No I Haven't Fallen Off A Cliff

25/06/11 -- Touched as I am by your concern, no I haven't fallen off a cliff I've just been out and about for a couple of days chatting to a few farmers in East Anglia/Lincs and having a little shuftie at a few crops along the way.

Things don't look too bad in that part of the world, although let's just say I'm bullish on straw this year! If the crops were any shorter they'd be underground. Hence my witty picture of a toy combine harvester.

Didn't come across one person with two heads either, contrary to some reports I'd heard. Neither was there a gypsy on every street corner. It was every other one to be fair. One of them stopped me and said "do you know if there's a B & Q in Peterborough?" I said "there's a B in it mate" and went on my way, it's nice to help people isn't it even if they do live in a caravan.

Chicago Close

24/06/11 -- Soybeans: Jul 11 soybeans closed at USD13.20 1/4, up 2 1/2 cents; Nov 11 soybeans closed at USD13.09 1/4, down 8 cents; Jul 11 soybean meal closed at USD339.90, down USD0.70; Jul 11 soybean oil closed at 55.22, up 7 points. On the week as a whole July beans lost 23 3/4 cents, meal USD9.10 and oil 70 points. Fund money continues to get out of the market, selling an estimated 6,000 bean contracts on the day. Weekend forecasts for above normal temperatures and normal to below normal rainfall should be beneficial. China bought 120,000 MT of new crop beans, which was supportive although falling crude oil and a strong dollar were not.

Corn: Jul 11 corn closed at USD6.70, down 10 1/2 cents; Dec 11 corn closed at USD6.32, down 14 cents. At the end of a damaging week for corn July shed 30 1/4 cents and new crop Dec lost 28 cents. As with soybeans fund money is heading out of corn, selling an estimated 14,000 contracts today and 35,000 on the week to add to last week's 50,000 lots sold. That equates to around a third of their entire length sold in a fortnight, with prices now almost 130 cents lower than the record high set two weeks ago today. Crude oil, the firm dollar and Greek nervousness are all bearish. We also have an improved weather outlook that may indicate an increase in good/excellent crop ratings from the USDA on Monday night.

Wheat: Jul 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD6.35 3/4, down 13 1/4 cents; Jul 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD7.48 1/2, down 11 1/2 cents. Jul 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.26, down 18 cents. On the week overall CBOT was down 36 1/2 cents, KCBT 56 cents, and MGEX 71 1/4 cents. The harvest in Kansas is advancing rapidly with yields and quality coming in better than expected. What spring wheat has been planted has got off to a great start by all accounts. Russia's grain harvest is underway and recent EU rains have lifted hopes for production prospects here too. July CBOT wheat is now down almost a dollar and a half this month, and now stands more than three dollars below the February highs.

EU Grains Close: Greece Is The Word

24/06/11 -- EU grains finished mixed with July London wheat GBP0.15 higher at GBP162.65/tonne and with new crop Nov falling GBP0.60/tonne to GBP163.50/tonne. Nov Paris wheat closed EUR0.50/tonne higher at EUR195.75/tonne whilst May12 rose EUR1.00/tonne to EUR201.50/tonne.

It's been a bad week for wheat with old crop London wheat crashing GBP13.85/tonne and new crop Nov losing GBP11.00/tonne, or 6.3%. Nov Paris wheat fell through the EUR200.00/tonne level for the first time since the immediate aftermath of the Japanese earthquake back in March to close EUR14.50/tonne lower on the week, down 6.9%.

Stats Canada said that farmers there have planted 23.6 million acres of wheat, up 11.9 percent from last year despite widespread spring floods. They also pegged the rapeseed area up nearly 18 percent from last year to a record 19.8 million acres. Both figures are being taken with a pinch of salt by the trade as being way too optimistic given the extent of the flooding.

Brent crude oil slumped by more than USD2/barrel to a four month low, although the pound sinking below 1.60 to close at it's lowest level since the last day of January added some support to London wheat.

Concern over Greek debt has got the market running scared this week. "Investors pulled a net USD5.3bn from high-yield bond funds, their biggest weekly outflow on record," according to the Telegraph.

Getting next week's austerity measures passed by parliament is an enormous hurdle to get over. Without pushing them through they either won't get the next EUR12bn tranche of money due from the IMF/EU, or the latter will have to climb down and do an embarrassing (and precedent setting) u-turn.

Ukraine's harvest kicked off at the beginning of the week, and the combines have now also started rolling in the southern Rostov region of Russia. Both countries are expected a sharp rebound in grain production this year, and are keen to find willing buyers to take some of it off their hands.

Tunisia was first up to the plate this week, booking 75,000 MT of optional origin wheat at prices said to be around USD15/tonne cheaper than French wheat.

Chicago Close

22/06/11 -- Jul 11 soybeans closed at USD13.30 1/4, down 18 1/2 cents; Nov 11 soybeans closed at USD13.32 1/2, down 17 1/4 cents; Jul 11 soybean meal closed at USD347.10, down USD4.60; Jul 11 soybean oil closed at 56.15, down 45 points. The soy complex actually finished much better than it's compatriots of wheat and corn. Even so, initial reports of warmer and drier weather somehow got construed as being bullish for beans, despite the fact that this is exactly what much of the Midwest has been crying out for. Crude oil was firmer which helped beans avoid the bloodbath that beset corn and wheat. Funds sold an estimated 7,000 bean contracts on the day.

Corn: Jul 11 corn closed at USD6.77 1/2, down the daily 30 cent limit; Dec 11 corn closed at USD6.50 1/4, also down the daily 30 cent limit. Funds were said to have sold an estimated 30,000 contracts on the day. They were supposed to have been net sellers of 50,000 last week, and maybe to have bought around 18-20,000 lots Monday/Tuesday. If we go with the upper end of that estimate then we have them selling 60,000 since Mon 13th, that's 7.6 MMT. Estimates for tomorrow’s weekly export sales report range from 600 TMT to 1.25 MMT.

Wheat: Jul 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD6.38 1/4, down 36 cents; Jul 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD7.70, down 33 1/2 cents; Jul 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.60 1/2, down 42 1/4 cents. We haven't seen front month CBOT wheat this low since mid-November, and then only marginally so for two days, before that we have to go back to late July, almost twelve months ago. Russia is back flexing it's wheat muscles selling delivered to Tunisia for less than the cost of FOB US wheat. Estimates for tomorrow’s weekly USDA export sales report range from 300 to 700 MT.

You Can't Teach Your Grandad To Suck Eggs

22/06/11 -- Hands up then who remembers wheat at GBP210.00/tonne? I do, and when it got there I recall posting that upside was surely limited. One young spunker in the trade who posts on Twitter under the moniker of Liffewheat begged to differ however. Now we are all entitled to our opinion, and I for one would claim to be far from infallible, but I will give my opinion and the reasons why, and they are all here for all to see.

This guys "tweets" however I admit got right up my nose. So I couldn't resist on having a bit of a go at him on the dog's blog, he posted: "Some joker called Nogger trying to call a top to London wheat .... for the twenty fifth time!" Preceded by "Brokers say the only seller is Openfield." And "Liverpool grain dinner on Friday night, all the talk was of how short of wheat the feed mills are for the summer. Some real fear smelt.." (I will let the bad grammar go for now).

To which I replied: "You know now that you mention it I can smell something, although it isn't fear. Erm, you wouldn't be long by any chance would you son, and do you want to buy any more?"

He never replied, and surprisingly when I tried to find all his old posts on Twitter tonight they've all been deleted.

So Liffeswheat, if ever you fancy a beard-growing or girl kissing contest do be sure to let me know as soon as you've left the comfort of living at your Mum & Dads.

EU Wheat Carnage

22/06/11 -- EU grains finished in a bit of a bloodbath with July London wheat down GBP6.00 to GBP166.00/tonne and with new crop Nov falling an "Ayrton" - down GBP10.00/tonne to GBP164.00/tonne. Nov Paris wheat slumped EUR15.75/tonne lower at EUR196.75/tonne whilst May12 fell EUR14.75/tonne to EUR202.25/tonne.

What a disastrous close for wheat. Even worse news came from Paris malting barley which finished with losses of EUR20.50 to EUR23.00/tonne. I'm looking forward to reading this market report myself as even I haven't got a clue as to what it is going to say at this stage yet!

July London wheat managed to set the lowest close for a front month since mid-November 2010, comfortably eclipsing even the mid-March slump that occurred in the first few days after the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Paris wheat inflicted even worse technical damage upon itself. Front month August collapsed EUR15.75/tonne to EUR194.50/tonne. Not only did that crash through the psychologically important EUR200.00/tonne mark, it was the lowest close for a front month since July 2010, when prices were on the up following the realisation that Russia's crop was toast.

Another dose of widespread rains all over the UK, France and Germany over the weekend, and the prospect of more to come has got the market thinking that things are nowhere near as bad as was feared a month ago.

The over-riding factor though has to be spec money exiting the arena once again. Despite the Greek government getting a marginal thumbs up last night, there is a growing feeling that they will not find the required austerity measures anything like as easy to push through next week.

That could lead us to Financial Armageddon II. Do you remember the first one? It came out in 2008. Directed by Quentin Tarantino I think it was, except this one is in 3D.

Greece and Lehman Brothers, you never see them in the same room at the same time do you...

Early Call On Chicago

22/06/11 -- The overnights closed lower with beans down 6-7c, corn down 3-5c on old crop and 6-8c on new crop and wheat falling mostly around 10-15c. Outside markets are also weaker.

The dollar is firmer ahead of today's Fed press conference, and the euro is still nervous despite the Greek government's vote of confidence. They must now push through another round of large austerity cuts as a precondition for the next tranche of their IMF/EU loans.

The Canadian Wheat Board say wheat plantings are 87% done, and unlikely to progress further than that. StatsCanada are due out this afternoon with their estimates.

Ukraine have upped their 2011/12 grain export target to an ambitious 20-25 MMT from 19-20 MMT previously and an estimated 12.5 MMT in 2010/11.

The world looks like having less wheat than we thought a few months ago, but still a bigger crop than last year. In addition, it's the cheap shops that are holding most of the aces.

US pig and cattle numbers are seen falling in the second half of 2011 and beyond as producers shed numbers due to high feed costs. That's a situation that could well be being replicated here in Europe right now too.

The bulls might be a bit deflated that they haven't managed to get their recovery going for more than one or two sessions. The market still seems to want to go lower.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn down 5-7c, wheat down 8-10c, beans down 6-8c.

Morning News

22/06/11 -- The overnight grains are mixed, London wheat has opened with November a pound lower, the euro has stabilised for now after the Greek government got their vote of confidence last night.

G20 agriculture ministers meet in Paris today and tomorrow to discuss rising food prices. Let's hope that they've taken their brollies as there's been heavy rain in northern France overnight and this morning. Paris has picked up 28mm in the past 24 hours.

The pound is down to just above 1.12 against the euro on the back of the Greek news. Considering that PM Papandreou secured only 155 of the votes in the 300-seat Greek parliament, you could hardly call it a landslide result. Getting EUR78bn worth of austerity measures through next week may be much more difficult.

This may be more of a temporary respite for the euro than a change in direction.

The overnight Globex market was mostly higher early doors, but has changed to red now. Europe is following suit with Nov London wheat now down GBP2.00/tonne and Paris wheat EUR2-3.00/tonne lower.

The Bank of England's MPC voted 7-2 earlier this month to keep interest rates on hold, according to the minutes of the meeting released today. The two dissenters wanted a quarter point hike.

Wynnstay have revealed record half year profits, and the Welsh lads might be looking to take on the lah di dah South Eastern "nancy boys" a give them a bit of a thumping in the car park round the back of the beer tent at Cereals 2012, I hear. Come on then, who wants it?

World Crop Weather Highlights

21/06/11 -- World agri-weather highlights from the excellent Martell Crop Projections:

  • Rainy and cool weather continues this week in Canada prairies; planting of canola, wheat and barley is finished, too wet to proceed; reduced crop area predicted second year in a row; perhaps a shortfall in crop production will follow; US grain belt is stuck in wet pattern; recurring showers daily in Midwest corn-soybeans; cool temperatures and wet fields are slowing crop growth; some flooding is occurring; US crops in Deep South finally expecting heavy rain; moisture stress has grown severe with accompanying hot temperatures; heavy rain projected for Lower Mississippi Delta in soybeans, cotton and rice areas; all are in need of rain

  • Central Brazil Mato Grosso state is hot and dry once again; showers that occurred early in June are a distant memory; mid 90s F and hot sunny weather have returned; Sao Paulo state also is very dry; harvesting of coffee and sugarcane, stressing under way; suspect there is moisture stress also; May-June very dry also in Minas Gerais, Goias; Southern wheat state Rio Grande do Sul got heavy rain in recent days; flooding a risk with an additional 4-5 inches predicted

  • Argentina western grain belt in throes of drought; western Cordoba, La Pampa, western Buenos Aires all dry; soil moisture way better in Santa Fe, Entre Rios; feels like La Nina dry influence is in place; new crop wheat plantings up sharply but dryness and cold preventing growth; corn and soybean harvest is winding down; government raised corn slightly, lowered soybeans; not a major adjustment from previous estimates

  • Europe weather conditions rainy in June; opposite of May's severe drought; sharply cooler temperatures this week; night lows in the 50s F, highs 60s-low 70s F; unsettled weather will persist, some rain, not real heavy; very heavy rain projected in Ukraine, Belorussia, where spring drought was severe; all together opposite of May growing conditions; summer crops will benefit

  • Australia rainfall chances improving a little in southeastern wheat growing areas; rain is needed ; conditions grew progressively drier the past 4-6 weeks in Victoria, southern New South Wales; Western Australia drought is still a major worry, worst in northern wheat growing areas; new 7-day forecast more hopeful for rain Western Australia; warm temperatures are keeping evaporation elevated, drying fields

  • China heat wave underway in Northeast provinces; corn-soybean growth is accelerating with generous field moisture; cooler weather is on the way, showers are exiting; watching the weather in North China Plain; forecast is wetter; this is a key cotton, corn and peanut area; rainfall was virtually non-existent June-to-date; Yangtze River valley getting regular rains in June, even floods; March-May was exceptionally dry in this area

  • India monsoon zeroing in on Central India; very heavy rains yesterday up to 6 inches in Madhya Pradesh; rain deluge last week affected northeast India, a key rice area; new forecast extremely wet in the Gangetic Plain across northern India; no complaints about monsoon peformance in June; exception is South India where June has been dry

  • European Russia bracing for heavy rainfall; rain occurred Monday in Baltic countries, moving into Belorussia; Ukraine forecast is particularly wet; western Ukraine temperatures in the 70s Monday, eastern Ukraine 90s F with progressive cool front; wonder if rain is too late to help winter wheat and rapeseed; spring growing conditions were extremely dry March-May and also unseasonably hot; summer crops corn, soybeans and sunflower may reap the greatest rewards from heavy June rain if it occurs as predicted; Russia Black Earth grains under extreme stress yesterday with 90s F; rain has been sub-normal for 3 months; suspect winter wheat will make a poor crop; Volga grains in very good shape, no heat or moisture stress in the spring-early summer

Chicago Close

21/06/11 -- Soybeans: July soybeans ended up 13c at USD13.48 3/4/bushel; Nov soybeans closed up 14 1/4c at USD13.49 3/4; July soymeal was up USD1.70 at USD351.70; Dec soyoil was up 158 points at 56.60. There was a bit of a better vibe about the market today on the belief that the Greek government will get it's vote of confidence tonight. Whether they get their austerity measures through next week however looks much more doubtful. The US crop is 94 percent planted, a point ahead of normal the USDA said last night. Warmer and drier weather in the forecast should be generally favourable.

Corn: July corn rose 7c at USD7.07 1/2; December corn was up 19 3/4c to USD6.80 1/4. Funds bought an estimated 15,000 corn contracts on the day as the complex staged a bit of a recovery from last week's sharp losses. Strong rumours swept the market that China had seen the recent dip as an opportunity ot buy new crop corn. The USDA last nigtht reported corn crop conditions a bit better than normal at 70% good-excellent, 23% fair and 7% poor-very poor. Japan apparently bought 300,000 MT of corn overnight, encouraged by the recent dip in prices.

Wheat: CBOT September wheat gained 9 3/4c to USD7.05 1/2; KCBT September was up 1 1/2c to USD8.21 1/2; MGEX September rose 6 1/4c to USD8.85 1/4. Funds were said to have bought 3,000 CBOT contracts on the day. A weaker US dollar today was supportive, although chances of a Greek debt default could change all that at any time where the newly reshuffled government faces a confidence vote tonight. Stats Canada will report on plantings there tomorrow, an area bigger than Belgium is still unseeded, according to

EU Grains Close

21/06/11 -- EU grains finished mixed but mostly higher with July London wheat down GBP0.25 to GBP172.00/tonne and with new crop Nov climbing GBP1.60/tonne to GBP174.00/tonne. Nov Paris wheat closed EUR0.75/tonne higher at EUR212.50/tonne whilst May12 also rose EUR0.75/tonne to EUR217.00/tonne.

Old crop July London wheat is now a GBP2.00/tonne discount to new crop Nov, a GBP39.00/tonne reversal of where things were on 20th April.

The market remains nervous of what may happen in Greece, with the reshuffled government there undergoing a vote of confidence tonight and the G20 meeting Wednesday/Thursday to attempt to thrash out a solution to the complicated problem of Greek debt.

Harvesting is underway in Ukraine, with an estimated 35,000 MT of barley cut yesterday, although there is no word yet on yields. Some reports are suggesting a strong rebound in grain production in excess of 25% this year, although other estimates are less bullish.

Russian and Kazakh spring grains planting is complete at 29.6 million hectares and 15.85 million respectively, both are only fractionally shy of government targets.

"Kazakhstan spring wheat prospects good and getting better with a wet forecast and moderate-cool temperatures. Meanwhile, Russian Volga crops are also in good shape, getting plenty of rain and enjoying moderate temperatures," say Martell Crop Projections.

Widespread rains across the UK, France and Germany may be adding something to yield potential here too.

Despite drought in the southern Plains, wheat is flourishing with rainy and cool conditions in Northwest United States. Could a bumper harvest in the northern states offset low production in hard red winter wheat? The answer is yes, according to Martell Crop Projections.

"North Dakota, Washington and Montana together produce 28% of United States wheat, overshadowing the Southern Plains’ 27%. Adding other northern wheat states like Minnesota, Idaho and Oregon tips the scales even further in favour of larger northern wheat production this year," they say.

Early Call On Chicago

21/06/11 -- The overnights closed firmer on bargain hunting with beans up 11-13c, corn up 13-15c and wheat 8-11c higher. NYMEX crude oil is almost a dollar firmer and the US dollar a bit weaker, both of which are supportive.

US weather is turning hotter and drier, which maybe won't do too much harm. Plantings have caught up for corn and beans, although still lag for spring wheat. Canadian sowings are also behind.

There's a bit more optimism about that Greece will get the bailout it needs, hence a vibe that prices have fallen enough for now. Some recent tender/purchasing activity from assorted buyers is encouraging the notion that the bottom-pickers are out.

All bets could be off pending developments in Greece this afternoon. Fitch and S&P's have both said that a softening on lending by commercial banks being lent on by government in the likes of France and Germany would be considered a default anyway.

That would lead to a lowering of Greece's already pants credit rating, meaning that some lenders would be forced to offload their Greek "assets" according to the BBC.

The newly reshuffled government face a confidence vote tonight.

We might as well forget here and now what the grain market fundamentals are. If, and it could be more likely when, Greece goes down the pan fund money may stampede for the exit door rapido.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn 13-15c higher, wheat 8-10c firmer and soybeans up 10-12c.

EU Rapemeal Prices

21/06/11 -- Latest guide prices for EU rapemeal today, basis FOB Lower Rhine in euros/metric tonne, with change from previous trading session:


Soapy Bubble At Ensus

21/06/11 -- There's more soapy bubble at Ensus I see. Probe into alleged criminal damage at Ensus. Someone must have run over a black cat when they built that plant I reckon. Mind you seeing as Sunderland are the black cats it was probably deliberate. Probe is a great word isn't it? You can have all sorts of fun with that if you're a headline writer. Anyone remember the CrimeWatch spoof on Phoenix Nights? Classic one that was, can't really repeat it for fear of upsetting all my paying advertisers. It was something to do with the abduction of a girl from Leeds that the police were investigating as I recall, how did it go now....?

The Morning Line

21/06/11 -- The overnight markets are higher on the back of a weaker dollar and firmer crude oil prices. Wheat and corn are up around 6-8c with beans 8-10c firmer. NYMEX crude is USD94.60/barrel.

A little bit of pressure is off the euro ahead of the G20 meeting tomorrow/Thursday. No prizes for guessing what tops the agenda there.

The combines are rolling in Ukraine, with 35,000 MT of barley being cut in Crimea. Some news reports are suggesting that the Ministry increased their total grain production estimate to 50 MMT yesterday, 27% up on last season. Others say that they didn't alter their previous forecast of "over 45 MMT" and others that the official estimate is 42 MMT.

It seems that everyone in the Ministry is plucking a number out of thin air and chucking it into the ring if you ask me.

Russian spring grains planting is complete at 29.6 million hectares, only just short of the Ministry's demanding target of 30.2 million. Kazakhstan has planted 15.85 million, again fractionally shy of the 15.9 million forecast.

"Kazakhstan spring wheat prospects good and getting better with a wet forecast and moderate-cool temperatures. Meanwhile, Russian Volga crops are also in good shape, getting plenty of rain and enjoying moderate temperatures," say Martell Crop Projections.

Japan have apparently bought 300,000 MT of corn overnight, encouraged by the recent dip in prices.

Andy Murray morphed from being a useless Jock git at the end of the first set into a grand old British institution on Wimbledon's centre court yesterday I see. He's as British as fish and chips that lad and I won't hear a word said against him. Come on Andy....

Chicago Close

20/06/11 -- Soybeans: July soybeans ended up 2 3/4c at USD13.35 3/4/bushel; Nov soybeans closed up 2 1/4c at USD13.35 1/2; July soymeal was up USD1.00 at USD350.00; Dec soyoil was up 10 points at 57.36. The Greek debt issue is weighing heavily on the market. Although they are a relative minnow, the implications of a default for other Eurozone nations like France and Germany are immense. After the close the USDA reported soybean plantings at 94% complete, amazingly that is one point ahead of the five year average. So what has the market been getting all uptight about? Crop conditions improved one point on last week to 68% good/excellent.

Corn: December corn was up 1/4c to USD7.00 1/2 a bushel; December corn rose 1/2c to USD6.60 1/2 a bushel. Crude traded either side but finished nominally higher on the day. South Korea bought corn and wheat over the weekend, fostering belief that US corn prices have fallen enough to stimulate some buying interest. After the close the USDA raised good/excellent crop conditions one point to 70%. Funds were said to have bought 3-5,000 contracts on the day. Export Inspections were modestly supportive at 42.978 million bushels.

Wheat: CBOT September wheat fell 12 1/4c to USD6.95 3/4 a bushel; KCBT September was down 2 1/4c to USD8.20; MGEX September shed 2 3/4c to USD8.79. Harvest pressure weighed on wheat with the USDA saying that winter wheat was 31% cut, compared with 22% normally. Good to excellent crop conditions improved a point to 36% and spring wheat plantings were up from 88% last week to 91%. That isn't too great, although spring wheat conditions improved from 68% good/excellent last week to 72% this time round.

EU Grains Close

20/06/11 -- EU grains finished with July London wheat GBP4.25 lower at GBP172.25/tonne and with new crop Nov falling GBP2.10/tonne to GBP172.40/tonne. Nov Paris wheat closed EUR1.25/tonne lower at EUR211.75/tonne whilst May12 also declined EUR2.00/tonne to EUR216.25/tonne.

A front month London wheat contract has only closed lower than this once since late November. It is also interesting to note old crop wheat closing at a slight discount to new crop whereas two months ago July was a GBP37.00/tonne premium to Nov.

Paris wheat fared somewhat better than London as the euro remains under pressure due to no conclusive action from France and Germany over the weekend with regards to the Greek situation.

Decent weekend rains over much of Europe should also have helped improve crop prospects. There's more in the forecast too over the next couple of days.

Saudi Arabia bought 360,000 MT of US/EU wheat over the weekend at an unspecified price and with no clear indication on how the order was split.

Heavy rainfall covered a large part of Ukraine over the weekend, and crop conditions are now looking "very favourable" according to Agritel.

Russia's Novorossiisk port says that they are ready to ship 500-600 TMT of wheat in July as soon as the export ban is lifted.

Early Call On Chicago

20/06/11 -- The overnight grains began the week very quietly with neither beans, wheat or corn showing any great significant changes after suffering a bit of a rout last week.

Nervousness over a resolution, or lack of it, to the Greek crisis is ongoing and could tip the markets either way as the week progresses depending on what happens next.

I believe that France and Germany will ultimately have to reach a consensus on how to sort the problem out. Allowing Greece to fall on it's sword and default may be too bitter a pill to swallow, as both the French and Germans are sitting on large chunks of that debt. The potential repercussions for their own banking system may be worse than allowing Greece to restructure.

The uncertainty is keeping money out of commodities. A report in the FT over the weekend says that a recent Barclays Capital survey has seen commodities plunge from the most popular asset class to least popular - with only 15% of respondents fancying commodities to be the best performer over the coming three months, down from 41% in their last survey.

Crude is down, but off earlier lows and the dollar is a bit firmer.

European grains are all lower, with weekend rains potentially improving prospects in the UK, France and Germany. US weather is mixed.

The USDA will report on planting progress, winter wheat harvesting and spring crop conditions tonight. They've also just announced China switching 120,000 MT of old crop soybeans into new crop.

South Korea bought corn and wheat over the weekend, with Saudi Arabia also buying wheat, encouraging some belief that prices have now fallen far enough to stimulate demand.

July corn traded both sides of USD7/bushel overnight, it will be interesting to see if it can mange to hold above that level this afternoon.

Early calls have corn and wheat flat and beans steady to 2c firmer.

The Lunchtime News

20/06/11 -- Jordan is tendering for 100,000 MT of wheat and a similar quantity of barley. Just like it's namesake, pictured, the Middle Eastern country isn't too picky - meaning that Russia might get the nod on that one if it sharpens the old pencil. It did miss out to Ukraine wheat to the tune of USD15/tonne mind the last time there was an any origin tender kicking about.

China's portside soybean stocks are now running at a record 7 MMT, according to one report I read this morning. Looks like they are still using soybean imports as a way of getting cheap and quick loans then.

The July/Nov London wheat spread currently stands at just GBP0.50/tonne by late morning, two months ago to the day that was GBP37.00/tonne. Looks like we aren't going to run out of wheat after all.

The net volume of corn futures traded in Chicago has reached the equivalent of an astonishing 4.5 billion tonnes during the first five months of 2011, more than five times the global crop.

Or if we put it another way, it is now "normal" for a volume equivalent to the entire annual world corn crop to trade each and every month in Chicago.

And that doesn't include options trade, if we throw that in then we get the equivalent of 6 billion tonnes or almost seven times world production. In less than half the year.

Speculators and index funds aren't driving world markets though, so be told will you. That's all bona fide hedging that is.

You don't normally see these figures reported in millions, or in this case billions of tonnes do you? I think they do that to confuse us. "Funds sold an estimated 50,000 corn contracts last week," they tell us. And we go, yeah erm, that sounds quite impressive, but 50,000 isn't really that big a number is it? "Funds sold an estimated 6.35 million tonnes of corn last week" makes you sit up and pay a bit more attention though doesn't it? And they're both the same thing.

Wimbledon fortnight is upon us. Another chance to see if Andrew Murray is the pride of Britain or a useless Jock git. I know where my money is going.

That of course can only mean one thing, rain. And I for one am starting to get fed up with it already. Which reminds me of the time I came home from work to find MrsN#1 waiting on the doorstep about to take the dog out for a walk in the pouring rain.

"Thanks for this nice new cagoule that you bought me for my birthday, darling," she said. Little did she know it was supposed to be a four man tent to take the kids on holiday to Abersoch with. Bless.

And talking of #1, and Jordan at the same time brings to mind the fact that she was always going on about her breasts being different sizes and what did I think. As if I was interested. I used to just say "put a sock in it will you."

The Early Vibe

20/06/11 -- The overnight grains are mostly a little lower with front month July corn falling under USD7/bushel this morning, it hasn't closed under that level for a month. As well as reduced offtake from ethanol producers there's now some talk of US pig producers cutting herd numbers with corn at these levels.

Will we see more corn liquidation this week? Certainly at the very least we could see July coming under more pressure as funds roll their positions.

Widespread rain across the UK, France and Germany over the weekend may mean that we do get a wheat crop after all. That could see European grains under a bit more pressure when the markets open here this morning.

Crude oil is already the best part of USD2 lower on NYMEX, and now not that far away from breaking through the USD90 mark at USD91.22/barrel.

The Greek tragedy rumbles on. "Eurozone finance ministers said they expected Greece to get EUR12bn in emergency loans by mid-July, but made no firm commitment – until the country makes more progress on austerity measures aimed at sorting out its problems," says this morning.

China's totally unbiased People's Daily says that despite a severe drought the country's top wheat producing state of Henan province will have a higher output than last year for the ninth year running. Give yourselves a little magical pat on the back Henan.

Down the road in China's second largest wheat producing province of Shandong they also report an increase on last year. And you're never going to guess what the state of play is in Hebei and Anhui, the third and fourth largest producing provinces. Go on, it's only a bit of fun. Higher or lower than a two? Yes, that's right the state-run Farmer's Daily is delighted to report wheat production increasing there too.

I'm banned over there you know.

Saudi Arabia has bought 360,000 MT of US/EU wheat over the weekend at an unspecified price and with no clear indication on how the order was split.

Heavy rainfall covered a large part of Ukraine over the weekend, and crop conditions are now looking "very favourable" according to Agritel.

That's the early scores on the doors this sunny Monday morning boys and girls. This week we're going to be playing with Merlin's balls, as chosen by Frank and Doris from Steeple Bumpstead....

Sunday Rain

19/06/11 -- Back from a very soggy Sunday morning walk round the local pinewoods with the dog. That's right, no happy Father's Day Sunday morning lie-in for me. MrsN#3 is off for well-deserved girlie pampering day/night at a swanky health spa not too far from here, whilst I stay at home snarling at the unruly spawn of Satan that she's left behind, as well feeding the dog/guinea pig/hamsters etc.

So, where was I, ah yes it's rained heavily overnight here and again through until about 11am Sunday morning. So much so that as I was paddling my way through the pinewoods this morning I was wondering how long it will be before we get the first "traders are concerned that heavy rains across the UK, France and Germany may be starting to damage crop potential" reports filtering through?

Frank Whinge who farms 10,000 acres of prime arable land in Suffolk says "I lost half my crop to the drought in the spring, now I reckon I've lost the other half to this blim, bloomin, blimmin rain so I have. It's a good job I only planted that there bloomin five acre bottom field with wheat and decided to keep the other 9,995 in set aside or I'd be chuffin kickin myself so I would. Do you like my dog? Subsidy we call him, he's a lovely boy aren't you Subsidy. Look watch this, fetch....there you go, you throw him a stick and he brings back a cheque every time. Fetch....I could play this all day I could."