EU Grains Mixed, Rapeseed At Best Levels In 9-Months

06/03/14 -- EU grains closed mixed, with wheat mostly lower as tensions between the West and Russia eased and hopes that a diplomatic solution to the problems with Ukraine increased.

Mar 14 London wheat closed GBP0.60/tonne lower at GBP161.60/tonne, whilst new crop Nov 14 was GBP0.25/tonne easier at GBP153.25/tonne. Mar 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.50/tonne higher at EUR208.25/tonne, new front month Jun 14 Paris corn was down EUR0.25/tonne to EUR182.75/tonne, whilst May 14 Paris rapeseed was EUR7.25/tonne higher at EUR414.00/tonne - the highest close for a front month since last June.

The FAO's Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) raised their forecast for the world 2013/14 wheat crop by 2 MMT from last month to a record 716 MMT, and increased ending stocks this season by 3 MMT to 179 MMT, a 20 MMT hike on last year.

They also raised the world 2013/14 corn crop by 6 MMT from last month to a record 1006 MMT. Although ending stocks were left unchanged at 175 MMT that's still a sharp 44 MMT increase on carryout in 2012/13.

They didn't release any forecasts for 2014/15 production, but noted generally "favourable" conditions for winter wheat in the northern hemisphere.

"In the EU, conditions are variable. Western Europe has experienced a mild winter with very wet conditions. Central-Northern Italy and British Isles experienced exceptionally wet conditions leading to floods and widespread water logging. In the absence of drier conditions in coming weeks, winter crops may be locally severely impacted. Above average precipitation also occurred in western France and Spain with lower expected impacts," they said.

The EU Commission did however release their first forecasts for EU-28 grain production this year, pegged the all wheat crop slightly higher than last season at 145.5 MMT. They forecast the EU-28 barley crop at 56.9 MMT, which is 3 MMT lower than last year, with the corn crop seen at 69.7 MMT, a 3.7 MMT rise on output in 2012/13.

EU wheat exports in 2014/15 were forecast at 22 MMT, a 4 MMT decline on this season's anticipated record 26 MMT.

Brussels announced weekly soft wheat export licenses of 563 MMT, a fall on the 932 TMT issued last week, but that was the largest weekly total of the 2013/14 marketing year so far. Cumulative soft wheat export licences now stand at 20.8 MMT versus 13.7 MMT a year ago.

Brussels also cleared 346 TMT worth of EU corn import licences, taking the 2013/14 marketing year to date total to 8.9 MMT.

Tunisia bought 92 TMT of optional origin milling wheat for April/May shipment in their tender. French origin is the usual likely favourite. Jordan passed and immediately re-tendered for 100 TMT of optional origin barley for Jun/Jul shipment. Iraq bought 200 TMT of Canadian/Australian hard wheat.

Origin Enterprises said that the UK wheat area for the 2014 harvest had jumped 23% versus last year to around 2 million hectares, aided by "near perfect conditions on farm" last autumn. Rapeseed sowings were forecast 15% lower at 640,000 ha.