EU Wheat Ends lower As Recession Worsens

EU wheat futures closed lower Friday, capping another dismal week, with Paris futures slipping to 2-1/2 year lows.

January Paris milling wheat closed down EUR1.25 at EUR123.50/tonne, with London May feed wheat falling GBP1 to GBP93.50/tonne, with just 85 lots moved.

As you can see from the London figures, trade was thin at these levels, with producers sitting tight until the new year, praying for a miracle from Santa perhaps?

The US jobs numbers were just that, numb-ers, shocking analysts who had been expecting something bad, but not as bad as the 533,000 bombshell that was released. 300-350,000 was the ballpark anticipated. The extra half million unemployed bringing cumulative job losses in the US this year to 1.91 million.

EU wheat continues to desperately need some export homes. Exports as of 26 November estimated at 9.9mmt, have now exceeded the 9.433mmt shipped during the whole of the 2007/08 campaign. That pace needs to be continued, but competition remains fierce, and slumping freight rates are opening up the global marketplace to every Thomaz, Dyck and Uri.

As pointed out Friday, it is interesting to note that the three front-months, Jan, Mar, May in Paris all closed at the same price of EUR123.50/tonne, offering no carry premium at all.

Ukraine farmers have planted around 8.5% less winter wheat this time round, with a 2009 area of 6.3m hectares (from 6.9m).

The demise of the pound may continue to help UK wheat prices a little, but for now the trend is still undoubtedly lower.