Morning Snippets

23/02/12 -- The Chinese Ministry say that a newly discovered outbreak of "type O" foot & mouth disease in the in the northwestern Ningxia Hui region is under control after 22 cows were slaughtered. What else would you expect them to say? This one wants watching.

Credit Agricole has reported a hefty EUR3 billion Q4 loss on exposure to Greek debt. RBS are showing their support by reporting a 2011 loss of GBP2 billion, up from GBP1.1 billion the year before. Way to go lads.

Russian wheat exports in the 2011/12 marketing year to date have slowed to 16.3 MMT hampered by the recent and ongoing cold spell. Things should pick up again in the second half of March.

Kazakhstan reckons it will export 10.5 MMT of wheat/wheat products in 2011/12 which is 2 MMT more than the USDA currently predict. Almost 7 MMT has already been shipped, they say.

Despite jumping through enough hoops (any systematically lying through it's back teeth) to get it's bailout money, an unimpressed Fitch has cut Greece’s credit rating by two notches to C from CCC, saying a default is "highly likely in the near term," that's money well spent then.

Continued evidence that European wheat is too expensive comes from news that Spain bought 30,000 MT of US soft wheat overnight. Tunisia are tendering today, it will be interesting to see if US wheat gets a foot in the door there too. Algeria are also in the market for 125,000 MT.

Iraq is said to have bought 400,000 MT of Canadian wheat.

Tonight we will get to find out what volume of wheat export licences were granted by Brussels this week following last week's appallingly low 47 TMT.

Ongoing tensions between Iran and the West see Brent and NYMEX WTI crude at nine month highs. Brent has risen above USD124/barrel this morning, with the gap between it and WTI now almost USD18/barrel.