corn rating one point to 55% good to very good. The French Ministry raised their corn production estimate to 13.5 MMT. Sep 15 Corn closed at $3.49 1/2, up 1 3/4 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.63, up 1 1/2 cents. For the week Sep 15 was down 1/4 of a cent.
Wheat: The wheat market closed firmer on the day, but lower for the week. Today was perhaps due to a bit of book-squaring/profit-taking ahead of the long weekend. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that growers there are 93.9% sold on their 2014/15 wheat crop versus 68.3% sold this time a year ago. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that around 2.3% of the Argentine winter wheat area had been lost to excessive flooding. They are sticking by their planting estimate of 3.7 million ha although others are lower. The Bloomberg survey into trader/analyst sentiment found 4 bulls, 11 bears and 10 neutrals on wheat. South Korea bought 80,100 MT of Australian wheat in a tender. Russia said that their 2015 wheat harvest was 65.7% done on 17.7 million ha producing a crop of 51.1 MMT to date. Yields are said to be now averaging 8.8% lower than a year ago at 2.89 MT/ha. Winter plantings for the 2016 harvest are 26.6% complete on 4.5 million ha. Ukraine said that its winter planting was already 80% complete on 6.58 million ha. The French Farm Ministry raised their estimate for this year's soft wheat crop there to an all-time high 40.8 MMT. Sep 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.57 3/4, up 1 1/4 cents; Sep 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.48 1/2, up 7 cents; Sep 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $4.86 1/4, up 1 1/2 cents. For the week that puts Chicago wheat 19 1/4 cents lower, with Kansas down 9. 1/4 cents and sees Minneapolis losing 4 1/4 cents.
04/09/15 -- EU grains closed mixed on the day, but universally lower for the week.
At the finish, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP0.30/tonne to GBP111.00/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat was up EUR1.00/tonne to EUR147.75/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was down EUR0.75/tonne to EUR161.50/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was down EUR2.00/tonne to EUR357.25/tonne.
For the week, Nov 15 London wheat shed GBP2.65/tonne, whilst Sep 15 Paris wheat lost a massive EUR15/tonne, or more than 9% of its value compared to last Friday. Dec 15 Paris wheat was down a more modest EUR6.75/tonne on the week, and was unchanged today having earlier set a new lifetime contract low of EUR164.25/tonne. Nov 15 Paris corn was EUR7.50/tonne easier on the week and Nov 15 rapeseed fell EUR7.25/tonne from last Friday.
The French Farm Ministry raised their estimate for this year's soft wheat crop there to an all-time high 40.8 MMT, which would easily beat the previous 1998 record of 38.2 MMT.
They also increased their forecasts for the 2015 French corn and rapeseed crops, with the former up from 13.2 MMT to 13.5 MMT and the latter revised higher from 5.0 MMT to 5.3 MMT.
The size of this year's wheat crop is weighing on the market, with silo operators in Dunkirk and Rouen reportedly full and suspending the intake of wheat until some progress is made with exports.
The news then that Brussels only issued 190 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this week was a huge disappointment. That's the lowest weekly total of the season so far, and 31% lower than last week's total.
France did at least account for 63% of that 190 TMT, although yesterday's news that Egypt bought Russian wheat, despite an $11/tonne reduction in the French offered price adds to the nearby woe.
Cumulative EU soft wheat export licences for the season to date are now 3.34 MMT, which is 28% lower than this time last year.
FranceAgriMer today cut one point off the proportion of the French corn crop rated good to very good, taking that to 55%, well below 87% this time a year ago. Some 21% of the crop is rated poor/very poor, up one point from last week and far higher than only 2% a year ago.
At home, UK weather conditions between 26 Aug and 1 Sep were "predominantly wet" which limited harvest progress to just over 300,000 ha, said the HGCA.
They estimated the UK wheat harvest at 60% complete nationally. Their yield estimate was unchanged on a week ago at 8.3-8.6 MT/ha, up around 6-10% compared to the 10-year average.
The UK winter barley harvest is all over, and yields are said to be 10-13% above the 10-year average at 7.2-7.4 MT/ha.
The UK spring barley crop is 30% cut with yields here 9-14% above the 10-year average at 5.9-6.2 MT/ha.
The domestic winter rapeseed harvest is just about done at 98% complete. Average yields here are seen 6-12% higher than the 10-year average at 3.6-3.8 MT/ha. Only around 5% of the UK spring rapeseed crop has been harvested to date, they said.
The bottom line for EU wheat at least seems to be one of large crops, in some cases much larger than expected, which appear to have escaped dryness/heat concerns are presenting the market with a challenge.
Storage is a problem in France, and could become an issue here in the UK too given the unusually large carryover stocks from last season recently reported by Defra, once our harvest nears conclusion.
Slow export demand in the face of the usual stiff competition from the Black Sea, who's wheat crops also appear to have come in above expectations, is another hurdle to cross.
Upside potential for wheat could therefore be limited, and once the northern hemisphere corn harvest gets going in earnest there could be more pressure to the downside to come.
There's talk of dryness possibly being an issue for winter plantings in Russia, but it's far too early to call that a factor which offers the market any significant upside potential in the coming months.
Throw in general market unease over the "China Crisis" and low crude oil prices and we could be heading into a winter of discontent if you're an arable farmer.