Keep An Eye On Rapeseed

The rapeseed market is developing into a very interesting one. Reports from the Ukraine Ag Ministry now suggest that as at 15th April 433,700 ha of winter rape has been lost to the harsh winter. That represents almost a third of the entire planted area, and is up sharply from an estimated 15% just two weeks previously.

A further 188,000 ha is in weak or thinned condition, they add.

Whilst much of the lost area is likely to be replanted with spring rape, it would seem that yields are likely to be potentially seriously threatened this year. Further concerns over output must also come from reports of urgently needed agrochemicals being held up at the border in a dispute over newly introduced import regulations.

The vast majority of Ukraine's rapeseed crop is normally exported to Europe.

Meanwhile report that in 2010/11 EU-27 rapeseed production "will fall nearly 2.9m tonnes short of consumption, a deficit 500,000 tonnes bigger than that in 2009-10."

That could take EU-27 ending stocks for 2010/11 to a very tight eighteen and a half days of supply, according to the USDA.

Those figures however appear to assume that the loss of demand from the Bunge plant at Mannheim, will be taken up by other processing facilities elsewhere in Europe. There certainly seems to be plenty of spare capacity around at the moment.

CBOT Closing Comments


May Soybeans closed at USD9.89 ½, up 3 ¾ cents; May Soybean Meal at USD291.30, up USD3.90; May Soybean Oil at USD38.58, down 22 points. Crude oil was higher and the dollar lower, which helped support. Production estimates from South America got tweaked a little higher again this week, but so far farmers there seem fairly reluctant sellers even with record output. China meanwhile are seen importing beans at the rate of 5 MMT/month or more across May and June.


May Corn futures closed at USD3.66 ¼, up 5 ¾ cents; December Corn futures at USD3.92 ¼, up 8 ½ cents. Outside markets were supportive Friday. The big story of the week has been China buying US corn, we had confirmation from the USDA of sales of 115,000 MT on Wednesday. Rumours continue to circulate that they may have bought more, next Thursday's export sales report might confirm this. Meanwhile corn planting in the US might be as much as 75% done by the end of the weekend. That should maximise yield potential, and keep a lid on prices rising too far.


May CBOT Wheat ended at USD4.91 ¾, up 7 ½ cents; May KCBT Wheat at USD5.05 ½, up 8 cents; May MGEX Wheat at USD5.26, up 9 cents. Outside market influences, spillover strength from China buying US corn and pre-weekend and end of month short-covering all helped push wheat higher. Funds still hold a large open short position in wheat, which will continue to leave the market vulnerable to corrective moves even though US wheat is overpriced on the world market. Winter conditions have generally been pretty favourable for US wheat and although acreage is down, yields should be significantly higher than last season.

EU Grains Closing Comments

May London wheat ended Friday unchanged at GBP103.70/tonne, with May Paris wheat EUR0.25 easier at EUR132.00/tonne. June Paris corn was EUR0.25 lower at EUR143.50/tonne and May Paris rapeseed up EUR5.75 at EUR313.00/tonne.

It was a fairly quiet end to a pretty volatile week, as traders seemed happy to square off a few positions ahead of the long weekend.

On the week as a whole May London wheat closed with losses of GBP0.80/tonne, with May Paris wheat EUR1.00/tonne higher. June Paris corn lost EUR1.00/tonne and May Paris rapeseed fell EUR12.00/tonne.

It was a very volatile week for expiring May rapeseed in particular, with prices trading in a EUR30/tonne range over the course of the week.

The highs were set in early trade Monday, but futures fell EUR18/tonne on Tuesday following new of a serious fire at a Bunge-owned rapeseed crushing facility in Mannheim, Germany.

Continued concerns over Greece in particular, but also the rest of the so-called PIIGS is keeping the euro under pressure, which should help support the EU grains sector as a whole.

The pound also remains volatile in the run-up to the election on Thursday.

For the month of April overall May London wheat gained GBP6.90/tonne and May Paris wheat EUR6.75/tonne. June Paris corn gained EUR8.50/tonne and May Paris rapeseed added EUR6.75/tonne.

The Election That Nobody Wants To Win

Is it just me, or does Nick Clegg suddenly seem to have changed markedly? Having gone into the first televised debate with the demeanour of "I know I'm not going to win, so I can talk a bloody good fight and make loads of promises that I know I won't have to keep". He now seems to have a "Oh my God, I'm getting deeper into this than I thought" sort of a look on his face.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he doesn't headbutt a Chelsea pensioner between now and next Thursday, or call the Queen a stupid befuddled old bag or something, just to get himself off the hook and back to what he feels is his rightful comfy third slot.

BOE governor Merv the Swerve may have got a few posteriors twitching by suggesting that once the election is out of the way, the austerity measures the winner will need to introduce will be so severe that the victorious party won't get re-elected for a generation.

Get Iain Dowie onto the job I say. He's got a track record with sinking ships I think you will find, and he's strangely likely to be "available" soon too methinks. He's got a head like a Rubik's cube or a Picasso painting hasn't he, three noses but all of them in the wrong place. One eye up the chimney, one eye in the pot, not dissimilar to our current PM some might say. I bet there's no end of trouble getting the kids off to sleep in the Dowie household every night.

"Come on kids, up the wooden hill or the Big Bogey Man will get yer. Do you want tucking in?"

"Nah, we'll take our chances with the Bogey Man thanks Daddy."

Interesting Fact D'Jour

Chinese corn on the Dalian Exchange closed around 1900 yuan/tonne overnight, that's around USD278/tonne. CBOT corn closed at USD3.60/bushel near as dammit, that's the equivalent of around USD140/tonne.

The Chinese might not like the thought of GM corn, but if it's half the price, and pretty much all that's on offer, then maybe it isn't such a bitter pill to swallow after all.

India was pretty swift to throw their wheat import restrictions out of the window when things started to get tight a couple of years ago where they not?

And please don't give me the "but they've got 50 million tonnes of reserves" line, last season's crop alone was almost certainly overstated by 10-20 MMT.

Meanwhile meat consumption is growing at the fastest rate on the planet. They currently slaughter more than 700 million pigs a year, yet have a relatively under-developed feed industry compared to the West, with many of those pigs still fed swill.

According to this very interesting article, that I linked to earlier in the week, the volume of compound feed fed to pigs in China is currently 40 million tonnes, but this "could rise to about 180 million tonnes" as the feeding of swill gets eliminated under a "safe meat" policy.

Asda To Move Into Grain Market?

Inspired by their recently launched "never knowingly undersold" campaign, Asda are said to be considering taking on the big boys by moving into the grain market with a "never knowingly overbought" package.

Anyone considering selling wheat simply sells it to Asda, and if they ultimately find that they could have got a better price elsewhere, they get a voucher entitling them to a full refund of the difference (plus a penny don't forget) when they sell next year's harvest also to Asda.

If, by some remote chance, you then find that you could also have got more money next year as well then you get a voucher for that too - plus that all important penny of course.

You can't go wrong can you?

What was it my Gran used to say? "Look after the pennies David, and the hagberg falling numbers will look after themselves." She was mad mind. I feel really guilty about putting those powdered down pills into her tea all those years. Still, I'd have never forgiven myself if I'd have got her pregnant.

CBOT Closing Comments


May Soybeans closed at USD9.85 ¾, up 3 cents; May Soybean Meal at USD287.40, down USD1.20; May Soybean Oil USDt $38.80, up 26 points. China bought an additional 120,000 MT of US soybeans for 2009/10 delivery. Net weekly export sales of 101,100 MT for delivery in 2009/10 were poor. Net sales of 691,000 MT for delivery in 2010/11 were all for China.


May Corn futures closed at USD3.60 ½, up 3 ½ cents; December Corn futures were at USD3.83 ¾, up 6 cents. Weekly export sales were a combined total 1.43 MMT, surpassing pre-report estimates. China buying US corn is certainly supportive, rumours are that they may have purchased significantly more the what has so far been confirmed by the USDA.


May CBOT Wheat closed at USD4.84 ½, up 8 ¼ cents; May KCBT Wheat USD4.97 ½, up 6 cents; May MGEX Wheat at USD5.17, up 4 cents. Weekly wheat export sales were better than expected at 173,100 MT for delivery in 2009/10 plus 295,300 MT for delivery in 2010/11. Commodity funds bought an estimated 4,000 contracts of CBOT wheat.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

May London wheat closes GBP0.55 higher at GBP103.70/tonne, with May Paris wheat up EUR0.75 at EUR132.25/tonne.

The USDA confirmed the sale of US corn to Chins, rumours suggest that more than yesterday's 115,000 NT mat have been sold in that direction.

That's potentially pretty bullish, the Chinese haven't been volume buyers of US corn for several years. Anything that takes corn off the market also potentially has to be pretty bullish for wheat.

A weak pound and very weak euro also helped support EU prices today.

It seems that there have been some over confident shorts out there, who have basically got squeezed out.

Large EU crops are not too far away now however, so it difficult to imagine things running ahead too far to the upside either.

Quick Note

Out all day today doing "stuff" back tomorrow (Fri), any incoming emails etc will be answered then. What will the markets have done by then? Especially the European ones with another live TV debate tonight between the three main protagonists at next week's UK election, and EU country's credit ratings dropping like flies.

I'd have to be bearish on both the euro and sterling. Greece is starting to look like just the tip of a very large and expensive iceberg that could sink the entire eurozone. And when the ship starts to go down it's every man for himself. The pressure must be on France and Germany to protect what they've got and desert to paddle their own canoes. And the IMF haven't got a big enough lifeboat to rescue the rest of the passengers.

CBOT Closing Comments


May Soybeans closed unchanged at USD9.82 ¾; Nov Soybeans at USD9.65 ½, up 3 ¾ cents; May Soybean Meal at USD288.60, up USD1.60; May Soybean Oil at USD38.54, down 58 points. Trade estimates for tomorrow's USDA soybean export sales report average around 850,000 MT. Strength from corn helped, although a firmer dollar hindered.


May Corn futures closed at USD3.57, up 9 ½ cents; December Corn futures closed at USD3.77 ¾, up 8 ¾ cents. Private exporters reported to the USDA the sale of 115,000 MT to China this morning. That could potentially open the door for large scale US exports, although GM reservations need to be overcome before that could happen.


May CBOT Wheat ended at USD4.76 ¼, down 2 cents; May KCBT Wheat at USD4.91 ½, down 1 cent; May MGEX Wheat at USD5.13, down 3 ¼ cents. Analysts' average estimates for tomorrow's USDA weekly export sales report are 350,000 MT. A firmer dollar kept prices on the defensive, as to did strong winter wheat condition ratings and spring wheat plantings well ahead of normal.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

May London wheat ended GBP0.65 higher at GBP103.15/tonne, with May Paris wheat up EUR1.50 at EUR131.50/tonne.

It was another volatile day with prices trading on both sides, but dollar strength (and euro/sterling weakness) ultimately held sway overall.

EU rapeseed had an extraordinary day for the second one running, trading sharply lower early on, before reversing that to go significantly higher, although ultimately ending EUR6.25/tonne below the days highs.

That kind of illustrates the type of market we are in at the moment, with shirts being lost and won on a daily basis.

Wheat shorts have had a rude reminder that they can't always have things their own way ad infinitum. At the end of the day of the producer won't sell, then they ultimately get caught between a rock and a hard place.

That said, there are probably a few rude reminders in store for western European growers too once Mr Eastern Europe has had his store cupboards replenished before too long.

Brown Misquoted

Gordon Brown is facing another controversy today after allegedly referring to a member of the Rochdale public as a "bigoted woman".

"Did you see the size of her shoes, they were enormous, she was at least a size nine, possibly a nine and a half," explained the visually impaired PM.

"I simply stated that she was a big footed woman," he went on.

"I was halfway through a packet of Toffo's at the time, so it's entirely possible that you may have misheard me, but that's definitely what I said. You have my word on that, and you can put my word in the bank," he finished.

"That big they were mate, bloody enormous things, like that Yeti thing you lot have over there she was, what do you call it?"

CBOT Early Call

The overnight grains closed with beans up 3-4 cents, corn 4-6 cents higher and wheat mixed a cent or so either side.

The dollar is firmer and crude oil mixed.

The American Petroleum Institute said that US crude oil stocks rose by a hefty 5.3 million barrels again last week. The US Energy Dept will report on stocks themselves later today.

The dollar is gaining, albeit against a particularly euro and sterling.

Temperatures got down to low 30's in Illinois last night under clear skies, but it's premature to be talking any crop damage to newly planted corn.

Daytime temps will be tending cooler and wetter staring tomorrow.

The USDA have confirmed a sale of 115,000 MT of old crop US corn to China. Other reports suggest that additional smaller 50-55,000 MT sales (which don't have to be reported immediately) may also have been made.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 3 to 5 higher; soybeans called 1 to 3 higher; wheat called flat to 2 lower.

Every Dust Cloud....

UK farmers markets and local farm shops report a pick up in business as tight-fisted consumers have been forced to buy local produce, as opposed to Kenyan courgettes and mange tout from Guatemala in the wake of the disruption to air traffic cased by the Icelandic volcano eruption. Blimey, that was a long sentence wasn't it? You never know they might even get to prefer the taste, which reminds me what did I do with that text joke about the difference between Cheryl Cole and the Icelandic volcano? Something to do with the volcano still blowing ash I think it was....

Bang! Fire!

Not to be outdone by Europe, in America they've had an explosion AND a fire which has damaged a silo at the ConAgra grain plant in Chester, Randolph County, Illinois.


Reports suggest that the Bunge-owned rape/soya processing plant in Mannheim that was badly damaged in a fire on Monday will need demolishing if it doesn't collapse first.

Atishoo, Atishoo, We All Fall Down

That could have some fairly significant repercussions on the rape market (both seed demand and meal/oil supply) for the rest of the year.

Supermarket Wars

Asda have said that as proof that they will not be beaten on price, they will give you the difference back if you can prove that you could have got your shopping cheaper elsewhere.

To qualify for your refund all you have to do is go to, and laboriously type in the details of your shop one by one.

If you find that you could indeed have bought your shopping cheaper elsewhere, then you get a voucher for the difference (plus a penny). Whoopeee!

You can then use this next time you go to Asda to buy your weekly shop (presumably also at dearer prices than you could have bought it elsewhere).

Unless your smart like me and only buy one item that you KNOW is cheaper elsewhere (there are probably rules against this but I can't be bothered to check).

So what's the point of that then? I know that Lucozade is cheaper in my local Costcutter than it is in Asda, but instead of going down the road to Costcutter to buy it, I will go to Asda instead to get a refundable voucher for the difference (plus a penny).

When I get there my car will get scratched in the sardine-esque car park, I will fight my way through the closely packed shelves, and every Mong in the surrounding environs (some of them in Asda uniform) dribbling onto my shoes, to triumphantly purchase my Lucozade at more money than I know it is in Costcutter.

I will then return home in a foul mood, shoes splattered in the saliva of half a dozen assorted Neanderthals, go to, where I then probably have to register and agree to have fifteen emails a day for life from them telling me that spam is on offer in Lidl and kumquats are 20p off in Waitrose, before printing out my voucher entitling me to go back again next week a penny richer and do it all again.

They haven't thought this through have they?

Sterling And Euro Slide As Greek Tragedy Unfolds

The pound and euro are under pressure again this morning as the magnitude of Greece's debt tragedy unfold, with Portugal waiting in the wings about to also seemingly take to the stage.

It's not like we haven't known about these things for months is it, it's the size of the problem that hasn't been made entirely clear. When you go to the bank for a last ditch loan, you don't tell them that all your credit cards are up to the max and the bailiffs arrive tomorrow anyway do you?

The spotlight has again been cast on sterling, trying to hide behind the stage curtain. How will Britain sort it's debt problems out? Is there a plan? And if there is who is going to be in charge to implement it?

The sudden surge in popularity of the Lib-Dems appears to make a hung parliament seem more than likely next week. Even Mr Popular Nick Clegg now seems to be squirming under the spotlight when asked for a direct answer to a direct "will you only get into bed with Labour if the one-eyed Jock gets the boot?"

"Erm, well let's mutter something about kingmakers, that will get everyone confused. Who are the kingmakers? You are the kingmakers. Those bad people over there aren't the kingmakers. Right, that's cleared that up then. Next question?"

With muppets like this in charge it's hardly surprising that confidence is waning is it? If it was a play I'd have left by now.

The pound is down to 1.5170 against the dollar this morning, it's lowest since April 8th.

Meanwhile in Europe we've gone from a situation of banks not lending to the public sector, to them also not lending to the private sector, to them now not even wanting to lend to fellow European countries.

As per usual the US dollar is one of the main beneficiaries of this latest flight to safety. The Fed are widely expected to leave rates on hold later today, but accompanying upbeat comments from Ben Bernanke over a rosy outlook for the US economy could strengthen the dollar further.

It isn't hard to envisage more dollar appreciation against both the pound and sterling in the weeks ahead that's for sure.

CBOT Closing Comments


May Soybeans closed at USD9.82 ¾, down 16 cents; May Soybean Meal at USD287, down USD7.60; May Soybean Oil at 39.12, down 17 points. Crude oil was sharply lower, and the dollar significantly higher on news that Greece and Portugal had had their credit ratings downgraded. Greece was downgraded to junk status. Stock indices also closed sharply lower. Harvesting in Brazil is now 94% completed, according to Celeres. The USDA will report on US soybean planting progress for the first time this season on Monday.


May Corn futures closed at USD3.47 ½, down 4 ¾ cents; December Corn futures were at USD3.69, down 7 ½ cents. Although last night's USDA planting progress report said that sowings are well ahead of normal, weather conditions are now turning to cool an wet. "Cumulative heat units in March and April are above last spring and normal. History shows that springtime warmth promotes fast planting and strong spring growth. However, a persistent warm pattern from spring through summer is negative for corn, reducing soil moisture and cutting the yield," says Gail Martell of Martell Crop Projections.


May CBOT Wheat closed at USD4.78 ¼, up 2 ¼ cents; May KCBT Wheat at USD4.92 ½, up 2 cents; May MGEX Wheat at USD5.16 ¼, up 3 cents. Wheat was overdue a day to slightly rebalance earlier differentials between it and corn/soybeans, although US wheat still remains over-priced globally. Yesterday's price action was almost certainly exaggerated by a large sell order mid-session.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

May London wheat ended down GBP1.40 at GBP102.50/tonne, with May Paris wheat EUR1.50 lower at EUR130.00/tonne.

US wheat futures crashed late in the session last night, and added to those losses in overnight trade. That took the shine off recent gains on the European market.

Greece had it's credit rating downgraded to "junk" by Standard & Poor, whilst Portugal's rating was also lowered. That hit the euro, which helped Paris wheat in particular from falling as low as it might have done under the circumstances.

There are few serious threats to EU wheat production so far in 2010, and there seem to be few also elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. Rallies should therefore be sold into, in my humble opinion.

May Paris rapeseed, which had been enjoying something pf a renaissance period of late, closed a stunning EUR18.50 lower following the news that a major German processing facility had been put out of action for at least two or three months.

It will probably be at least 6-12 months judging on latest reports.

That highlights how quickly things can change in this market, if you see an opportunity to sell at a profit then take it.

CBOT Early Call

The overnight session finished mixed, but mostly lower with beans around 6c easier, corn down 3-4 cents and wheat off a cent or so.

Are we in for another turnaround Tuesday? If so there are few signs of it so far.

The dollar is firmer and crude oil best part of a dollar lower.

The USDA didn't throw up any concerns with last night's reports, corn planting is well advanced at 50% done, and spring wheat likewise at 43% complete. Winter wheat is 69% good/excellent.

The weather in the US is set to be a little less kind in the week ahead, with a shift to cooler and wetter.

There doesn't seem to be a major crop worry on the radar screens anywhere in the world right now. At least not one that is being taken seriously. There could be some question marks over China, but there are still some over the size of last year's crops and those from the year before to be addressed first.

The Russian grain crop may top 100 MMT this season, EU crops are generally looking in pretty fine fettle too, and Australia and Argentina are about to start planting winter wheat.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 2 to 4 lower; soybeans called 5 to 7 lower; wheat called 1 to 3 lower.

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Rumours of a fire at a major rapeseed processing facility on the continent turned out to be true, with a Bunge-owned plant on Friesenheim island at Mannheim in Germany the unlucky victim.

The fire apparently started at around 12.30 yesterday lunchtime and took 72 fire fighters to bring under control.

The plant had a processing capacity of 1.1-1.3 MMT of oilseeds and is expected to be out of action for some time. Reports suggest that force majeure has already been claimed on contracts for delivery in the next 2-3 months.

More here: Can You Smell Burning?

Premier Foods In A Pickle

The UK's largest food manufacturer, Premier Foods, today report a 5.1% slump in Q1 sales. They say that although sales of it's core brands like Hovis, Branston Pickle, Mister Kipling and Bisto rose slightly during the period, non-branded product sales fell by 13%.

It seems that marketing of these household names looks to be the way to go for the rest of 2010, with Premier announcing that it will spend more money on TV promotions for products like it's 100% British Hovis range.

It did concede however that it expects to lose market share in the second half of the year, as bread rivals Warburton's and Kingsmill also step up promotional activity.

Warburtons is reputedly the second-largest grocery brand in the country, behind Coca-Cola, with sales of GBP581 million in 2009. That beats Hovis by almost GBP150 million for a slice of the GBP2 billion bread market.

Warburtons were supposed to be marketing an all-British loaf for the first time in its 133-year history sometime in Q1 of 2010, although I can't seem to find any confirmation that they've actually launched it yet.

Two of the UK's largest bread manufacturers fighting over market share and going head to head with 100% British loaves can't be a bad thing for UK wheat growers though surely?

Ukraine Crop Conditions

The Ukraine Ag Ministry say that around 600,000 ha of winter sown grains perished at the hands of a cruel winter, that represents around 7% of the total planted area of 8.56 million ha. A further area in excess of 800,000 ha is looking weak or sparse.

They say that 7.96 million ha survived the winter, with 42% of that in good condition and 47% in fair condition.

Canadian Planting Intentions

Stats Canada said today that Canadian farmers will plant around 700,000 acres more rapeseed than last year, sowing 16.9 million acres of the stuff.

All wheat area will tumble by more than 1.2 million acres, or 5%, to 23.2 million acres they said.

With barley area also declining by around 200,000 acres, and a 250,000 increase in oat planted area being matched by a similar sized reduction in flaxseed sowings, there seems to be a few more extra "floating acres" around that could also go into rapeseed production this year.

Can You Smell Burning?

Totally unsubstantiated gossip suggests that there may have been a fire at a rapeseed crushing facility on the continent. Which may partially explain why every man & his greyhound are suddenly interested in buying spot rapemeal.

Modest Though I Am

I'm implored by a certain suitably gratuitous compounder to post that aside from the motley collection of knob gags, cheap digs at clinically obese Mrs N#1, and gushing lust for foxy Julia Bradbury, that the odd useful bit does also get posted on here occasionally.

Specifically the one solitary person in the land who seems to have followed Nogger's Rapemeal Strategy posted mid-Feb seems to have done rather well out of it.


Shhhhshhhh, Listen

Can you hear it? It's coming.....

CBOT Closing Comments


May soybeans closed 1 1/4 cents lower at USD9.98 3/4 per bushel; July soymeal was USD2.00 higher at USD294.20; July soyoil finished 12 points lower at 39.74 cents per pound. Soybeans futures were about 9 cents higher at the opening, but gradually wore lower, weighed down by declining crude oil prices, a firm dollar and spillover weakness from wheat. Beans continue to perform quite well considering the record large South American harvest.


Corn futures opened around six cents higher but quickly slipped from those gains to close with May down 3/4 cent at USD3.52 1/4 per bushel, and July down 1 1/2 cents at USD3.59 1/2. The USDA said that corn planting is now 50% complete, compared to just 5% a year ago. Traders were expecting corn planting progress to come in around 45% complete on average with a range of 37% to 50%, in this afternoon's report. The five year average for the same time of year is 28%.


CBOT July wheat ended 17 1/2 cents lower at USD4.88; KCBT July wheat settled 15 1/2 cents lower at USD5.01; MGE July wheat finished 13 1/4 cents lower at USD5.25. Wheat export inspections came in close to only half of last week at 9.846 million bushels compared to 17.893 million bushels a week ago. Spring wheat planting progress at 43% is three times last years pace of 14%, and well up on the five year average of 27%. The winter wheat crop is rated the 69% good/excellent, unchanged from a week ago.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

May London wheat ended GBP0.60 lower at GBP103.90/tonne, with May Paris wheat up EUR0.50 at EUR131.50/tonne.

It was a topsy-turvy sort of a day, with strength earlier in the day propelling front month May London wheat to it's highest levels in more than three months.

Although the overnight eCBOT market was firmer, the afternoon US grains quickly turned lower, with wheat leading the way. That put a bit of a dampener on the Liffe/Euronext markets later in the day.

Even with today's losses though, front month wheat is now around level where we began 2010 on both sides of the Channel, whereas front month wheat on CBOT is around 65 cents lower.

EU wheat seems to have got through the hard winter relatively unscathed, although more frosts are forecast for the end of the week in many parts of northern Europe.

Whilst if anything it's been too dry in the UK, France and Germany of late, very heavy rain is in the forecast again this week for Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and southeast Europe.

Food For Thought

There's an interesting article here on Chinese meat consumption which quotes some things of note:

Chicken consumption accounted for 9 per cent of the total Chinese meat market in 1985, but had risen to 20 per cent by 2008.

Beef's share had jumped from 6 per cent to 14 per cent over the same period.

Pork consumption has doubled in the past ten years.

Compound feed fed to pigs currently accounts for only about 40 million tonnes, but this could rise to about 180 million tonnes as the feeding of swill is phased out under a "safe meat" policy.

Only 40 per cent of all Chinese meat currently complies with this "safe meat" policy, this is expected to reach 80 per cent by 2015.

China's feed market grew by a hefty 24 per cent last year.