World Crop Weather Highlights

25/02/11 -- World agri-weather highlights from the excellent Martell Crop Projections:

  • Heavy precipitation mostly rain fell yesterday Mid South, Eastern Midwest; moisture needed to replenish dry fields; more of the same predicted next week; bitter cold persisting Canadian prairies and Northern US Plains, spring wheat areas

  • Brazil Mato Grosso state still super wet, daily thunderstorms; more rain would be welcome in South Brazil, rather dry past 7-10 days; moisture needed in Rio Grande do Sul, soybeans filling pods; dry finish to growing season would hurt the yield

  • Argentina weather dry and very cool; night lows in the 50sF; autumn weather arriving early; soil moisture excellent in Cordoba, Santa Fe, Entre Rios; coolness promotes pod filling in soybeans; field moisture vastly improved from heavy rain, 8-11 inches since mid January; minor soy states in northeast Argentina super-wet last week

  • Dryness in France easing, scattered showers this week; more rain needed , 2-3 inch moisture deficit central France Jan-Feb; snowfall in SE Europe yesterday; moisture is needed; temperature contrast persisting, West Europe warm, East Europe and Ukraine cold

  • Australia rain set to return to Northern New South Wales, has been dry in February; Western Australia winter wheat area still hot, highs in the 90s; showers expected, not enough to offset heat; planting still a couple months off

  • China rainfall in winter wheat still has not materialized; GFS model insists rain is coming 0.75 to 1.5 inch eastern Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu; forecast not too wet northern wheat area Shandong, Hebei; warming temperature forcing wheat out of dormancy

  • Hot 80-90s F returned to India subcontinent; winter rapeseed (rainfed) is too warm and dry; Northwest India wheat faring better, scattered showers, cooler temperatures; temp forecast still favourably cool NW India

  • Still bitterly cold Russia Volga wheat region; night lows -18 to -23 F; Black Earth wheat relatively mild, lows zero to -10 F; Black Sea and Ukraine wheat areas much warmer, closer to average late Feb weather; Black Sea wheat needs moisture, past 4-6 weeks rather dry; best precipitation keeps developing to the south in Turkey, Middle East

Chicago Regains Lost Ground

25/02/11 -- Soybeans: Mar 11 soybeans closed at USD13.65 1/2, up 47 1/4 cents; Mar 11 soybean Meal closed at USD359.70, up USD9.30; Mar 11 soybean oil closed at 56.95, up 234 points. Despite an incredibly volatile week soybeans were virtually unchanged on the week as a whole, with Mar closing just 2 1/2c lower overall. Meal lost just USD2.30 and oil actually gained 46 points. Weekly export sales were 396,400 MT, compared to trade estimates of 300-500,000 MT. Chinese purchases were just 79,500 MT of old crop and 45,000 MT of new crop, the lowest for many weeks as they switch their attention to South America.

Corn: Mar 11 corn closed at USD7.12, up 26 1/4 cents; Dec 11 corn closed at USD6.01 3/4, up 18 3/4 cents. As with beans, at the end of a very choppy week corn closed virtually unchanged overall, adding 2 1/4 cents on the week. Weekly old crop USDA export sales were a marketing year high of 1.5 MMT, with sales of a further 150,000 MT of new crop. Fund buying was heavy at an estimated 20,000 contracts. Mexico cut their corn crop estimate by 1.7 MMT to 23.3 MMT following frost losses earlier in the month.

Wheat: Mar 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD7.76 1/2, up 29 1/4 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD8.87 1/2, up 26 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD9.15 3/4, up 22 cents. On the week as a whole Mar CBOT wheat fell 45 1/2 cents, Mar KCBOT wheat 42 1/4 cents and Mar MGEX wheat 39 3/4 cents. Weekly export sales were strong at 1,008,300 MT of old crop and 105,000 MT for new crop against trade expectations of 700 TMT to 1 MMT. Egypt took 295,200 MT of the old crop sales. In China, rainfall in winter wheat still hasn't materialized, although the GFS model insists that rain is coming, say Martell Crop Projections.

EU Wheat Ends Lower On The Week, But Well Off Midweek Lows

25/02/11 -- EU wheat futures closed sharply higher, rebounding from some steep losses over the past couple of days with Mar London wheat up GBP4.00 to GBP201.50/tonne, and new crop Nov up GBP3.00 to GBP166.75/tonne. Paris wheat closed with Mar EUR12.00 higher to EUR259.00/tonne and Nov rising EUR6.50 to EUR222.50/tonne.

It's been one hell of a week, not that you'd realise it from a casual glance at the weekly chart. That would simply show you Mar London wheat losing GBP3.50/tonne on the week, with Nov down GBP7.30/tonne.

At one stage on Wednesday Mar London wheat stood GBP17.50/tonne below last Friday's close, with Nov was down GBP25.55/tonne. Mar Paris wheat was showing losses of EUR32.50 at one point before ending the week just EUR3.75/tonne lower.

In Paris, open interest in Mar has declined from 32,000 lots to less than 4,000 in the past fortnight as longholders unwind their positions. However, in the more active May and Nov positions we've seen open interest there increase from 70,000 and 153,500 to almost 79,000 and over 176,000 lots respectively in the same period. In the latter case that's 8.8 MMT.

Brussels issued soft wheat export licences for 439,000 MT this past week, most of which was for France (332,000 MT). That brings the total for the marketing year to date to 13.6 MMT, 2 MMT ahead of this time last year.

With eighteen weeks of the current 2010/11 MY remaining we need to continue to export at that rate every week to hit the USDA's 21.5 MMT target for this season. The euro strength we've seen this week may hinder that progress, faced with competition from Argentina, Australia and the US.

Developments in the Middle East look likely to continue to dominate trade in the weeks ahead. Brent crude has a quiet day Friday, closing just USD0.78/barrel higher at USD112.14/barrel, well off the high of USD119.79/barrel set Thursday.

Some Hulls, Some Hulls, My Kingdom For Some Hulls

25/02/11 -- It's a pretty poor pun I know, and it's buyers I'm looking for not sellers. Right who wants some soya hulls then? Liverpool or Humber I don't mind. Don't be shy, I make special price for you beautiful lady etc.

I might have some sugar beet too if you're quick.

CBOT Close

24/02/11 -- Soybeans: May soybeans ended 2 1/4c lower at USD13.29 1/4 a bushel; May soymeal fell USD1.20 to USD354.90; May soyoil ended 42 points lower at 55.28. The USDA said that US farmers will sow a record 78 million acres of soybeans in the 2011-12 crop marketing year. This is expected to produce a record 3.345 billion bushel crop.

Corn: Mar corn closed down 5 3/4c to USD6.85 3/4 a bushel; May corn ended down 5 3/4c to USD6.96 1/2 a bushel. The USDA Outlook Forum is underway pegging the US corn area this spring at 92m acres, the second highest since 1944. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report range from 850,000 to 1,000,000 MT.

Wheat: Mar 11 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.47 1/4, down 15 3/4 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD8.61 1/2, down 17 1/4 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.93 3/4, down 13 cents. Weekly export sales for tomorrow's report from the USDA range from 700,000 to 1,000,000 MT. The IGC increased it's world 2010/11 wheat crop estimate by a million to 648 MMT today. Output in 2011/12 is seen rising 24 MMT, or 3.7%, to 672 MMT.

EU Wheat Close

24/02/11 -- EU wheat closed higher with Mar London wheat up GBP5.50 to GBP197.50/tonne and new crop Nov GBP4.50 higher at GBP163.75/tonne. Mar Paris wheat rose EUR0.50 to EUR247.00/tonne, with Nov EUR2.75 higher at EUR216.00/tonne.

It was yet another topsy turvy day, with London probably closing higher than it should have done even though the pound fell on the back of poor retail sales data.

London and Paris wheat traded on both sides today, with Libyan uncertainty keeping players nervous.

Unless there is any major change overnight then I would expect things to correct themselves in the morning and London to start lower.

The pound fell on the back of poor Feb retail sales, hitting below 1.17 against the euro which rose on the back of improving economic confidence.

Early Call On Chicago

24/02/11 -- The overnight grains were lower with wheat down around 4-6c, corn around 2-3c easier and beans falling 9-11c.

Crude is higher again, although well off intraday highs, with NYMEX up USD2/barrel and Brent up USD3/barrel. Saudi Arabia has said that it can make up for any shortfall in production from Libya if necessary.

The USDA Outlook Forum is underway, and they are pegging corn area at 92m acres, with bean plantings at a record 78m acres, both are around half a million higher than the average trade estimate.

Both are in line with last month's baseline estimates. Also unchanged was the wheat area at 57m acres, although they dropped the harvested area by a million in light of the relatively poor over-wintering of the US crop.

The IGC increased it's world 2010/11 wheat crop estimate by a million to 648 MMT today. Output in 2011/12 is seen rising 24 MMT, or 3.7%, to 672 MMT.

It looks like this afternoon could easily go either way, although early calls are lower in line with the overnight session and anticipated further fund liquidation. Odd that funds pulling away can cause the market to fall so dramatically when their presence in the market has nothing to do with high prices, according to some.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn down 2-3c, wheat down 4-6c, beans down 8-10c.

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster

24/02/11 -- Having opened EUR2.50 lower and then traded down to EUR5.25 easier, March Paris milling wheat currently trades EUR2.50 higher having already established a EUR8.25 trading range on the day. And it isn't even 11am yet!

The USDA are expected to release initial thoughts on US spring plantings later this afternoon, with the trade expecting US farmers to respond to the second highest corn prices on record with the second highest corn acreage since WW2. Soybean sowings meanwhile are expected to be the highest ever.

Various bulk cargo shipping companies have announced that they have suspended transport to Libya until the situation there improves.

The pound is down against the euro on news that UK retail sales growth fell sharply in Feb, putting in it's worst performance in eight months. At the same time the European Commission said that confidence in the EU economic recovery improved this month.

The Morning Vibe

24/02/11 -- It's all about Libya and the Middle East again this morning, with Brent crude coming close to breaking through USD120/barrel at one stage before falling back to around USD116-117/barrel, still around USD5/barrel higher on the day.

Unlike the 2007/08 price spike in oil that took grains with it, the trade seems to view things differently this time round. At least for now.

Reuters are reporting of two French barley boats en route to Libya looking for new homes. One has apparently been redirected to Lebanon and "discussions are continuing about a new destination" for the other, they say.

Almost all the high profile tenders coming through at the moment are for Middle Eastern and North African destinations, looking to bolster their stocks, but who wants to go there under these circumstances?

Even a seemingly "safe" bet like Saudi Arabia, currently tendering for 275,000 MT of wheat in five lots for arrival between May 10th and June 30th, is facing calls for a "day of rage" say Agrimoney this morning.

That could turn out to be an expensive problem to have for the winning bidder, as who knows what the political situation will be next week, let alone in May and June?

London and Paris wheat have opened lower again this morning. The overnight Globex trade, after earlier trading lower, tried to stage a mid-session rally but has subsequently fallen away again. Wheat is currently down around 8c with beans 16c easier and corn off around 6-8c.

CBOT Closing Comments

23/02/11 -- Soybeans: beans rebounded from yesterday's steep losses, closing with gains of around 20-24c. Meal was up USD5-6 and oil rose 100-110 points. The market seems to believe that maybe we were presented with a buying opportunity yesterday. The Libyan situation will however continue to keep participants extremely nervous. Soybean open interest fell by more than 11,000 contracts yesterday as nerves got the better of some.

Corn: Corn rose around 10-12c after buyers returned following a reduction in open interest of almost 16,000 contracts yesterday. Crude was sharply higher again as oil companies shut down Libyan facilities, tightening availability. The USDA's Outlook Forum starts tomorrow where we should get some initial ballpark ideas on spring plantings.

Wheat: CBOT wheat rose a couple of cents or so on old crop, but was up more like 8-12c going forward. KCBT futures rose 6-8c with MGEX wheat up generally 2-3c. CBOT open interest fell by almost 14,000 lots yesterday. Modest support today came from news that the US had shared a 235,000 MT wheat tender with Egypt and that Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are also back in the market.

There's Something Odd Going On North Of The Border

23/02/11 -- On my way back from a visit to Perth, what a disappointment that place is, nothing like they picture it on the telly. Cold, wet and not one kangaroo or koala bear in sight.

Another thing conspicuous by it's absence was ginger people. Didn't see one, not one, in the entire journey. What's going on I ask myself, is there a wee bit of gingocide going on up there I wonder?

Also missing from the action were kilts, cabers and deep fried Mars Bars and mountains were a bit thin on the ground too. Actually thinking about it I'm not really 100% sure that the train actually took me to Scotland at all. I may have gone to a fake, pretend Scotland, a bit like the Christmasy Laplandy place that those fellas got into trouble over the other week.

I have to say that the lovely people at Scottish Agronomy were incredibly kind, friendly and hospitable too, picking up the tab for everything. Also I could understand every word they said. See what I mean?

There was whiskey all over the place mind, I didn't go down for breakfast this morning but I'm sure that there was Jock juice on offer there too.

I'll probably wake up in the morning to find it was all a dream. Still, I'll send the invoice in all the same just in case it really did happen.

Cheers boys.

Late update: Just changed trains at Edinburgh. It was almost a fiver for a beef burger and 30p just to go for a wee. I think I am in Scotland after all.

EU Grains Mostly Down, But Well Off Session Lows

23/02/11 -- EU wheat closed mostly down, but well off early session lows with Mar London wheat closing GBP2.00 lower at GBP192.00/tonne and new crop Nov down GBP0.75 to GBP159.25/tonne. Mar Paris wheat fell EUR0.25 to EUR246.50/tonne, with Nov down EUR2.25 to EUR213.25/tonne.

Earlier in the day Mar London wheat fell to an intraday low of GBP187.50/tonne, with it's Parisian counterpart declining to EUR230.25/tonne.

Chicago wheat and corn closed the overnight Globex session with losses of around 8-12c and 12-16c respectively on continued unrest and uncertainty in the Middle East. However they reversed those losses late in the day on ideas that prices had fallen too much too quick, flushing out bargain hunters.

Egypt bought 235,000 MT of French/US wheat and Tunisia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are also in the market.

Brent crude leapt more than USD5/barrel to over USD111/barrel, with NYMEX adding another USD3/barrel.

Most of Libya's 1.1-1.4m barrels/day of exports head for Europe. The situation there remains tense to say the least, with the BBC reporting of gunmen opening fire on things as innocuous as a bread queue outside a bakers in Tripoli.

These are extremely uncertain times and literally anything could happen next it would seem.

Chicago Close

22/02/11 -- Soybeans: Mar 11 Soybeans closed at USD12.98, down 70 cents; Mar 11 Soybean Meal closed at USD346.50, down USD15.50; Mar 11 Soybean Oil closed at 53.99, down 250 points. Beans closed limit down on old crop as tensions in the Middle east escalate to new highs. Crude oil was sharply high on the back of Libyan uncertainty, prompting a mass scramble for the exit door on grains.

Corn: Mar 11 Corn closed at USD6.79 3/4, down 30 cents; Dec 11 Corn closed at $5.82 1/2, down 30 cents. Corn finished limit down on both old and new crop as record fund longs stampeded out of the arena. They sold an estimated 30,000 corn contracts on the day, reducing their near record length considerably. Corn inspections for export were quite decent at 38 million bushels compared to 27.5 million last week, but that counted for nothing today.

Wheat: Mar 11 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.62 1/4, down 60 cents; Mar 11 KCBT Wheat closed at USD8.72 3/4, down 57 cents; Mar 11 MGEX Wheat closed at USD9.06 1/4, down 49 1/4 cents. Chicago wheat was limit down just like corn and beans. The Chinese weather situation is improving with QT Weather predicting the best rain chances in the last 90 days Fri/Sat/Sun. Libya overshadowed everything today, even Egyot buying 120,000 MT of US wheat and Morocco and Iraq tendering for more themselves.

EU Wheat: It's A Bloodbath

22/02/11 -- EU wheat took a right old royal pasting today with Mar London wheat ending down GBP9.60 to GBP194.00/tonne and new crop Nov down GBP10.50 at GBP160.00/tonne. Mar Paris wheat fell EUR13.25 to EUR246.75/tonne, with Nov down EUR14.50 to EUR215.50/tonne.

After the US markets took a hefty hit Friday, they were closed yesterday for President's Day. Something of a rebound from those looses looked to be on the cards in early Globex overnight trade before the tide suddenly and viciously turned.

By the close of Globex at 13.15 GMT Mar CBOT wheat had added a 20 3/4c loss to the 28 3/4c decline it had sustained on Friday, marking a 5.8% fall since Thursday night's close.

The daytime CBOT session proved to be even worse with wheat, corn and beans all showing limit down losses of 60c, 30c and 70c by 17.00 GMT.

Reports that Libyan leader Gaddafi said he is prepared to die as a "martyr" rather than leave the country, and the sight of Iranian war ships heading up the Suez Canal sent US crude oil prices soaring USD5-6/barrel.

That appeared to spark a mass exodus from grain markets weighed down by enormous spec longs across almost the entire sector. No doubt stop-loss computer driven selling was also a feature as London and Paris wheat both showed up with double digit losses throughout much of the afternoon.

Paris rapeseed also extended it's amazing run of bad form, posting losses of EUR12.00/tonne in nearby May, a hefty EUR55.75/tonne decline in less than six weeks.

You would normally expect rising crude to firm the grain markets, although the two seem to have become somewhat divorced of late with NYMEX crude relatively flat around USD90/barrel for most of the last six months despite soaring grain prices.

I still contend that the speculative element in the market was maybe responsible for around the top 20% of recent gains, over and above what market fundamentals justified. It looks like some of that money is now making an impromptu exit from the building, although it could - and probably will - come back. We just don't know if it will be tomorrow, next week or next year.

As Coldplay would say "nobody said it was easy, (but) no one ever said it would be this hard, oh take me back to the start....oh ooh ooh ooh ooh."

Early Call On Chicago

22/02/11 -- The overnight grains were sharply lower with wheat down around 20c, corn around 10c easier and beans falling 15c or so.

I have to say that I'm surprised by the overnight action, given that wheat was 10c higher when I left home early this morning, with beans and corn also showing significant gains.

The situation in the Middle East is clearly giving the market the jitters. Crude is sharply higher with NYMEX up USD7/barrel, although we could attribute some of that to a narrowing of the gap between it and Brent which had widened to around USD15/barrel.

At this exact moment in time it seems that the Middle East situation is causing a scramble for spec money to get out of grains. Ideas are that sharply higher crude oil prices may harm demand for grain.

The market didn't see it that way back in 2008 though, and a change of inference could alter things at any moment.

Morocco are in for 280,000 MT of wheat, joining Iraq who are tendering for 100,000 MT but are expected to buy more as they usually do.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: wheat down 15-20c, beans down 12-15c and corn down 8-10c.

Nutter Magnet

22/02/11 -- I'm out travelling by train up to Bonny Jockland today. I haven't been on a train for some time, but thought hey they have wifi and everything these days, lets give it s go. What could possibly go wrong?

I arrived at Harrogate station in plenty of time to start my journey, I do like to place safe. Bought myself a bottle of Lucozade and a copy of the Telegraph and found myself a seat next to an attractive young blonde to wait for the train.

When I say next to I mean "comfortably next too" - I wouldn't want to invade anybody's personal space. Especially whist they are eating a sandwich. The was enough space between us for a small child say, or possible Posh Spice. She put the container housing the uneaten half of her cheese & pickle on brown there, just to say "don't come any closer than that Grandad." Legs were never going to touch.

Next thing someone shouts "Johnny!" at the top of his voice. Nothing too unusual about that you might think. The guy uttering such a relatively commonplace cry came wandering by. He was muttering. Sometimes you can just tell can't you?

"Johnny" he shouted again. Now at this point I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, but things went downhill rapidly from there. Was he shouting his mate, introducing himself to the waiting throng or looking for a condom machine? Or was he, more dangerously, a fully fledged all paid up member of nutters anonymous? Then I spotted it and I had my answer.

He was carrying a carrier bag. Emblazoned on the bag was LIVERPOOL FC. We were clearly dealing with a badge-carrying nutter. Now i don't have anything against people with mental health problems, it's Kopites with mental health problems I don't like.

Johnny sauntered over towards me and the blonde, dribbling heavily. He had that deranged look in his eye (the one that was looking at us anyway). We both gave him our best "don't you feckin sit here you nutter" looks. Hers clearly wasn't good enough.

I mean it was only big enough for a small child and it also contained a half eaten sandwich, but Johnny went for it anyway. Suddenly we were touching legs, except it was Johnny's legs that we were both touching as the blonde scooped up her sarnie tutting loudly.

She clearly wasn't going to hang around to see what happened next. There was every chance that Johnny was about to unload 30 years of pent up sexual frustration all over the two of us and the rest of platform three by the looks of him.

She stood up and started to flounce off, sarnie and all.

"Minge!" shouted Johnny. Honest. I thought give her a break Johnny - it's her sandwich she can do what she wants with it.

She was ten paces away before Johnny's next pearl of wisdom.

"Fanny!" he shouted this time. I though blimey, he knows her name, how unlikely is that and it's sooo nice to see the old fashioned names coming back isn't it?

I'd had enough and got up to leave as well.

"Fat bastard!" shouted Johnny.

I thought come on mate, that's a bit harsh, I mean she could do with losing a few pounds and everything, but she's no bloater.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

21/02/11 -- EU wheat closed down with Mar London wheat falling GBP1.40 to GBP203.60/tonne and new crop Nov GBP3.55 lower at GBP170.50/tonne. Mar Paris wheat fell EUR2.75 to EUR260.00/tonne, with Nov down EUR4.75 to EUR230.00/tonne.

Old crop fell less than new crop as 2010/11 stocks remain tight. London wheat was GBP3-5/tonne lower for much of the day, even on old crop, so once again tonight's official close of "only" GBP1.40 lower is somewhat surprising.

US markets were closed, offering little in the way of guidance after closing heavily lower on Friday night.

Although Russia may well remain out of the export market beyond the existing summer deadline, Ukraine look set to be back in the fray as an aggressive marketeer. Their winter wheat crop is rated at more than 94% good/satisfactory, a sharp improvement on twelve months ago. They will of course be very hungry for dollars by then.

Drought conditions in China have improved somewhat, according to the Ministry there. Wheat production forecasts are moving up in Argentina, to around 14.5-15.0 MMT, almost double last season's output.

Perhaps it's outside markets that offer wheat it's best chance of scaling to new heights?

Escalating unrest in North Africa and the Middle East saw Brent crude oil push above USD105/barrel for the first time since October 2008. Libya exports more than a million barrels of crude every day and tribal leaders there have threatened to cut that supply to a trickle if Gaddafi continues to use brute force to attempt to quell the current uprising.

What A Boring Day

21/02/11 -- Bored, bored, bored, bored. We don't half miss the Septics when they aren't around don't we?

Even the sight of London wheat falling out of bed again has failed to excite me today. It might not be too long before I can crack my "Baby, baby, where's all the two's gone?" joke though, so the thought of that has cheered me up a little bit.

Not cheering up anyone is the situation in Libya, however. Nymex crude is up above USD90/barrel and Brent over USD105/barrel on the back of that.

There were deaths and protests in Morocco too yesterday. The market seems to be struggling to decide whether this is bullish, bearish or neutral as far as grains are concerned.

Iraq are tendering for 100,000 MT of wheat to help try and ensure that it's own stocks stay buoyant. Who will want to sell it, and will they be in a position to take physical delivery when the time comes?

"Hello, is that the ships agency? I'd like to charter a boat to take 50,000 tonnes of wheat to a country possibly in the middle of a civil war whilst simultaneously shelling out hundreds of thousands of pounds in demurrage please."

When you look at it like that maybe this thing is bearish?

Sherwood Forest Sold To America

21/02/11 -- The government have announced that Sherwood Forest has been sold to an American conglomerate who plan to redevelop the site into the world's largest theme park. Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves Land, as the forest will be renamed, will contain the longest roller coaster ride in Europe and is expected to attract 5 million visitors a day.

The forest may have to undergo "some minor redevelopment" say the company behind the project, but they insist that every tree that they chop down will be replaced by and authentic American plastic one.

"We're gonna give you people the biggest goddam theme park in the world, which is worth far more than a few poxy old trees," said Chip Chop, the man behind the project.

EU Rapemeal Prices

21/02/11 -- Rapemeal prices are extending recent declines today. Rapeseed prices are also down EUR4-5/tonne today, front month May is down almost EUR50/tonne from its Jan 12 high.

Here's the latest guide prices for EU rapemeal, basis FOB Lower Rhine in euros/metric tonne, with change from previous trading session:

May/FH Jul11

If I Could Turn Back Time

21/02/11 -- The government now say that they are thinking about mucking about with time itself, according to this report from the Beeb.

The plan would make it darker later in the mornings and lighter later in the evenings "to encourage tourism" apparently.

Amusingly it would probably mean making it dark in Scotland in the middle of the winter until about half past three in the afternoon. They'd get their lights switched on then for a couple of hours, just to give them enough time to deep fry a few Mars Bars for tea, before they'd all have to go back to their ginger beds again at half past five.

It's a winner in my book.

Morning Vibe

21/02/11 -- It's looking like it's gonna be a relatively quiet one with the US shut for President's Day. London and Paris wheat have opened sharply lower, following the late sell-off in Chicago markets late on Friday.

May London wheat has opened GBP3.60/tonne lower, with Paris wheat down EUR3.75-6.00/tonne in early trade. Volatility certainly seems to have increased in the past week or so.

Ukraine say that more than 94% of it's winter crops are in good/satisfactory condition, including 94.3% of it's wheat, 81.6% of it's barley and 91.6% of it's rapeseed.

The Chinese Ministry say that drought in it's main wheat growing areas has declined from 7.73 million hectares on Feb 9th to 6.12 million hectares as of Sunday as it steps up it's irrigation efforts.

The minutes of the BoE's monthly MPC meeting are out on Wednesday. It seems likely that they will reveal more of a leaning towards a modest interest rate rise than recent meetings have. That could lead to some further sterling appreciation later in the week.

The pound currently stands at 1.6228, we haven't been above 1.63 since January 2010.

Brent crude oil is up USD2.50/barrel this morning on Libyan unrest, with front month April hitting USD104.98/barrel, it's highest since October 2008.

Interesting factlet d'jour: 5.98 million lots of corn futures traded on CBOT last month - equivalent to 2.4 times the entire US crop. In just one month, and that doesn't include a further 2.35 million options trades!