EU Grains Close

30/03/11 -- May London wheat closed GBP1.35/tonne lower at GBP199.00/tonne with new crop Nov up GBP0.75 to GBP162.50/tonne. May Paris wheat fell EUR4.00/tonne to EUR236.50/tonne whilst Nov was up EUR1.50/tonne to EUR206.50/tonne.

The market is largely treading water ahead of tomorrow's USDA planting intentions and stocks data.

A dry March means that EU farmers are well ahead with fieldwork, although crops in northern areas could do with a drink. The next 24 hours offer a good chance of rain for many of these regions, with further possibilities again at the weekend.

In Germany, spring barley plantings are expected to fall 4.4% according to the association of German farming cooperatives (DRV) as growers there switch to less risky options after large portions of last year's output were downgraded to feed quality following heavy rains late in the season.

Unlike the UK, France and Germany, Spain and Italy have had plenty of rain in March, which has hindered spring plantings although growers there accept that, for them, this is a good problem to have.

Showers in the coming days will support North African wheat development, which is currently at the crucial heading stage. Moisture conditions are said to be adequate in most areas.

The US agricultural attaché forecasts wheat production in the world's largest buyer, Egypt, reaching 7.9 MMT this year, up 10% from 7.2 MMT last year.

The US agricultural attaché in Russia forecasts wheat production there rising to 52.5 MMT this year, a 27% increase on 2010 on a higher harvested area and better yields.

Ukraine have announced that they will extend the existing grain export quota system, due to expire tomorrow, to the end of June.