EU Wheat Mixed,Weekly Exports Best Since 2010

15/11/12 -- EU grains closed with Nov 12 London wheat unchanged at GBP217.00/tonne, with benchmark May 13 GBP0.55/tonne higher at GBP219.00/tonne. Jan 13 Paris wheat ended EUR1.00/tonne down at EUR269.25/tonne.

It was a relatively quiet session with little movement. Weekly export data out of the principal French grain port of Rouen showed only 34 TMT of soft wheat being shipped out in the week through to Nov 14 - the lowest weekly total since August according to Bloomberg. Whist Algeria was the largest home, it is noteworthy that the UK also featured on the list of destinations taking 4,700 MT.

Algeria were however reported to have bought at least 200 TMT and possibly as much as 400 TMT of wheat in a tender today. The trade expects that to ultimately prove to be of French origin.

News that Brussels had granted 695 TMT of soft wheat export licences this past week - the largest weekly total in more than two years - may indicate that European exports are about to take off.

In an on, off saga that puts Eastenders to shame Ukraine are now said to be considering a wheat export ban from December. They should have hit their self-imposed ceiling of 5.5 MMT by then after grain exports in the first four and a half months of the 2012/13 season have hit record levels.

Egypt's GASC have apparently said that they have received notification from Ukraine's Ag Ministry that they will stop wheat exports from December 1. Egypt have retaliated by saying that they will removed Ukraine from their list of approved wheat suppliers. To further muddy the waters, in what could be one of the shortest contracts in history, Jordan were today said to have bought 50 TMT of Ukraine wheat for January shipment.

Ukraine should however still remain active sellers of corn for much if not all of the current season, although domestic corn prices are said to have jumped in recent weeks.

Russia's grain exports have also been running at unsustainable levels given a clean weight harvest of only 71 MMT, which is 23 MMT down on last year, this year and are expected to now begin to tail off sharply.

That should thrust Europe, and France in particular, to the forefront as chief wheat supplier for North Africa and the Middle East in Q1 of 2013, although India keep letting the odd 100 TMT or so at a time of their wheat surplus trickle out.

Strategie Grains cut their estimate for the EU 2012 soft wheat harvest from 123.0 MMT to 122.7 MMT - a drop of 6 MMT, or 4.7%, on last year. They upped their forecast for EU corn production this year however from 52.8 MMT to 53.6 MMT, although that is still well down on an output of 63.4 MMT a year ago.

In addition they increased their forecast for corn imports from outside the EU from 10.9 MMT to 11.5 MMT. They also pegged 2012/13 global wheat ending stocks at 159.0 MMT, well below the USDA's current 174.2 MMT estimate.

At home the HGCA said that wheat bushel weights here only averaged 69.6 kg/hl this year, more than 11% down on last year's result. Barley bushel weights came in at 62.9 kg/hl on average, down 5%. Both were said to be the lowest on records dating back to 1977.

In other news, UK customs data shows a whopping 80% year-on-year increase in rapeseed exports in the first quarter of 2012/13 (Jul/Sep). The UK shipped 350 TMT of rapeseed in this period, mostly to Holland, Germany and Belgium. The number is all the more impressive when you consider that full season 2011/12 UK rapeseed exports were the highest on record.