EU Grains Mostly Lower On Outside Influences

20/11/12 -- EU grains closed mixed although mostly lower with Nov 12 London wheat down GBP0.25/tonne at GBP216.50/tonne and with benchmark May 13 GBP0.50/tonne lower at GBP221.25/tonne. Jan 13 Paris wheat ended unchanged at EUR270.25/tonne.

Fresh news was fairly hard to come by. Ukraine said that it had exported a record 10.72 MMT of grains so far in 2012/13 (starting July 1st) as sellers scramble to stuff all their sales into the first half of the season to avoid an export ban on wheat. Despite the government's insistence that no restrictions on wheat exports will be introduced very few believe this to be the case, at least not in one form or another.

The volume exported so far includes 5.17 MMT of wheat, 3.73 MMT of corn and 1.67 MMT of barley. The is apparently a further 493 TMT of wheat in portside storage facilities waiting to be loaded for abroad, which would take total wheat exports above the government's suggested 5.5 MMT ceiling.

The USDA last night cut good/excellent crop ratings for winter wheat to their lowest since records began in the 1986/7 season. "Exceptional drought is the reason for poor and declining hard red winter wheat. Record low May-October rainfall was recorded in northwest Kansas, north-central Oklahoma and western Nebraska. This was the lowest rainfall on records dating back to 1895, based on official data from the National Climatic Data Centre. It would be difficult if not impossible for soil moisture to be fully replenished due to a 5-6 inch deficit," said Martell Crop Projections.

Following the wettest summer in a century, UK winter wheat is exhibiting "the worst-ever symptoms of fungal diseases on record" say CropMonitor, according to a report on Bloomberg today.

Slugs are also said to be causing unprecedented damage to wheat here, leading to many to forecast a huge surge in spring planted crops in 2013. Agrimoney, quoting RMI Analytics, last week said that the UK spring barley area "has the potential to increase by 50%" year-on-year for the 2013 harvest.

Despite plenty of supportive fundamentals however, outside influences are putting the market under pressure.

Firstly we have this week's "crunch" EU summit, with all 27 member states fighting their own individual corners. Then we have Greece attempting to jump through more hoops to persuade the IMF, ECB and EU to keep the money coming. In addition of course we also have the US "fiscal cliff" not to mention the escalating Gaza crisis.

There's enough uncertainty in that little lot to cap any potential gains and keep the funds looking to continue to lighten their load with year-end approaching rapidly.