EU Grains Mostly Higher On Heightened Tensions In Ukraine

24/04/14 -- EU grains finished mostly higher, with May 14 London wheat closing GBP0.10/tonne firmer at GBP168.00/tonne, and with new crop Nov 14 London wheat up GBP0.70/tonne at GBP158.10/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR1.25/tonne higher at EUR216.00/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was up EUR2.25/tonne at EUR188.00/tonne, whilst soon to expire May 14 Paris rapeseed crashed EUR8.75/tonne to EUR406.75/tonne.

Concerns over US winter wheat and heightened Ukraine tensions are what is grabbing the market's interest at the moment.

President Putin warned of unspecified "consequences" following the reported deaths of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Meanwhile the US accused Russia of "distraction, deception and destabilisation" in the troubled Black Sea nation.

EU soft wheat exports are finally slowing down. Brussels granted 378 TMT of soft wheat export licences this past week. That's down from 412 TMT last week, and versus 585 TMT the week previously and 596 TMT the week prior to that.

Even so, the cumulative total for the season so far already stands at a record 24.7 MMT.

Corn imports also appear to be slowing, with 190 TMT worth of import licences granted this week, down from 497 TMT a week ago.

Russia's Ag Ministry said that spring grain plantings had been completed on 4.3 million hectares, or 13.6% of plan. That's up on 3.2 million ha this time a year ago.

Spring barley accounts for the lion's share of that, with 2.3 million ha sown. Russian farmers have also planted almost 628,000 ha of corn and just under 360,000 ha of spring wheat.

Rusagrotrans forecast Russia's April grain exports at 2 MMT, falling to 1.5-1.6 MMT in May.

Morocco were said to have bought 30,000 MT of wheat from Poland for May shipment. Jordan are tendering for 150,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat, and a similar volume of optional origin feed barley.

Stats Canada forecast the 2014 Canadian all wheat area at almost 24.8 million acres, down from just over 26 million last year, but above trade expectations of 24.4 million and more than a million higher than the area sown in 2012. Canadian barley plantings will drop almost 11% to 6.3 million acres, they added.