EU Grains Little Changed On The Day Or For The Week

22/11/13 -- EU grains closed narrowly mixed, strong exports and a sharp drop-off in the pace of French winter wheat plantings are supporting the market. A record US, Ukraine and Russian corn crop is seen as a bearish influence however.

The session ended with expiring Nov 13 London wheat unchanged at GBP164.25/tonne, Jan 14 London wheat up GBP0.25/tonne at GBP164.50/tonne, Jan 14 Paris wheat EUR0.25/tonne weaker at EUR206.50/tonne, Jan 14 Paris corn down EUR1.00/tonne at EUR176.50/tonne and Feb 14 Paris rapeseed down EUR1.00/tonne at EUR378.00/tonne.

For the week Jan 14 London wheat was down GBP0.50/tonne, Jan 14 Paris wheat rose EUR2.00/tonne, Jan 14 Paris corn gained EUR2.50/tonne and Feb 14 Paris rapeseed fell EUR0.50/tonne.

FranceAgriMer said that winter wheat plantings there were 88% done as of Nov 18, up only 4 percentage points on the week, and now lagging last year's pace of 92% complete. Good/very good crop conditions fell from 87% last week to 84% this time round. Winter barley plantings only moved from 97% done last week to 98% complete (versus 99% a year ago at this time), with good/very good falling from 85% to 81%. Meanwhile the French corn crop is only 67% harvested, up from 58% a week previously, but far behind the 95% progress that was evident 12 months ago.

At least crop maturity is good. FranceAgriMer said that 26% of the planted winter wheat crop is at the tillering stage, up from 18% a week ago and versus only 8% this time in 2012. Winter barley advanced from 36% tillering to 47% as of Nov 18, and far better than only 17% this time last year.

German winter plantings are said to be complete, as too are those in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Russian grain harvest now stands at 94 MMT off 94.3% of the planned area. Wheat accounts for 54 MMT of that (off 97.9%), barley 16.3 MMT (95.4%) and corn 9.1 MMT (70.9%). Winter grains have been planted on 14.6 million hectares versus 15.8 million this time last year. That's 89.3% of the originally intended area.

Ukraine's winter grains planting is said to be over at 7.73 million hectares, compared to the original target of 8.2 million. Their 2013 harvest is now past 60 MMT (a record) and is 96% complete. Corn harvesting is ongoing at 88% complete, producing a crop of 26.6 MMT so far. That total is already an all time high, and they are also expected to bring in a record 10.6 MMT sunflower crop this year, according to the Ag Ministry.

Brussels issued 580 TMT of soft wheat export licences this week, taking the 2013/14 marketing year to date total to 10.6 MMT thus far, versus only 6.8 MMT this time a year ago.

Tunisia are tendering for 109 TMT of optional origin durum wheat for Dec/Jan shipment. Morocco have said that they are to waive the existing import tariff on wheat, which could pave the way for more buying, particularly from France.

The supply and demand side of the coin for wheat within the EU seems fairly well balanced at the moment. Lack of competition from the FSU should continue to provide support across the winter. Competition does however exist from corn, both within the EU, and from the FSU and further afield, which should cap upside potential.