EU Wheat Rises On Ongoing Argentine Drought

23/01/12 -- EU grains finished higher with the exception of expiring Jan 12 London wheat which was unchanged at GBP157.00/tonne. New front month Mar 12 was GBP1.35/tonne higher at GBP159.50/tonne and Mar 12 Paris wheat rose EUR3.00/tonne to EUR201.50/tonne.

Weekend rains in Argentina were less widespread and lighter than anticipated. Few analysts expect corn production there to be anywhere near the USDA's 26 MMT estimate, with 20 MMT probably now the average and some lining up around the 18 MMT mark.

Outside markets were supportive after Iran said that it would "definitely" close the Strait of Hormuz if today's EU oil embargo disrupted its exports of crude oil.

Eurozone jitters remain however. Greece didn't manage to get it's weekend deal sorted with private bond holders to accept a 50% haircut.

Media reports say that Italy needs to redeem EUR48 billion next month, starting with EUR26 billion due on Feb 1st. In addition to that there's a further EUR40 billion due in March and another EUR40 billion maturing in April.

Ukraine crop conditions appear to have improved, but a quarter of their winter sown crops are still likely to need replanting in the spring. Central and western parts of the country are still under stress from low soil moisture reserves however.

Russia's domestic grain prices are rising with exports set to reach around 19.5-20.0 MMT by the end of this month, only 5 MMT away from what the government there say will be take them outside their comfort zone.