EU Wheat Mixed, US Weather Watched

02/05/13 -- EU grains were mixed, with the French market playing catch up after a day's closure yesterday. Fresh news was thin on the ground. The ECB cut interest rates in the Eurozone by a quarter to 0.5% which didn't have a great deal of impact to the euro as the move was widely expected.

London wheat closed with front month May 13 down GBP0.50/tonne at GBP192.00/tonne and with new crop Nov 13 unchanged at GBP184.00/tonne. May 13 Paris wheat rose EUR0.75/tonne to EUR253.00/tonne.

Jordan bought 50 TMT of optional origin wheat for August shipment, and immediately re-tendered for a further 150 TMT, along with a similar volume of feed barley. Algeria seeks 50 TMT of optional origin barley for May shipment. There's no sign of the rumoured Egyptian tender yet, although they frequently release those after the close of Chicago on a Friday.

India are tendering to sell 100 TMT of wheat for June shipment, but their last tender picked up no bids due to price aspirations being too high.

Weekly grain shipments out of the leading French hub of Rouen rose from 88 TMT last week to 158 TMT in the week through to yesterday. Soft wheat accounted for 119 TMT of that, of which Algeria took 77 TMT.

The recurring vibe coming out of the US is that wheat production there will be well down on last year, but not as bad as in 2011. The Oklahoma Wheat Commission estimate yields there this year at 25.45 bu/acre versus 36 bu/acre in 2012 and 22 bu/acre in 2011. Production was estimated at 85.6 million bushels, down from 154.8 million a year ago but up from 70.4 million in 2011/12.

Today is the final day of the Kansas wheat tour. Final yield estimates from that will come out tonight but the theme of the first two days has also been consistent with the above. Decent rains in May and June could still see Kansas deliver a decent wheat crop, that's what the tour participants are saying.

So all eyes remain on the US weather. "A fresh polar air mass has plunged into the Great Plains threatening hard red winter wheat. This is the 3rd freeze in a month and potentially the most damaging, due to more advanced wheat development," said Martell Crop Projections.

A "historic" snow even is expected to move into Kansas City tonight, according to AccuWeather. A large area from North Central Iowa though to Wisconsin had up to a foot of snow earlier today, they say.

The vibe out of Russia is that wheat production will be well up on last year's disaster, but not a bin buster. Domestic stocks are low.

Europe is split weather-wise, with the west and north too dry, but plenty of moisture for central areas and the south/east. "Dryness continues to build across UK, far northern France, northern Germany, and far western Poland, stressing wheat growth. Little improvement is expected in these areas this week, so wheat growth will remain stressed. Rains should maintain favourable conditions for wheat growth across central and southern areas," said MDA CropCast.

The latest export data out of Europe shows Brussels issuing 317,958 MT of soft wheat export licenses this past week. That takes the 2012/13 marketing year total to 16.88 MMT 44 weeks into the season, up 47% on year ago levels.