Review Of The Week

I don't always get time to do this, but this week in particular I thought it would be especially interesting to put up a league table of the week's performances by the different grains:

Commodity Month Fri Close Weekly Change %
Paris malting barley Nov 169.50 +14.00 +9.0%
Paris wheat Nov 150.25 +10.75 +7.7%
London wheat Nov 111.00 +7.75 +7.5%
CBOT corn Jul 364.00 +23.75 +7.0%
Paris corn Nov 153.25 +8.25 +5.7%
CBOT wheat Jul 478.75 +22.50 +4.9%
CBOT soymeal Jul 294.90 +5.30 +1.8%
CBOT soybeans Jul 962.75 +5.75 +0.1%
Paris rapeseed Nov 326.75 -5.50 -1.7%
CBOT soyoil Jul 36.01 -1.15 -3.1%

Crude oil if you are wondering was 8.5% down on the week, closing at just over USD72/barrel, hence the weakness in soyoil and rapeseed.

After a volatile week, overall the pound closed 1.7 cents higher against the dollar, and fell half a cent against the euro on the week, although it fell 2 1/2 cents against the euro from midweek highs.

Another interesting performer was the Baltic Dry Index, which fell 8.8% during the course of the week, it's now declined for 27 sessions in a row and is 46% down in less than six weeks.

CBOT Closing Comments


July soybeans closed 9 1/4 cents higher at USD9.62 3/4; December soymeal ended USD3.10 higher at USD264.30; December soyoil settled 15 points higher at 36.87. The trade is concerned that Wednesday's USDA acreage figures were overstated for beans. 2009/10 ending stocks are also likely to be reduced on the back of this week's numbers. Informa today pegged the 2010 US soybean crop at 3.385 billion bushels, up on the USDA's estimate last month of 3.31 billion.


July corn ended down 1 1/2 cents at USD3.64; Dec corn closed down 3/4 cent at USD3.72 1/2. Weak crude oil and an uncertain US dollar capped any gains today, ahead of the long 3 day weekend. There was also some consolidation after a couple of days of steep rises. Informa Economics pegged 2010 US corn production at 13.241 billion bushels, slightly lower than last month's USDA estimate of 13.37 billion.


CBOT Sep wheat ended up 3 1/4 cents at USD5.03; KCBT Sep wheat rose 6 cents to USD5.16; MGE Sep wheat ended up 4 1/2 cents at USD5.31. Short covering seems to be the main driver in the market, when you have as many fund shorts as we have seem in this market recently, then they are always going to be vulnerable to an upside rally for little or no apparent reason.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

November London wheat closed GBP1.25 higher at GBP111.00/tonne, with November Paris wheat ended EUR1.75 higher at EUR150.25/tonne.

It was another impressive day for EU grains. On the week as a whole Nov London wheat closed GBP7.75/tonne higher and Nov Paris wheat gained EUR10.75/tonne.

The USDA provided the catalyst Wednesday, with a sharply lower June 1st stocks estimate for corn. Since then we have had reports of significantly lower early yields from French, German and eastern European barley harvests.

Anecdotal reports also suggest that the Ukraine OSR harvest isn't going too well either. It seems that a combination of a hard winter and a dry spring is impacting on yields quite badly.

I would guess that much of the recent rally is to do with speculative shorts covering in their positions, as opposed to consumer buying.

The Black Sea harvest is almost upon us, and they will be aggressive sellers no matter what.

The Rain In Ukraine Is Really Quite A Pain

Mike Lee, our Ukrainian correspondent, says that his first combines of OSR are ready to roll this weekend. That is if the kind of heavy downpours that are afflicting the region leave anything left to combine.

"I would expect the OSR (yields) to be down and it may go even lower as localised heavy showers knock seed out of brittle pods. Some people apply pod stickers but I reckon you would need super glue to keep pods intact after the sort of summer downpours we get," says Mike.

Check out Mike's blog for a video of the latest on Uk-Rain-e.

CBOT Early Call

The overnight trade closed mixed with beans mostly 2-3 cents higher, corn 2-3 cents easier and wheat 1-2 cents lower.

Crude oil and the dollar are both slightly weaker.

It looks like we will see the market take a bit of a breather from the heavy action witnessed Weds/Thurs heading into a long weekend. That most likely will mean a lower trend tonight.

Soybeans closed higher overnight, and there is a feeling around that the USDA's acreage numbers are over optimistic, whilst the old crop stocks situation is tighter than anticipated.

The USDA are out again next week with their WASDE and ending stocks estimates, they should drop old crop ending stocks for corn and soybeans, but raise them for wheat after this week's numbers, but who can tell? This is the USDA we are talking about here.

The Argy soybean harvest is over at around a record 55 MMT and the corn harvest there is all but finished too. Winter wheat plantings are past halfway.

Hot and dry weather may have cut European and Black Sea grains production it seems. Early barley harvesting results are pretty disappointing in most of this region.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans called 2-4 cents higher, corn and wheat down 1-3 cents. Informa are out midsession with their global production numbers.

It's Kicking Off In Moldova Now

I'm starting to feel a bit like Jeff Sterling here, as the scores start to filter through on a busy Saturday afternoon.

The winter harvesting campaign is expected to kick off in Moldova this weekend, before gradually moving north where harvesting is still a fortnight away.

The OSR harvest has already begun, with yields averaging 1.6 MT/ha (no idea if that's good my Moldovian standards, although obviously you wouldn't be rushing to the Range Rover dealership with that over here).

It shouldn't take too long to get the winter wheat harvest in, they've only planted 270,000 ha of the stuff, a third down on what was sown for 2009.

They'll be dancing on the streets of Chisinau over to Forest Green where there's been a sending off...

Kazakh Stan

Our man "Stan" has come back to Blightly for a few days "to cool off" and "hang out with some women that don't have long bushy beards" before heading back to the frying pan that is Kazakhstan tomorrow. I wonder idly if Jet2 do flights from Leeds/Bradford? Stag weekends in Kazakhstan, women in kaftan's with long bushy beards gyrating seductively around a scaffolding pole. It might catch on.

Anyway, "Stan" says that when he left, "they were suffering a serious drought – only having had 7mm of rain since 1st April – so wheat was wilting – literally & OSR was being desiccated in situ – as they also have those very strong drying winds – so not sure what to expect next week..!!!"

More as we get it....

More Early EU Barley Harvest Reports

The Italian winter barley harvest is in full swing, with around 25-30% threshed so far, according to my German correspondent Joachim Ruhmann of DLR.

Yields are understood to vary greatly, as is usual in Italy, but predominately range 58-61 kg/hl, Joachim tells me.

At home in Germany the very first barley to be cut this week is coming in with generally very low moisture levels of around 12%, says Joachim. Early protein levels vary from below 10% to slightly over 11%, he adds.

Temperatures have warmed up considerably, with 27C in the early morning in the Upper Rhine Valley, currently rising to 33C by lunchtime. This has led to rapid ripening of barley on better soils very quickly, with a fresh wave of harvesting expected to start in the southwest of the country over the weekend if the weather holds, he concludes.

Dalmark Grain Launch New Mobile 'App'

Those nice people at Dalmark Grain have launched a new easy to navigate mobile 'app' to help you keep in touch with the grain markets wherever you are. And it's not just an app that works exclusively on an iPhone either, it should work on any modern smartphone with mobile web-browsing capabilities, they say.

It features all the London/Paris grains/oilseeds, including the new malting barley contract, along with Chicago day & night markets, crude oil, fertiliser prices, charts, currency cross rates, and even daily market reports.

Best of all, it's FREE for everyone, you don't even have to register, simply point your mobile browser to and enjoy. They must be mad I reckon:

Early Morning Snippets

There's a story on Dow Jones Newswires this morning saying that China bought three cargoes (180,000 MT) of French feed barley for July/Sep shipment sometime last month.

The Baltic Dry Index closed 55 points down at 2351 yesterday, it has now closed lower for 26 sessions in a row.

Much of last night's strength in CBOT wheat can probably be attributed to fund short-covering. Estimates for that range from 15-25,000 contracts.

The 2010/11 grain harvest in Ukraine so far mounts to 911,000 MT of mostly winter barley as of 1st July, according to the local Ag Ministry.

With fully two months of the 2009/10 marketing year left US soybean exports currently stand at 1.36 billion bushels, against a USDA target of 1.455 billion for the entire period. Existing sales, including those as yet unshipped, for the period have already reached over 1.44 billion. That would suggest that a cut in old crop ending stocks should be on the cards in next week's USDA S&D report due July 9th.

That crop report is likely to be bearish for wheat on the basis of the increased June 1st stocks and acreage figures that the USDA released on Wednesday.

Informa are due to release their global production estimates during CBOT trading hours this afternoon. There will be plenty of interest in what they have to say for problem areas like Russia and Canada.

After two days of steep rises, and with an extended holiday weekend due in the US, logic suggests that tonight we could see futures consolidate somewhat and close a little lower. Corn, and to a lesser degree soybeans, have done rather well to ignore the sharp declines in crude oil this past few days.

What Does USDA Stand For? Unreliable Stocks, Dodgy Acreage?

That is what it seems to me. Yesterday's surprises are probably really only a correction to mistakes made as long as twelve months ago if you ask me. In the June 2009 Acreage report you may recall that our chums shocked the trade by coming in uniformly higher across the board for wheat, corn and soybeans acres than the trade had been expecting.

Despite the widely publicised late plantings and extremely wet conditions that prevailed throughout the growing season last year, they then proceeded to "up the ante" by raising yield estimates to record levels as well. Cue much back slapping and high fives all round, see "2009 Crop Year is One for the Record Books, USDA Reports" for example, on the USDA's own website.

Suddenly, fast forward twelve months, and US corn stocks are much lower than anyone thought. Lower than the lowest trade estimate. How can this be, where has it all gone? We know, or should know, what the level of exports and usage have been, so why aren't the stocks there at the end of the day?

Could it be that they were never there in the first place? Is it possible that yesterday's corn stocks numbers were simply a realignment, getting us a bit more in touch with the reality of the situation? Last year's corn crop was overstated but it's taken them until now to redress the balance?

It's not difficult to imagine, we are after all talking about the same guys who to this day STILL have Argy wheat production for 2009/10 at 9.6 MMT, when just about everybody else (including the whole of Argentina) has it at around 7.5 MMT. Now 2.1 MMT difference might not sound like a lot, so let's call it almost 22% instead. Just imagine if 22% of the world's grain stocks didn't really exist, they'd just been overstated and the USDA are just a bit too embarrassed to correct it.

So if last year's US record corn crop was overestimated, it seem a pretty fair assumption that the record soybean crop was too. Wednesday's ending stocks there also came in at lower than the lowest trade estimate. What's going on here, stealth accounting? And have they decided to hit us with all the bad news on one go here, or are there more overstates to be clawed back in the future too?

All of this kind of poses the next question of exactly how reliable are these acreage estimates then too? If you like records, and it seems that the USDA do, then this season's soybean area will be record large at just shy of 79 million acres.

Yet widespread wet weather (again) may well have curtailed farmer's best efforts to get all those soybean acres in. Remember here that it seem like we are only finding out now that what they were predicting last year, in reality, probably didn't actually happen.

Iowa has received 10 inches of rain in June, a whopping 60-75% above normal, according to Martell Crop Projections. The worst summer flooding in 100 years occurred in 1993 causing widespread damage in corn and soybeans. That year a US corn finished with a very poor yield, down 18% below trend, they say. Yet Midwest Corn Belt rainfall from April to June this year was even wetter than this "once in a century" flood of 1993.

Are all those soybean acres really going to get planted? And what are the real implications for final yields in 2010?

The truth of the matter is that we probably won't really know for sure for another twelve months (or more), and that the market will continue to trade whatever numbers the USDA decides to throw our way, as we all hang on their every word because that's the way it's always been.

You only know that the pot is empty, when the pot is empty, and then it's too late.

CBOT Closing Comments


July soybeans settled 5 cents higher at USD9.53 1/2 a bushel; July soymeal ended USD2.10 higher at USD291.50; July soyoil settled 41 points lower at 35.87. Spillover support from buoyant corn futures helped beans close in positive territory, although a weak performance by crude oil limited gains. Weekly export sales were ahead of expectations at 264,000 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 451,000 MT for delivery in 2010/11. Tight old crop stocks is keeping front-end premiums.


July corn closed 11 1/4 cents higher at USD3.65 1/2; December corn ended up 11 cents at USD3.84 1/2 a bushel. Export sales of 649,700 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 76,500 MT for delivery in 2010/11 were below expectations. However spillover support from yesterday's surprise stocks and acreage numbers from the USDA provided good underlying support. The five day weather forecast is calling for 1 to 2 inches of rain in the already drenched areas of the Midwest. Dollar weakness also added support.


CBOT September wheat finished up 19 1/2 cents at USD4.99 3/4; KCBT September wheat rose 14 cents to USD5.10; MGE September wheat rallied 14 1/4 cents to USD5.26 1/2. Spillover strength from corn flushed some more nervous shorts into the market today. Yesterday's USDA report caught everybody on the hop, the subsequent strength in corn has undermined hefty fund short positions in wheat. Export sales were in line with forecasts at 418,400 MT. Although the HRW wheat harvest is winding down in Kansas, the five day forecast predicts more rain for SRW wheat states like Missouri, which has already been plagued by above normal rainfall this year.

EU Wheat Extends Recent Gains

EU wheat markets added to their recent gains Thursday, with Nov London feed wheat ending GBP2.50 higher at GBP109.75/tonne, and Nov Paris milling wheat up EUR2.75 at EUR148.50/tonne.

Paris corn was also sharply higher for a second day with Nov posting gains of EUR2.75, and Nov malting barley up EUR3.25/tonne.

Nothing can go down forever, and it seems that the speed and severity of this week's price spike has caught a few complacent shorts by surprise.

Reports are slowly filtering through that very early yields in various parts of Europe are disappointing.

With the Russian grain crop getting sharply downgraded in size this week, plus concerns over unplanted acres in Canada and drought hurting wheat in Kazakhstan it appears that final production numbers for 2010 are likely to be lower than current official estimates.

Quality looks like being an issue in some places too, like flooded eastern Europe and many parts of the Midwest where disease, mould and vomitoxin are being reported.

Whilst the recent heatwave in northern France and the UK may have taken the top off yields, hopefully it will have added something to the quality of this year's crop, which would be refreshing.

USDA Export Sales

The USDA weekly export sales for the period June 18-24 were as follows:

Corn: sales of 649,700 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 76,500 MT for delivery in 2010/11 were below expectations for combined sales of 850,000 – 1,450,000 MT. China was not in evidence. Exports of 952,400 MT were up 16 percent from the previous week.

Wheat: sales of 418,400 MT for the 2010/11 marketing year were in line with expectations of 350,000 – 450,000 MT. Exports were 548,600 MT.

Soybeans: sales of 264,000 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 451,000 MT for delivery in 2010/11 were ahead of expectations for combined sales of 450,000 – 550,000 MT. China bought 60,000 MT old crop and 341,000 MT new crop. Unknown also took 73,500 MT old and 110,000 MT new crop. Exports of 138,400 MT were down 42 percent from the previous week, with nothing going to China.

Spanish Crop Prospects

Heavy winter and spring rains, whilst causing havoc with widespread flooding at the time, appear to have done this season's Spanish cereal harvest the world of good.

According to the Spanish Cooperative Agro-Food, barley production this season will climb almost 22% to 8.3 MMT, despite farmers planting less of the grain due to depressed domestic prices.

Soft wheat output this year will increase to 4.57 MMT, with oat production of around 1 MMT and rye at just under 270,000 MT also up on last season. The durum wheat crop however will be sharply lower as growers cut back seedings significantly due to large carryover stocks from last season, coming in at just over 850,000 MT, they estimate.

Although they didn't put an estimate on 2010 corn production, they say that spring sowings are down by almost a quarter at 309,000 hectares, from 399,000 in 2009.

Serious Stuff In Western Australia

Farmers in Western Australia have got so fed up with low grain prices and lack of rain that their winter sowings this year will be 10% down "if we're lucky" according to this report: here.

They're predicting a grain crop for Australia's largest producing state well below ABARE's estimate of 12 MMT.

The final paragraph sums it up: "If anyone is doing any more sowing, it is for soil conservation purposes on the sand plains to stop it blowing."


The Baltic Dry Index closed 41 points down at 2406 yesterday, day 25 of straight declines.

Reports from France suggest that early barley yields are 5-10% down on last year.

Hearing that early Ukraine rapeseed yields are also disappointing, down 15-20%.

Iraq is tendering for "at least" 100,000 MT of wheat.

Tate & Lyle have announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale of its EU Sugar Refining operations to American Sugar Refining, Inc. for GBP211 million.

The HGCA say that "a return to dry weather in the latter half of the month (June), accompanied by high temperatures, has increased soil moisture deficits, with some over 125mm in the drier eastern counties, and concerns remain over potential yield impact if the dry period continues during grain fill." The say that the earliest UK winter barley and winter oilseed rape crops will be ready for harvesting in 2-3 weeks.

CBOT Close


July soybeans closed at USD9.48 1/2, up 1 1/4 cents; July soybean meal closed at USD289.40, down USD0.40; July soybean oil closed at 36.28, up 35 points. This morning's quarterly grain stocks report showed soybean stocks ns at 571 million bushels, below the trade average estimate of 594 million bushels. Planted acreage came in at 78.868 million acres over the average trade estimate of 78.18.


July corn rose 29 1/4 cents to USD3.54 1/4;, Dec corn ended up 29 1/2 cents at USD3.73 1/2. The quarterly stocks report showed 4.310 billion bushels of corn on hand which was below the lowest range of estimates. Corn acres were also a surprise to the trade coming in below the low end of trade estimates at 8.872 million acres.


July CBOT wheat closed at USD4.64 3/4, up 22 3/4 cents; July KCBT wheat closed at $4.86, up 17 3/4 cents; July MGEX wheat closed at USD5.07, up 14 1/2 cents. Planted acres were at 54.305 million, up from the 53.825 million acres average trade guess, but planted acres were still down 8% from 2009 and the lowest since 1971. The stocks report showed wheat stocks as of June 1 at 973 million bushels which was 33 million bushel above the average trade estimate.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

November London feed wheat closed GBP3.25 higher at GBP107.25/tonne, and November Paris milling wheat ended EUR5.00 higher at EUR145.75/tonne.

Suddenly ideas are emerging that all is not well with crop production around the world.

Russian, Kazakh and Hungarian output and quality are all suddenly being subject to serious trade scrutiny.

A sharply higher dollar late in the day also helped to support EU grains.

Everybody keeps talking the market down, so we are bound to have the odd "correction" now and again.

Tonight looks like we have witnessed one of them.

Early EU Harvesting

My newest chum Joachim reports to me that early harvested barley in Hungary has been showing disappointing results with specific weights of around 57-58kg/hl, with better samples above 60kg/hl hard to find at the moment.

Higher testing parcels are asking EUR95/tonne ex farm, but finding few takers amongst Italian buyers who prefer to wait for what will likely be better quality new crop barley to come out of France and German in the next week or two, he says. Early harvested barley samples in Austria are also seeing poor quality, he adds.

The Hungarian Agricultural Ministry today said that the country will harvest 4.53 MMT of wheat this season, that's a little better than last year, but flooding is casting a question mark over quality, they added.

Further east, early harvesting in Russia is taking place due to drought stress, rather than advanced crops, according to this report on the excellent

Whilst that report seems to suggest that Kazakh crops may escape too many drought problems, I'm not so sure based on other reports I am reading. We are waiting to hear what Ukraine agronomist Mike Lee's mate, "Stan" in Kazakhstan has to say, since he reported on some pretty dire weather conditions earlier in the month.

In Ukraine though, winter heat is "turning and generally looks good, weed and disease levels are low," reports Mike. You can read more of Mike's stuff and check out a few of his pictures here.

The Magic Numbers

Here's today's all important scores on the doors from our old inept buddies, the USDA:

June Acreage (million acres):
USDA Jun Avg Est Range Mar USDA 2009
Soybeans 78.868 78.183 76.528-78.900 78.100 77.500
Corn 87.872 89.229 88.100-90.153 88.800 86.500
All wheat 54.305 53.825 53.500-54.087 53.800 59.133
June 1st Stocks (billion bushels):
Soybeans 0.571 0.594 0.580-0.620 1.270 0.596
Corn 4.310 4.598 4.459-4.784 7.694 4.261
Wheat 0.973 0.940 0.929-0.950 1.352 0.657

Miss Tibbs appears to have thrown her darts a bit on the low side when it comes to those corn acres, almost one and a half million below the average trade guess and almost a quarter of a million beneath the lowest trade estimate.

Bean acres came in right at the top end of trade estimates, whilst wheat acres came in half a million higher than anticipated, and above the upper estimate.

At least the shortfall in corn is balanced by the increases in beans and wheat, so the numbers do still "add up", unlike last season when the June numbers were all uniformly higher than anticipated across the board.

Old crop bean and corn stocks are a bit lower than the average trade guess. That doesn't surprise me too much given the pace of exports of late.

What the bare figures above don't show either is the harvested acres estimates, for corn these are 81.005 million, a hefty 6.8 million below the planted area. Whereas for beans the estimated harvested area is less than a million acres below that planted at 77.986 million.

Check out oats too: planted 3.176 million (the lowest on record), harvested 1.315 million.

Early calls are all over the place, but corn likley to lead the way higher, some are saying 20-30 up on corn, 10-15 up on beans, 5-10 up on wheat. I'll forecast 15-20 up on corn, 5 up on beans and flat to 2 lower wheat.

Western Australia Wheat 'Not Looking Good At All'

An interesting article on Bloomberg here today says that wheat output in Australia's largest producing and exporting state is under threat from lack of rainfall this year.

State capital Perth is set to record the second driest June in it's history, it says. Wheat production may fall nearly 19% from last year, and almost 27% on the year before to around 6.5 MMT, it adds.

Russian/Kazakh Wheat Production Under Threat

The Russian Ministry have dropped their 2010/11 grain production estimate, saying that drought in the main southern and central areas of the country will reduce output by 3-6 MMT from their previous estimate of 90-93 MMT. That implies a crop of around 87 MMT, 10 MMT down on last season.

The Ministry have been uncharacteristically bullish about grain production hopes all season. This latest estimate brings them into line with last month's forecast from SovEcon of 84-89 MMT.

If recent history is anything to go by, SovEcon always seem to be (at least) one step of the game ahead of the Ministry. It seems that they still are, as today they have cut their estimate to 82-86 MMT, and warned that it could go lower as soaring temperatures and lack of moisture continue to plague the region.

A state of emergency has been declared in Tatarstan (marked 1 on the map below), where almost a million hectares, a third of the planted area, is said to have been lost A similar area has suffered crop damage in nearby Bashkorostan (2), with hot and dry conditions also causing damage in Voronezh (3), Samara (4), Saratov (5), Ulyanovsk (6) and Orenburg (7).

For your convenience I've stitched a couple of maps together, highlighting the major wheat areas in the region and also neighbouring northern Kazakhstan, which has also been suffering from a similar affliction to Russia.

The red line marks the Russian/Kazakh border, with the main growing regions highlighted in the darker green. The three main Kazakh wheat regions Kostanai, North Kazakhstan, and Akmola, account for about 70 percent of the country's total wheat output.

I've also thrown in the USDA's latest percent of normal precipitation map for Apr 1st up until Jun 20th. The following article is well worth a read in conjunction with these maps.

Historically, grain production in Kazakhstan suffers from serious drought two out of every five crop seasons, according to Mark Lindeman of the USDA. "Since virtually none of the wheat is irrigated, yield and production are marked by frequent and sharp year-to-year fluctuations," he says. See Kazakhstan Wheat Production: An Overview here

Baltic Dry Index Down Again

The BDI closed down 35 points at 2447 yesterday, it's 24th straight day of declines. A collapse in Chinese demand for iron ore is what many analysts are saying is behind the rapid demise of the BDI, which was as high as 4074 at the beginning of the month.

Iron ore makes steel, and demand for that has suddenly fallen off a cliff following the Chinese government's decision to cap rapidly rising real estate prices. The global recession has also hit demand for steel from the likes of automotive and appliance manufacturers.

Some pundits are now predicting the BDI to fall to around 2000 by the end of the year, as the global bulk fleet expands as shipping companies take delivery of new vessels that they delayed at the height of the credit crisis.

Cheaper freight levels out the global playing field somewhat, enabling the UK and EU wheat to more easily make inroads into unlikely far-flung destinations. The BDI was below 1000 back in January 2009 when Frontier loaded UK feed wheat in Southampton destined for China.

So a falling freight market might not be entirely bad news for everybody, especially for those with a weak currency like the euro. It should also make imported feed raw materials cheaper too.

CBOT Closing Comments


July soybeans closed at USD9.47 1/4, down 7 3/4 cents; July soybean meal at USD290.20, down USD2.10; July soybean oil at 35.93, down 101 points. China bought 230,000 MT of new crop soybeans today, but even that couldn't underpin the market. A higher dollar and sharply lower crude oil led to the declines ahead of tomorrow's USDA reports. The average trade estimates for June 1 soybean stocks is around 594 million bushels. The average estimate for acreage is 78.183 million acres.


July corn settled 8 3/4 cents lower at USD3.25; December corn ended 8 3/4 cents lower at USD3.44 a bushel. Corn fell for the seventh consecutive day. Favourable US weather and ideas that the USDA will increase corn acres in tomorrow's report had corn under pressure from the off. Trade estimates for tomorrow's quarterly June 1 stocks report average 4.598 billion bushels. Trade estimates say that the planted acreage report will show that US farmers planted 89.229 million acres of corn this year, up from the 88.800 million predicted in March.


July CBOT wheat closed at USD4.42, down 7 1/2 cents; July KCBT wheat at USD4.6/ 1/4, down 10 3/4 cents; July MGEX Wheat at USD4.92 1/2, down 9 cents. Estimates for tomorrow's quarterly stocks report average 940 million bushels for all wheat compared to 657 million a year ago, and 1.352 billion in March. Total wheat acreage is estimated to be down from last year at 53.825 million acres compared to 59.13 a year ago and 53.827 in the March report.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

At the risk of starting to sound boring, EU wheat futures closed narrowly mixed yet again Tuesday. November London wheat was GBP0.25 lower at GBP104.00/tonne, and November Paris wheat EUR1.50 higher at EUR140.75/tonne.

We really seem to be treading water at the moment. We have the barley harvest in France expected to begin this week, closely followed by that in Germany.

We also have the spectre of the USDA's assorted acreage and stocks data due tomorrow.

We have weather concerns, currency uncertainties, the freight market on it's knees and global economic worries aplenty. Is it really any wonder that nobody knows what to do?

If in doubt do nowt, is an old saying in the grain trade, and that is what many seem to be doing. Whether it will prove to be a good idea remains to be seen.

The harvest is underway in America, with prices there wildly uncompetitive compared with Black Sea/EU origins, it would seem like further declines should be seen.

The combines are also rolling in Ukraine, although progress is slow it should soon pick up. They will likely be aggressive sellers no matter what, and then of course we have the Russians. Sellers at less than GBP110/tonne FOB for milling wheat, with the added bonus of a freight advantage.

It's not likely that we are going to see the market up a lot from here in the short term I'd say.

CBOT Early Call

The overnights closed lower, with beans and corn mostly down 2-3 cents and wheat generally around 6-7 cents lower.

Crude oil is almost USD2 weaker at USD76.31/barrel, whilst the dollar is firmer.

Tropical storm Alex will turn into a hurricane but will avoid the current oil spill area in the Gulf making landfall on the Texas/Mexico border. The API are expected to cut their US crude oil stocks estimate by a million barrels today. Traders estimates have proven to be well off the mark the past few weeks though, so don't be surprised if we get another weekly increase.

The trade is unlikely to do anything dramatic to the upside ahead of tomorrow's USDA reports, and probably a further drift lower is on the cards this afternoon.

The USDA as expected dropped their crop condition ratings a little for corn, soybeans and winter wheat last night.

US weather forecasts call for cooler than normal conditions as we enter July, that isn't being seen as an issue as we enter key corn pollination period which will occur over the next 2-3 weeks.

China sold around half of the near 1.6 MMT of corn it had up for auction today. US corn is still cost-effective in the south, the first consignment of US GMO corn that arrived last week has apparently been discharged without a problem.

The USDA have just announced that China bought 230,000 MT of US soybeans for 2010-11 delivery.

The USDA last night said that the winter wheat harvest in Kansas had made great strides to past halfway done last week.

Reports suggest that recent wet weather means that vomitoxin is going to be a problem in wheat in some parts of the Midwest this year.

China buying more US beans might help make them the strongest leg of the complex this afternoon, corn will be underpinned by already close to 9-month lows, but expectations of an acreage increase tomorrow will weigh. Wheat looking to go lower on harvest pressure and continued evidence that US wheat is still expensive relative to Black Sea and EU origins.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn called 1 to 3 lower; Soybeans called 1 to 3 lower; Wheat called 4 to 6 lower.

Germany: One More Game Before Harvest

The Germans have just enough time for one more game in the FIFA World Cup before their 2010 harvest begins, according to my new chum Joachim Ruhmann.

The winter barley harvest will begin in East Germany in around a week's time, he says, followed by a busy rapeseed and wheat harvest starting in late July.

The barley harvest is expected to kick off in the Frühdruschgebieten district of Saxony next week, with farmers there expecting average yields of 6.3-6.5 tonnes/ha, says Joachim.

The rapeseed harvest is likely to begin around three weeks after that in late July. OSR yields are particularly difficult to predict this year, due to the extremely long flowering period witnessed in the spring, says Saxon Farmers' Andreas Jahne.

The rapeseed and wheat harvests look like coinciding this year, "the danger is that everything is pretty crowded," says Jahne, adding that wheat yields are expected to be "about average".

After that comes the corn crop, which is only developing slowly after a cold May and subsequent lack of adequate rainfall, he adds.

The Freight Market

The Baltic Dry Index fell to close at 2482 yesterday, the 23rd straight day of declines, and marking a drop of more than 40% since late May.

Analysts estimate that 90 percent of the world's traded goods by volume are transported by sea, which is why the BDI is normally regarded as a good barometer for the overall health of the global economy.

One of the reasons behind the fall is the Chinese government's recent moves to curb property speculation, which has dampened their demand for steel. That's a disappointment for those hoping that China’s growth is going to get the world out of the economic mess it is trying to extricate itself from.

Of course the BDI is also heavily influenced by the volume of Chinese exports, not just imports. Their government's recent decision to allow the yuan to appreciate, could harm those export prospects, especially to places like Europe with the acute euro weakness we are currently witnessing.

Reports suggest that there are also lots of shiny new ships set to enter the freight market in the second half of 2010 and 2011, which could see the BDI decline further.

The last time the BDI was this low was around September/October 2009, when it briefly fell below 2200 points. CBOT soybeans, corn and wheat all posted seasonal lows around the same time.

Great Start To The Day

Enormous clap of thunder right over the house at 3.20am that even yours truly couldn't sleep through. My initial thought was that a bomb had gone off in the street. The daft old bat at number 82 with her nineteen cats had left the gas on one time too often, before getting up in the middle of the night to empty her colostomy bag and BOOM!

But no, it was the mother of all thunderstorms which brought some welcome heavy rain with it, which will no doubt have pleased the local farming fraternity. Of course then I can't get back to sleep because I'm thinking about widgets and "stuff". Finally doze off just as it's starting to get light. Mrs N#3 is up with the larks as usual, kids to sort out for school, pets to feed, get herself ready for work, next thing she's hammering on the bathroom door that the handle is stuck and she can't get out.

The handle was indeed stuck and despite quickly abandoning attempts to sort the job out using technical means like unscrewing the outer mechanism, brute force was swiftly adopted as a more reasonable solution to the crisis. Meanwhile ten year old George appears from his bedroom to see what all the fuss is about and proffer his help, which was firmly but politely declined. "But I need the toilet," he wails. "Well there's nothing I can do about that, you'll just have to use the garden," I helpfully reply. "I can't," he says pointing ominously to his rear end.

"I've opened the bathroom window, try throwing me up a screwdriver," I get from the other side of the door "It's wide open so even you should be able to manage that..." A hint of sarcasm there, but I let it go.

Right then, outside I go, barefooted and puddles everywhere (it has just lashed it down you will recall). Three throws later and no coconut. "Stand on the wall, that will help you get a better aim," from #3, head now poking out of the window. "No dearest you just stay right there, that will give me all the help my aim needs," I wittily retort, my Oscar the Grouch fatpants now mopping up last night's puddles as if they were made from Plenty, or Bounty or One Sheet or whatever it's called.

And whilst we are on that subject no I don't wear them to bed, but I always keep them handy should I need to run around outside at 7.15am. The shop they came from doesn't do them in "short cut" which I strangely didn't think would be a serious issue at the time, and sadly I didn't have the forethought turn them up.

Right where was I, yes MrsN#3 is stuck in the bathroom, head out of the window. I am running around outside sodden from the knees downwards attempting to emulate my personal hero of Phil "the power" Taylor and hit a treble twenty with a screwdriver from around 20 feet below a small glass dartboard. Anyway, I compose myself, step as gracefully as possible under the circumstances up to the "oche" although there's no sign of Jim Bowen ("don't worry about your charity money, that's safe) and hey presto, straight through the window, I'm in with a shot at Bully's star prize: the speedboat.

Sorted, MrsN#3 now extricates herself with the minimum of fuss (she's always been good with her hands) and the job is sorted, drama over. Phew.

"Right George, you can use the toilet now as you're desperate."

"You told me to go in the garden." Great!

Kelloggs In Giant Product Recall

Kelloggs is voluntarily recalling what some media reports suggest could be "as many as 28 million boxes" of cereals in the US that could cause nausea and diarrhoea.

The problem, they say, is due to "an uncharacteristic off-flavour and smell coming from the liner in the package."

Link here: Cocoa plops?

I wonder how much corn it takes to replace 28 million boxes of breakfast cereal? Answers on a postcard please.

CBOT Closing Comments


July soybeans settled 2 cents lower at USD9.55 a bushel; November soybeans ended 6 1/2 cents higher at USD9.18 1/2; December soymeal closed USD6.40 higher at USD267.50; December soyoil settled 23 points lower at 37.80. New crop soybeans rose in anticipation that the USDA would drop crop ratings again this week, and they did, after the close they said beans rated good/excellent fell 2 points since last week to 67%. Planted progress rose from 93% to 97% done, in line with average. The USDA are expected to leave the 2010 US soybean planted area broadly unchanged from their March estimate on Wednesday at 78.183 million.


July corn closed at USD3.33 3/4, down 6 3/4 cents; December corn ended at USD3.52 3/4, down 7 3/4 cents. Corn hit an 8 month low ahead of Wednesday's USDA acreage report, which is expected to show US farmers have planted 89.229 million acres of corn this year, up from the 88.800 million predicted in March. June 1st US stocks are expected to come in at 4.598 billion bushels, 337 million higher than a year ago. After the close the USDA said that 73% of the crop is rated good/excellent, a 2 point fall on last week.


CBOT September wheat closed down 6 cents at USD4.65; KCBT September wheat fell 5 cents to USD4.89 3/4; MGE September wheat dropped 10 1/4 cents to USD5.13 1/2. CBOT wheat hit a two-week low. The USDA reported that Kansas wheat farmers made rapid progress with the winter wheat harvest last week, advancing from 10% complete to 55% done. Yields are said to be good, although protein levels are a bit low. Export inspections reported this morning were fair at 16.01 million bushels, compared to 13.4 million last week and 11.34 million a year ago.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

EU wheat futures closed Monday mixed. November London wheat finished the day GBP0.40 higher at GBP104.25/tonne, and November Paris wheat closed EUR0.25 lower at EUR139.25/tonne.

London wheat did well to close mostly in positive territory, with the pound hitting a 1 1/2 year high of 1.23 against the euro, and also breaking through 1.51 against the dollar.

Hot and dry conditions in the UK and France may be causing a few concerns for the final stages of grain filling ahead of the harvest.

There was probably also an element of book-squaring ahead of Wednesday's USDA crop reports.

The German harvest looks like it may be a couple of weeks behind normal, which might just tighten up the spot market a little. Meanwhile harvesting in Ukraine has stalled on widespread thunderstorms, the market there was closed today for a national holiday.

The French harvest is likely to start this week.

Egypt bought 120,000 MT of Russian wheat over the weekend, at prices way under French and US origin.

Pound Rises On Hot Air

The pound rose above 1.51 against the dollar for the first time since early May after new chancellor George Osborne said that the government's austerity budget had full support from G20 leaders at their weekend meeting.

The pound also rose to a 1 1/2 year high of 1.2255 against the euro.

BoE MPC member Andrew Sentance was quoted as saying that UK interest rates now needed to gradually increase, and that the bank now needs to begin "withdrawing slightly some of the monetary stimulus we provided over the last 12-18 months."

Better than expected data on US consumer spending also boosted market sentiment.

Indian Wheat Stocks Latest

A few months ago one intrepid Indian reporter filmed video footage of the kind of conditions that government-owned stockpile in Punjab were being kept in, lying moulding in open fields, halfheartedly draped in a bit of tarpaulin.

Now we have the scandalous news of other wheat stocks in Punjab (which contributes nearly half of India's total food grain production), bought on behalf of the Food Corporation of India, containing only 20% wheat and 80% mud, I kid you not. No wonder their "wheat" stocks are so high:

Punjab: 80% mud passed off as wheat

CBOT Early Call

The overnight grains closed mixed with beans up around 1-3 cents, corn down 3-4 cents and wheat 2-3 cents easier.

The USDA are expected to raise their estimate on US corn plantings in Wednesday's June Acreage report.

Before that they will report on crop conditions after the close tonight, 7% of the soybean crop was unplanted as of last Sunday.

Crude oil is down on news that tropical storm Alex will not hit energy platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

US wheat missed out in Egypt's weekend tender by a wide margin indeed, EU wheat was also priced out.

Good progress was made over the weekend with the Kansas wheat harvest, according to media reports.

Argentina say that they've sorted the trade dispute with China that has brought their soyoil exports to a grinding halt. China have yet to confirm that this is indeed the case.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn called 1 to 3 lower; Soybeans called 1 to 3 higher; Wheat called 1 to 2 lower.

Hungary To Harvest 4.5 MMT Of Wheat

Hungary's new agriculture minister, Sandor Fazekas, says that the country should produce around 4.53 MMT of wheat this year, although the harvest this year is delayed by flooding. That's a modest increase on last season, where the government peg production at 4.4 MMT.

Flooding has caused a slight reduction in corn plantings this season to 1.127 million hectares, although it is too early to put an estimate on crop size, he added.

Was It Just Me

Who had an enlightening "I really don't give a monkey's" moment during the game? Am I the only one who thought, you're getting what you deserve you overpaid bunch of self-important muppets? You're not as good as you thought you were are you, not by a very long chalk? Ha, ha Mr Rooney, you petulant plastic Manc.

"We played well at 2-1," says Capello to the BBC, lamenting the goal that wasn't "was the most important moment of the game". What? For the sixty seconds between Upson's goal and Lampard's "goal" we played well, for the remaining 89 minutes it was ineptitude of the highest order. To have maybe gone in at halftime level would have been an enormous shock after what was served up by that lot in red.

And Lord save us when our best hope to save the sinking ship is to brink on Heskey and a little lad with rickets.

Met Office Confirm Britain Getting The Wrong Weather By Mistake

This is an extended Open University educational version of an earlier post....

What's going on? It's Wimbledon and Glastonbury and it's sunny, warm and dry. There's something not quite right here. It's even dry in Scotland, yes Scotland, where the midges and ginger people live. They've only had a third of their normal deluge this month, and Scottish Water have confirmed they were preparing their first drought order in six years.

In Cumbria, yes the Lake District, that place where it always rains all day every day (bullets sometimes). Yes here they are talking of hosepipe bans coming in next week. It has been the driest start to the year since 1929 in Cumbria they reckon, and of course normally they've got so much of the wet stuff that they're giving it away. To Manchester usually, where they are now also talking of hosepipe bans coming in. That explains why Rooney is playing like he couldn't score in a brothel (despite intensive training in his younger days), he's concerned about Colleen's trailing lobelia drying out.

Now they are saying that Wales and the South West of England are next. That's the place they've dubbed the South Wets in recent years. Wales, it's always raining and miserable in Wales, I thought it was compulsory. The locals aren't happy unless they're miserable, it's a well known fact. I'm sure that they brought special laws in just to ensure it was always miserable in Wales, that's why the pubs were always shut on a Sunday for instance. You had to make your own entertainment on Sundays in Wales in those days. You know what I mean don't you? Or should that be ewe know what I mean? "I'm just off up the top field to check them there ewe's Myfanwy*." "Bloody hell Idris, you're always off up there, checking them there ewes and that, isn't it? I sometimes think you love them there ewes more than you love me, and that, isn't it bach."

Today the Met Office have confirmed that the Canadians have been getting all our weather by mistake, and we've been having theirs, something to do with similar place names. Canada, Cumbria, Saskatchewan, Sauchiehall Street, Manitoba, Manchester, Toronto, Truro, Alberta, Llandrindod Wells. When you look at it like that it's easily done. They've got a new girl in the admin department and she's been filing the weather in the wrong place, Met Office CEO Heyugetoffa McCloud, told me by telepathy.

* Educational footnote#1: Myfanwy, daughter of the Norman Earl of Arundel, was said to be the most beautiful woman in Powys (not such a tricky achievement as it sounds).

Many men went to Dinas Brân to court her, but she had nothing to do with them, even if they were rich and handsome (unlikely in Wales) because they were unable to compose and sing poems that supposedly reflected the depth of her beauty. (Remember this was in the pre-Benny Hill days).

Only one man, Hywel ap Einion, a penniless young bard who lived in the valley below the castle, was said to have the talent to satisfy Myfanwy. Luckily, Hywel was in love with Myfanwy (he wasn't, he just thought he was), and one day he plucked up the courage to climb up the hill to the castle with his harp, to sing and play to her. (Firestarter, by the Prodigy)

He was allowed in to play for her, and while playing and complimenting her on her beauty she was said to have been unable to either listen or look at any other man. (For at least ten minutes).

Because of this Hywel believed that she had fallen in love with him (so he dashed out and saddled himself with an enormous loan from Ocean Finance in 18,000 easily affordable monthly repayments for the rest of his life to extend and completely refurbish the castle for Myfanwy. They were in love after all).

His hopes were dashed when a richer, more handsome and more eloquent lover (the captain of the local rugby club, say) arrived on the scene. Hywel was discarded and quickly forgotten by Myfanwy. (Hywel came home from work one night to find his smashed-up harp in a not too carefully arranged collection of bin bags in the hall and Myfanwy upstairs strumming on someone else's harp. Myfanwy got the castle, and Hywel rightly lost his hovel at the bottom of the hill that he'd put up as security too, so it was all very fair and amicable. And they all lived happily ever after. So chin up no harm done eh Hywel old lad, so stop harping on** about it will you, you're doing my head in.)

** Educational footnote#2 - From Nogipedia: "Harping on", to continually moan about the same old thing. Named after the famous Welsh harp-playing peasant Hywel ap Einion, who was a right moaning old git. See also "Hywel never let it lie will you?"

Egypt Buys Russian Wheat Again

Penny pinching cheapskates GASC bought two 60,000 MT cargoes of Russian wheat over the weekend at even cheaper money than they managed to cajole out of sellers last weekend.

USD165/tonne was the magic number this time round, which is now the equivalent of less than GBP110/tonne FOB, with the pound having firmed since the last tender was done.

The cheapest French wheat was almost USD12/tonne dearer than that, with US wheat coming in at USD15/tonne dearer, and that's before you add on a further USD20 or so freight differential.

Egyptian cargo superintendents inspect the latest arrival for brown envelopes.