EU Wheat Little Changed

13/03/12 -- EU grains finished mixed with May 12 London wheat up GBP0.25/tonne to GBP166.50/tonne and May 12 Paris wheat unchanged at EUR211.50/tonne.

Prices retreated from early gains in afternoon trade when America opened a bit flat on corn and wheat.

Rumours of US corn sales to China over the past couple of days may have been partially confirmed by the USDA reporting the sale of 240,000 MT to "unknown" for 2011/12 shipment.

There are also reports circulating that a disappointing Argentine corn crop may lead to some form of export restrictions being introduced in 2012/13. The Argentine government has a long history of tinkering with corn and wheat exports, although they have appeared to have taken a more relaxed approach of late.

Drought in Western Europe, and most particularly Spain, is now beginning to attract media interest. December, January and February have been the driest in Spain since at least the 1940s, according to the national weather office.

At home seven UK water companies in the south and south east have announced that they are to impose water restrictions after back-to-back unusually dry winters.

The Ukraine Ministry dropped their forecast for wheat production there this year by 2 MMT to 14 MMT, a drop of more than a third on last year. UkrAgroConsult estimate output even lower at 13.8 MMT.

Asian buyers will be conscious of an Argentine dock workers strike continuing into a 12th day, following on from supply disruptions from the Black Sea due to the recent deep freeze and last year's Russian export ban. Other origins like Europe, the US, Canada and Australia may be looked upon with preference.

Liffe/Euronext have today extended the range of months traded for milling wheat and malting barley to 12, meaning that both can now be traded as far forward as Jan 15. The number of corn and rapeseed months traded has also been increased.