EU Grains End Higher, Although UK Wheat Plantings At 6-Year High

19/03/14 -- EU grains closed mostly higher, with Mar 14 London wheat up GBP1.95/tonne at GBP168.35/tonne, whilst new crop Nov 14 was GBP2.50/tonne firmer at GBP161.50/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR4.50/tonne higher at EUR213.25/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was up EUR2.00/tonne to EUR186.50/tonne and May 14 Paris rapeseed rose EUR5.25/tonne to EUR405.25/tonne.

Fresh news was relatively thin on the ground, but Ukrainian uncertainties appear to continue to be pushing fund money back into grains and underpinnnig the market.

The Ukraine Ministry said that Crimean ports only accounted for around 7% of grain exports, and that the "slack" could easily be taken up by the major shipping ports such as Odessa, Ilyichesk and Nikolaev.

Weather concerns remain, with US winter wheat areas suffering from drought and declining crop conditions.

Dryness in Australia is also causing some trade concern ahead of the planting season there.

Meanwhile, the European part of the Black Sea Basin is also under drought stress, having received only 50% of normal rain in the past 6 months, according to Agritel.

Dryness is an issue in Germany too where "it is drought, not wetness, threatening the 2014 wheat harvest. The most serious drought is in Bayern, southern Germany, where winter rainfall was less than 50% of average," said Martell Crop Projections.

"Troublesome drought has continued in March," and "seems to be spreading into Poland another important wheat-producing country", they added.

Tunisia tendered for 42 TMT of optional origin durum wheat for Apr/May shipment, and Algeria for 50 TMT of durum for April delivery.

Reuters reported that Canadian grain movements by rail have bucked up significantly since the government introduced quotas for the various state-owned rail companies there.

UK customs data shows that of the 1.44 MMT of corn imported in the Jul/Jan period, 362.5 MMT came from France, 320.9 MMT came from Ukraine and a further 312.6 MMT came from Bulgaria.

Russian early spring grain planting in the Stavropol district is said to be 27.7% complete.

The Scottish government reported that the winter wheat planted area there was up 12% at 203,600 ha, whilst the winter barley area was down 1% to 56,400 ha.

With DEFRA reporting the English/Welsh winter wheat planted area at 1.815 million ha a couple of weeks ago, that takes total UK plantings to in excess of 2 million ha, excluding Northern Ireland - the largest planted area since 2008.