Mid-Morning Mumble

02/03/12 -- The overnight grains are a little easier with wheat, corn and soybeans all around 2-3 cents weaker in light profit-taking. Even so for the week so far we have CBOT wheat up 15 1/4 cents, corn up 11 1/4 cents and soybeans up 34 1/4 cents including the overnight dip.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange left it's weekly Argentine soybean and corn estimates unchanged last night at 46.2 MMT (versus the USDA's 48 MMT) and 21.3 MMT (USDA: 22 MMT) saying that recent heavy rains have improved prospects for soybeans.

Russia's Ag Ministry says that the country will have exported around 23 MMT of grains by the end of the month.

"Winter grains in Russia have apparently survived bitterly cold winter weather without any significant damage. A new report from the state weather agency Gidromet-Russia claims only 6-8% of winter grains were in poor condition," report Martell Crop Projections.

Things are shaping up with promise for 2012 Russian grain production. "Fall wheat growing conditions were very favourable in the Volga District in 2011, with above average rainfall. It was just the opposite of 2010 when severe drought existed, preventing all the intended wheat from getting planted," they say.

"The Volga is a swing district sharply increasing Russia grain production in wet growing seasons, but shrinking the national harvest in years of drought," they add.

Ukraine exported 1.7 MMT of grain in February, with corn accounting for the vast majority of that at 1.3 MMT. Wheat's share was only 340 TMT. Year-to-date grain exports are 13.5 MMT, almost 5 MMT up on year ago levels.

Nobody seems to be holding their hand up with regards to which trading house it was exactly that sold Iran two cargoes of US wheat yesterday, or indeed how they expect to be paid for it. That was the first sale of US wheat to them since 2009. It's easy to hide behind the "humanitarian" hoarding, especially when they're paying big bucks it would seem.

London wheat is having a very quiet end to the week, maybe last night's Manchester Corn Trade Dinner has something to do with that? There's only been 15 lots traded all morning so far, with May12 down GBP0.65/tonne to GBP166.00/tonne.