EU Grains Lower On The Day And Lower On The Week

04/04/14 -- EU grains finished lower on the day and lower for the week. May 14 London wheat closed GBP0.30/tonne easier at GBP163.45/tonne, whilst new crop Nov 14 was down GBP1.55/tonne at GBP151.95/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.25/tonne weaker at EUR206.50/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was down EUR1.50/tonne at EUR184.25/tonne and May 14 Paris rapeseed fell EUR2.25/tonne to EUR408.75/tonne.

For the week, May 14 London wheat fell GBP3.80/tonne and Nov 14 shed GBP6.15/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR3.25/tonne lower versus last Friday, with Jun 14 corn down EUR4.00/tonne and May 14 rapeseed losing EUR3.50/tonne.

Following the recent run-up in prices, the wheat market is just starting to look a little jaded. Chicago wheat, which jumped nearly 30% from late January through to March 24th on what was largely speculative buying on the Black Sea issue and potential US winter wheat losses, has subsequently retreated by 6%. Still, a net gain of almost 24% isn't to be sniffed at.

European grains have been a follower of the US spec-led rally, and have subsequently not put in such impressive performances. Nevertheless, London wheat tonight stands 9% higher than the late January low, whilst Paris wheat is up by 8.7%.

Dryness issues in Germany and some other parts of central and eastern Europe should receive some relief with better than normal moisture in the forecast across the next 14 days. Ukraine and most of Russia's winter grains areas are also in for a decent shot of precipitation in the next two weeks, which should be beneficial for crop development. Early spring grain planting in these areas has been going well, and those crops that are now in the ground should also benefit.

The frenetic pace of EU soft wheat exports has slowed up a little, but has already beaten the 2008/09 record of 22 MMT. With 596 TMT of export licences granted this past week, these now stand at 23.3 MMT, up 49% versus 15.6 MMT this time a year ago.

Corn keeps coming in though, with Brussels issuing 391 TMT of import licences, taking the 2013/14 seasonal total so far to 10.5 MMT, a 20% rise on last year.

Europe has now exported 80% of the USDA's forecast for full season wheat exports, but it has also imported more than 95% of the projected corn total.

The French crop looks like being early, with maturity well ahead of a year ago. FranceAgriMer reported that 90% of the French winter wheat crop is now displaying an ear of at least 1cm versus only 18% this time a year ago. Winter barley by comparison is 96% at the same stage compared with only 17% a year ago.

The French spring barley crop is now 97% sown versus 90% this time last year, and 68% of the crop is emerged versus 30% a year ago. The 2014 corn crop is now 2% planted, they say.

Winter wheat crop conditions are rated 75% good/very good, unchanged from a week ago and 10 points ahead of last year. The winter barley crop is rated 73% good/very good, which is up a point on a week ago, and compares favourably to 66% this time last year.