Morning Snippets

The Kazakh Ministry have cut their 2010/11 grain crop estimate by a million tonnes to 13.5-14.5 MMT. They haven't put a specific figure on wheat yet, although last season wheat accounted for 80% of all grain production. That would imply a wheat crop of only 10.8-11.6 MMT this year, and the wheat planted area this season is slightly down on last year too.

Egypt's GASC bought 60,000 MT of Russian wheat from Cargill at USD211/tonne and a similar quantity of Russian wheat from Louis Dreyfus at USD212.45/tonne yesterday. Those prices are the best part of USD50/tonne higher than they were four weeks ago. French wheat was USD3-4/tonne dearer, and is also at a freight disadvantage. To me that indicates that at these prices Russia will find the wheat to export, for now, and will probably still remain aggressive exporters up until Christmas. If you are hoping for significantly higher prices than what's on the table now you may have to wait until then.

This year's Russian grain harvest is currently running at 21 MMT as of yesterday, according to the Ag Ministry. Yields this season are currently averaging 2.8 MT/ha, they say. That's "only" 10% down on last year, although there is trade talk that this figure will decline as the harvest progresses.

In Ukraine, they've harvested 11.6 MMT of grain so far, with yields averaging 2.4 MT/ha, according to the Ministry. They've already harvested a million tonnes of rapeseed off 70% of the planted area, they say. That implies a rape crop of around 1.4 MMT this year, down 22% on last season. Forty percent of the wheat area has been cut, producing 6.6 MMT say the Ministry, that would imply a final wheat crop of only 16.5 MMT - a whopping 21% down on last year, and considerably lower than anyone forecasting. Our Ukraine correspondent, Mike Lee, says that the recent hot weather "may have improved the quality of wheat, with our first samples achieving Grade II."

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology say that La Nina is continuing to develop in the Pacific basin. That should be good news for wheat in NSW, Victoria and Queensland in the second half of the year. It could however be bad news for South America.