EU Grains Lower, Ukraine Exports Continue Unhindered

17/03/14 -- EU grains finished mostly lower in consolidation from the recent price spike.

Mar 14 London wheat ended the day GBP2.05/tonne easier at GBP164.75/tonne, and with new crop Nov 14 GBP2.35/tonne lower at GBP157.00/tonne. May 14 Paris milling wheat fell EUR3.75/tonne to EUR207.75/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was EUR2.50/tonne lower at EUR184.25/tonne and May 14 Paris rapeseed dropped EUR5.75/tonne to EUR396.75/tonne.

The Crimean vote at the weekend returned the largely expected near landslide vote to return to Russian control. This wasn't seen as a market mover. We now have to wait and see if the dispute spreads to other areas of Ukraine.

Meanwhile grain exports continue apparently unhindered. The Ukraine Ministry said that the country had exported 25.66 MMT of grains so far this marketing year (to Mar 14), a 37.5% increase on a year ago.

That total included 15.84 MMT of corn and 7.44 MMT of wheat.

A week ago exports to Mar 7 we're said to be 24.9 MMT, including 15.12 MMT of corn. That suggests that the country shipped out 760 TMT of grains last week, of which 720 TMT was corn.

That doesn't indicate that the current problems are contributing to a significant slowdown in exports at all.

Chinese buyers were reported to have booked 50,000 MT of Ukraine corn over the weekend.

Russian grain exports for the Mar 1-12 period meanwhile stand at 523 TMT, of which 212 TMT was wheat and 263 TMT corn.

Russia's marketing year to date exports are now 19.355 MMT, including 14.293 MMT of wheat, 2.776 MMT of corn and 2.053 MMT of barley.

Friday's Commitment of Traders report showed fund money continuing to flood into Chicago corn and wheat. Agrimoney reported today that they've featured as the largest net buyer in corn across the last 4 weeks since the news of the big Russian drought broke in the summer of 2010.

We may have seen some consolidation today, but it might not take a lot to see further upside potential coming from more spec money coming back into the grains sector in the days and weeks ahead. Developments in Ukraine hold the key for now, although concerns are also being raised over US winter wheat health, and even for spring grains plantings in the Midwest.