Chicago Mixed Following USDA Report

09/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed sharply higher on old crop, and with small gains of generally 2-3 cents on new crop. The thinly traded May 14 future goes off the board next Wednesday. The more active Jul 14 closed towards the top end of a 27 cent trading range on the day. Fund money was said to have finished up as a net buyer of around 6,000 soybean contracts. The USDA confirmed what everybody already knew, that old crop US soybean stocks are very tight, as reflected in the nearby premiums. They cut the 2013/14 US carryout from their April estimate of 135 million bushels to 130 million. World soybean ending stocks in 2013/14 were estimated at 66.98 MMT, down 2.44 MMT on last month and below the average trade estimate of 69.77 MMT. There was no change to 2013/14 production in Brazil (87.5 MMT) or Argentina (54 MMT). Once again though, it's jam tomorrow for the soybean market. US soybean plantings in 2014 were forecast up 5 million acres on last year to 81.5 million. US soybean production for 2014 was projected at a record 3.635 billion bushels, up 346 million from the 2013 crop, on both record yields and a record harvested area. Yields this year were projected at 45.2 bushels/acre, up 1.9 bu/acre versus 2013. Brazil's 2014/15 crop will climb to a new record 91 MMT, on increased plantings and a small improvement in yield. Argentina's 2014/15 soybean crop was pegged at the same levels as this year. The bottom line is a jump in US soybean ending stocks to 330 million bushels in 2014/15, a more than 150% hike on this season and around 30 million higher than expected. World carryout will leap to a record 82.2 MMT versus the average trade estimate of 80.34 MMT, they said. "The season-average US soybean price for 2014/15 is forecast to decline to $9.75 to $11.75 per bushel compared with $13.10 per bushel in 2013/14. Soybean meal prices are forecast at $355 to $395 per short ton, compared with $485 per ton for 2013/14," they forecast. Chinese soybean imports in 2013/14 were left unchanged at 69 MMT, rising to a new record 72 MMT in 2014/15. Brazil's soybean exports in 2014/15 were seen eclipsing those of the US (44.23 MMT) at 45 MMT. May 14 Soybeans closed at $15.01, up 26 3/4 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.87, up 17 1/2 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $497.50, up $6.90; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 40.98, up 4 points. For the week that puts May 14 beans 20 1/4 cents higher, with May 14 meal up $6.40 and May 14 oil 31 points lower.

Corn: The corn market ended 8 to 12 cents lower. "Global corn production in 2014/15 is expected to be unchanged from last year’s record, and above global consumption for the fourth year in a row," according to the USDA. They forecast both the world and US 2014 crops at almost identical levels to last year's records - 979 MMT and 354 MMT (or 13.935 billion bushels) respectively. The US corn planted area was forecast at 91.7 million acres, down 3.7 million on last year, with yields at 165.3 bushels/acre, up 4% versus 2013. Old crop US ending stocks of 1.146 billion bushels were down 185 million bushels from April and well below the average guess of 1.314 billion. New crop carryout will however rise to 1.726 billion bushels versus the average trade estimate of 1.672 billion. World old crop ending stocks were placed at a large 168.42 MMT, versus 158 MMT in the April report and the average guess of 157.31 MMT. Global carryout in 2014/15 was estimated rising further to 187.73 MMT versus the average trade forecast of 159.41 MMT and above the top end of the range of guesses. Brazilian production in 2013/14 was raised 3 MMT to 75 MMT, whilst Argentina's was left unchanged at 54 MMT. For 2014/15 the USDA forecast Brazil's crop at 74 MMT and Argentina's at 56 MMT. They also estimated Ukraine's 2014 corn crop at 26 MMT versus last year's record 30.9 MMT. China's 2013/14 corn import needs were reduced by 0.5 MMT to 4.5 MMT, and those for 2014/15 pegged at only 3 MMT. China will produce a record 220 MMT of corn this year, they said. US corn prices were forecast at averaging $3.85-4.55 per bushel versus $4.50-4.80 per bushel this season. The latest Commitment of Traders report showed managed money increasing their net long position in corn by 2,088 contracts as of Tuesday night, giving them a net long of 266,479 contracts. All eyes will now be on the USDA again on Monday night when they release their planting progress figures, with some trade estimates suggesting that corn planting could be as much as 60% done, up from 29% a week ago. "Corn planting made good progress during a period of strong drying in the last week, but the weather is deteriorating. Very heavy rain is predicted the next few days, followed sharply cooling next week. The 6-10 day outlook keeps a cool weather pattern in the Midwest, Great Plains and South. Below-average rainfall is also predicted, a welcome change after heavy Midwest rainfall," said Martell Crop Projections. That sounds consistent with a developing El Nino weather pattern. May 14 Corn closed at $5.05, down 8 1/4 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $5.07 1/2, down 9 cents. For the week that puts May 14 corn 9 cents higher.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower across the board. "Global wheat production is projected to reach 697 MMT, down from the 2013/14 record. Black Sea regional production is down, particularly Ukraine, but exportable supplies are still ample. The US crop is projected lower than last year due to adverse weather in Hard Red Winter wheat growing areas. Global consumption is expected to decline marginally as corn continues to displace wheat in feed rations. Global ending stocks are forecast to rise marginally to 187 MMT," said the USDA. They forecast lower 2014/15 wheat production in Australia (at 25.5 MMT versus 27 MMT), Canada (28.5 MMT versus 37.5 MMT) Turkey (15 MMT versus 18 MMT) and Ukraine (20 MMT versus 22.3 MMT), as well as the US (53.4 MMT versus 58 MMT). That was partially offset by increases this year from Argentina (12.5 MMT versus 10.5 MMT), Brazil (6 MMT versus 5.3 MMT), China (123 MMT versus 121.7 MMT) and Europe (144.9 MMT versus 143.3 MMT). World consumption in 2014/15 will also decline from 702.8 MMT this season to 696.2 MMT. Because of increased production in 2014/15 Brazil's import needs will decline from 7.5 MMT to 6.5 MMT. Algeria's imports will drop from 6.7 MMT to 6 MMT, China's will more than halve from 7 MMT down to 3 MMT, Iran's will also drop steeply from 6 MMT to 4 MMT, along with Mexico's from 4.5 MMT to 3.7 MMT. Significantly increased wheat imports are seen from the EU (up from 3.8 MMT to 5.5 MMT) and Turkey (4.2 MMT to 5.5 MMT). Despite a production decrease in 2014/15, Australia's exports will rise from 18 MMT to 19 MMT, and Canada's will only fall slightly, from 21.5 MMT to 21 MMT. Europe's exports will drop from this season's record 30 MMT to 27.5 MMT. Ukraine's will fall from 9.5 MMT to 8.5 MMT, whilst Russia's will rise from 18.2 MMT to 19 MMT, they said. "This was the first look at state production estimates for the 2014 winter wheat harvest. The 3 main hard red winter wheat states Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are predicted to harvest 33% less wheat than a year ago, 378 million bushels against 490 million bushels in 2013. No surprise there. However, the other 4 bread wheat states Montana, Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota are expecting a 52% increase in wheat production, bolstering bread wheat supplies. Wet weather has increased wheat potential in the northern United States, while severe drought has damaged wheat in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Thus, the 7-state bread wheat production would be down a more modest 13%," said Martell Crop Projections. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.14, down 12 3/4 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.19, down 13 1/2 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.94 3/4, down 1/4 of a cent, although other months were generally around 10-11 cents lower. For the week that puts CBOT wheat 6 1/4 cents higher, with KCBT down 37 cents and MGEX up 31 3/4 cents.

EU Grains Mixed, USDA Forecasts Wheat Production Here At 6-Year High In 2014

09/05/14 -- EU grains closed mixed ahead of the release of today's important USDA WASDE report, which will give us a first glimpse into their take on crop production prospects around the globe for the 2014/15 marketing year.

May 14 London wheat ended down GBP2.25/tonne at GBP161.45/tonne, and new crop Nov 14 London wheat closed GBP0.80/tonne lower at GBP156.15/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.75/tonne easier at EUR207.25/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn fell EUR0.25/tonne to EUR184.25/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed was up EUR2.00/tonne to EUR359.00/tonne.

Both old crop London and Paris wheats are starting to look weak, and are coming down to meet new crop. May 14 Paris wheat goes off the board on Monday. For Paris wheat this was the lowest close on a front month in more than a month, and for London wheat it was the lowest since the early days of March.

For the week May 14 London wheat was GBP5.55/tonne lower, with the new crop Nov 14 easing a more modest GBP2.05/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed the week EUR8.00 lower than it began it. Jun 14 Paris corn showed little change, up half a euro, and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed was also barely changed - down a quarter.

An apparently more conciliatory take on Ukraine by Russia's President Putin has eased tensions in the Black Sea a little this week, although the situation there is far from resolved. As we saw just last weekend, things could look different again come Monday morning.

Spring planting and the export of the 2013 crop still goes on in Ukraine though, apparently relatively unhindered. The Ministry there said that the country has now exported a record 29.971 MMT of grains this season, including 18.791 MMT of it's record 2013 corn harvest, along with 8.572 MMT of wheat and 2.269 MMT of barley.

Spring grains have now been planted on 6.8 million hectares in Ukraine, which is 82% of the Ministry's target. That total includes just over 4 million ha of corn (79% of target). They've also sown 3.595 million ha of sunflower (83% of plan) and 1.103 million ha of soybeans (67% of target).

Crop conditions all around Europe continue to run at least 2 weeks ahead of normal. FranceAgriMer reported today that 18% of the French wheat crop is now heading, up from 6% a week ago and compared to only 1% this time last year. The differences between this year and last year are even more apparent in the French winter barley crop, which was 96% headed as of May 5, against 52% the previous week and only 10% at this point in 2013. They said that 55% of the spring barley crop is now displaying an ear of at least 1cm long, versus 21% last week and only 16% a year ago.

French corn planting is also advanced compared with last year at 83% done, versus 65% in 2013.

As far as crop conditions go, FranceAgriMer left the proportion of winter wheat rated good/very good unchanged from last week at 73% versus 66% a year ago. Winter barley good/excellent was also unchanged at 70% compared to 66% this time last year.

Late in the day the USDA estimated the EU wheat crop at just shy of 145 MMT this year, the highest in 6 years and the third highest on record. EU wheat exports for the current season were raised to 30 MMT, and were projected at 27.5 MMT in 2014/15. World wheat production will fall in 2014/15 from last season's record high 714 MMT to 697 MMT, although ending stocks will show a small increase to a more than ample 187.4 MMT, they said.

The USDA raised their projected 2013/14 EU corn imports by 1 MMT to 13 MMT, and interestingly see that level of imports holding through next season as well.The EU-28 corn crop in 2014/15 was seen almost identical to this season at 64.65 MMT. Corn consumption in the EU is seen rising from 74.5 MMT this season to a record 76 MMT in 2014/15.

EU barley production in 2014 was estimated 5% lower than last year at 55.6 MMT. Consumption in 2014/15 will decline 4% to 51.5 MMT, they estimated.

The 2014/15 EU rapeseed crop was forecast at 21.5 MMT, up 1.6%, from last year, 1.0 MMT above the 5-year average and only 0.1 MMT away from the 2009/10 record.

They forecast the 2014 UK wheat crop rebounding 27% from last season's poor production year to 15.15 MMT, using a planted area of 1.95 million hectares and an average yield estimate of an achievable 7.77 MT/ha. They see the UK barley crop down 19% at 5.75 MMT, courtesy of fall in plantings of a similar percentage. The UK oat crop is seen more than 31% lower at 660 TMT, again due to a similarly large fall in plantings. The UK rapeseed crop will climb 14% to 2.43 MMT, despite a small reduction in area, as yields bounce back to more "normal" levels of an average 3.44 MT/ha, they said.

On This Day In 2013

09/05/14-- It's all very exciting isn't it, the USDA's first look into the 2014/15 crop year? What will they say? And how wrong will they ultimately proved to be, those hapless chumps in Washington?

I bet they were miles out last year, with their Spectrum ZX computer, blunt pencils, backs of fag packets and coloured crayons.

Or were they?

Woooo, I'm going all wobbly....I'm going back in time....

USDA May WASDE report day 2013. Man Utd, incidentally, are top of the premier league and have already won the show with one game still to play. Man Citeh, in second, are trailing 13 points in their wake. Everbody hates Ed Milliband. Things have changed a bit since then. Man Ure now trail Citeh by 20 points for a starter. At least there's some consistency when Ed Milliband is about though.


The USDA forecast US corn yields at 158 bu/acre. They finish up at 158.8 bu/acre, not a bad shout. They have the crop at 14.1 billion bushels. It ends up at 13.9 billion in January. They see world corn production at 966 MMT (that's currently 974 MMT prior to today's report). They estimate global ending stocks at 154.6 MMT (currently 158 MMT) and forecast Chinese imports at 7 MMT (now 5 MMT). Fair play.


The USDA forecast US soybean yields at 44.5 bu/acre. They finish up at 43.3 bu/acre, not too bad. They have the crop at 3.39 billion bushels. It ends up at 3.29 billion. They see world soybean production at 286 MMT (that's currently 284 MMT prior to today's report). They estimate global ending stocks at 75 MMT (currently 69.4 MMT) and forecast Chinese imports at 69 MMT (still 69 MMT). They have the Brazilian 2013/14 crop at 85 MMT (currently 87.5 MMT) and the Argie crop at 54.5 MMT (now 54 MMT). Get your coat Derek Acorah, there's a new kid on the block. Although you probably knew that already didn't you? Running Bear must have mentioned it surely?


The USDA forecast US all wheat production at 2 billion bushels. It ends up at 2.1 billion. Hums theme from Twilight Zone. They see world wheat production at 701 MMT (that's currently 712.5 MMT prior to today's report). They estimate Russia at 56 MMT (now 52 MMT), Ukraine at 22 MMT (same as now) and Kazakhstan at 15 MMT (now 14 MMT). OK, they didn't see Canada's 37.5 MMT crop coming (using a figure of 29 MMT last May), but who did, overall that's a pretty impressive set of predictions. Let's see if they can do it again today.

Wooooo, the voices are calling me back to 2014....hang on, I just want pop into William Hills to see what the odds are on Fergie leaving Man Utd and them subsequently sacking their new manager in his first season...what, 25/1? Erm yes I'd like to make a bet please.

Chicago Markets Mixed Ahead Of USDA Report

08/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed with decent gains heading into tomorrow's USDA report. Maybe the trade was enthused by news that China had imported 6.5 MMT of soybeans in April, up 41% versus March and 63.5% higher than in April 2013. That takes China's Jan/Apr soybean imports to 26.85 MMT, a 41.2% rise on the same period in 2013. There are perhaps two ways of looking at this news. One, you could step back and go: Wow! Chinese demand really is insatiable. On the other hand, you could say: Yes, but Brazilian shipments were severely delayed this time last year. You could also ponder that these are beans that China doesn't really need (or even want), and that could have a negative impact on demand in May, June and July. China are said to be going to auction off 300,000 MT of beans from state-owned reserves next Tuesday. They are thought likely to be offering a total of 3 MMT spread over the next couple of months. Wilmar Group, which has major interests in China, revealed a large slump in profits which included a more than $57 million loss in it's grains and oilseeds processing division, citing "very poor" Chinese crush margins. Positive old crop weekly export sales were supportive to the front end at 40,800 MT (the trade was expecting zero). New crop sales of only 14,200 MT weren't quite so friendly. Actual exports themselves continue to slow up, at 132,400 MT these were down 51 percent from the previous week. Still, the US has now shipped 42.12 MMT of soybeans this season, with a further 2.51 MMT of outstanding sales left waiting to go. The USDA's current forecast for the season is for exports of 43 MMT. The FAO's AMIS pegged the world soybean crop in 2013/14 at 281 MMT versus 267 MMT last season and estimated global carryout at 30 MMT against 28 MMT a year previously. The USDA issue their revised 2013/14 and their first 2014/15 crop numbers tomorrow. Conab estimated the Brazilian 2013/14 soybean crop at 86.57 MMT versus a previous estimate of 86.08 MMT. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.74 1/4, up 23 1/4 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.69 1/2, up 23 1/4 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $490.60, up $9.30; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 40.94, up 27 points.

Corn: The corn market ended around 2-3 cents higher on the day. Weekly export sales of 161,300 MT for 2013/14 were down 83 percent from the previous week, and well short of trade expectations of 500-800 TMT. New crop sales came in at 121,000 MT against forecasts of 100-300 TMT. It's noteworthy that the old crop sales included net cancellations from China (210,000 MT) and unknown destinations (116,800 MT). The dispute over MIR 162 corn between the US and China appears no closer to being resolved now than it was at the turn of the year. Weekly exports came in at 1.4 MMT. The 2013/14 marketing year to date shipments are now 29.26 MMT, with a further 14.9 MMT worth of outstanding sales. That takes current total commitments to 44.16 MMT versus a USDA forecast for the season of 45 MMT. Conab put the Brazilian 2013/14 corn crop at 75.19 MMT versus a previous estimate of 75.46 MMT. The USDA are currently only at 72 MMT. MDA CropCast forecast the EU corn cop in 2014 at 58.4 MMT, down from 59 MMT last year and 1.2 MMT down versus a week ago. They pegged the Ukraine corn crop at 24.9 MMT, down 2.2 MMT on a week ago and versus 30.1 MMT in 2013. There's still plenty of conflicting opinions regarding the likely size of this year's Ukraine corn crop. IGC estimate it at 26.8 MMT, Informa recently said 26 MMT, the USDA's FAS forecast 25 MMT and UkrAgroConsult this week went for a figure of 24 MMT. The Ukraine Ministry are still forecasting higher plantings than last year's record. Inputs are of course likely to be reduced, making last year's bumper yields look unlikely to be attained again. Nevertheless, all of those numbers would represent a second highest crop ever for Ukraine this year. Parts of Ukraine, and Russia too, could do with a shot of rain. The FAO's AMIS estimated the world 2014/15 corn crop at 967 MMT, down from 1008 MMT last year, which they say is "mostly on lower output in the US driven by reduced plantings". Ending stocks are seen declining to 162 MMT from 170 MMT this season. May 14 Corn closed at $5.13 1/4, up 3 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $5.16 1/2, up 2 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed, but mostly a little lower. Weekly export sales of 320,500 MT of old crop and 125,000 MT of new crop were in line with trade expectations, if nothing spectacular. Brazil took 76,500 MT of the old crop. MDA CropCast cut their US winter wheat production forecast by 1.9 MMT from a week ago to 38.9 MMT, down from 43.1 MMT last year. They raised their EU wheat production estimate by 900 TMT from last week, and upped Argentina by 800 TMT. They also posted a 1.1 MMT increase for Ukraine barley production versus a week ago. There's a school of thought that Ukraine farmers may scale back on corn sowings in favour of lower maintenance spring barley. They also upped their EU barley production estimate by 200 TMT versus last week. The FAO's AMIS estimated the world 2014/15 wheat crop at 702 MMT, down from last year's record 715 MMT. Ending stocks however will increase to 180 MMT from 178 MMT, they said. "In the US, winter wheat conditions are mixed, and planted area is slightly down relative to last season. Drought in the Southern Great Plains continues to be a significant concern. Other winter wheat growing areas have closer to normal conditions, and spring wheat planting has started," they added. Parts of Texas and Oklahoma picked up decent rains overnight, but it could be a case of "too little, too late" for winter wheat there. "Since February 1, Oklahoma wheat farms have received only 2.26 inches of rainfall against 6.4 inches, normally, for 35% of average. Kansas wheat has received 2.3 inches versus 5.2 inches normally and 44% of normal in the same period back to February 1," said Martell Crop Projections. Conab estimated the Brazilian 2014/15 wheat crop at 6.88 MMT versus a previous estimate of 6.7 MMT and up by 25% on last year as growers are wooed back to the crop by current price differentials between it and corn. Brazilian yields should also return to more normal levels this year it is hoped. Recent heavy rains in Western Australia are said to have produced near ideal planting conditions for winter wheat. The threat of an El Nino weather pattern still lies ahead though. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.26 3/4, down 3 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.32 1/2, down 4 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.95, unchanged.

EU Wheat Consolidates Ahead Of USDA Report

08/05/14 -- EU wheat markets closed mostly lower, on what looks like profit-taking and book-squaring ahead of tomorrow's USDA report and an easing of tensions in Ukraine. Old crop months displayed the most weakness on wheat. Rapeseed firmed in line with gains in soybeans and corn was mixed.

May 14 London wheat closed down GBP2.30/tonne at GBP163.70/tonne, and new crop Nov 14 London wheat was GBP0.80/tonne weaker at GBP156.95/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR3.00/tonne lower at EUR208.00/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was unchanged at EUR184.50/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed ended the day EUR4.00/tonne higher at EUR357.00/tonne.

The USDA will release their first estimates of the season for world crop production for the 2014/15 marketing year tomorrow. They will also issue revised 2013/14 ending stocks forecasts, as well as looking into carryout next season for the first time. The trade will be keen to see what they make of US winter wheat production prospects, given the recent widely reported sharp decline in crop conditions. They will also give us early indications on US 2014 corn and soybean output.

We'll also get their initial ideas on wheat, barley, corn and oilseed rape crop potential here in Europe for 2014. On top of all that, production prospects for the Black Sea nations will also make for interesting reading.

With all that to come, then it's maybe not surprising that some of the spec money may have been taken off the table, particularly given Russian President Putin's suddenly "softer" stance on the Ukraine situation.

The Bank of England kept UK base rates on hold at 0.5%, with QE also unchanged. That saw the pound little changed either way, which continues to hover around a 5 1/2 year high against the US dollar, and close to its best levels against the euro in well over a year. The prospect of higher interest rates here, earlier than any upward revision in the US or Europe, is what is keeping sterling strong. The ECB also left Eurozone rates unchanged at 0.25%.

Defra reported the total volume of wheat milled in the UK in March at 561.4 TMT, down 5% on a year ago. That brings the 2013/14 marketing year to date total to almost 4.8 MMT, a 4% decline versus last season. At least the proportion of home grown wheat used in the March grind was significantly better, at 83% against 66% in March 2013 - although on a cumulative season-on-season basis there's little change.

The FAO's Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) estimated the global wheat crop would fall from a record 715 MMT to 702 MMT in 2014/15, although ending stocks will rise by 2 MMT compared with this season to 180 MMT.

"Overall growing conditions are mostly favourable in the northern hemisphere, and in many western regions development is ahead of average due to warm temperatures. However, concern continues in the US southern plains due to persistent dry conditions. In both US and Canada there are delays due to the cold winter and spring," they observed.

"In the EU, prospects are generally favourable, and close to 2013. Warmer-than-usual weather continued, leading to advanced vegetative development. The dryer spring compensated for the very wet winter and was favourable for fieldwork and sowing of spring wheat, with the exception of Ireland and Scotland," they said.

"In Russia, conditions are mostly good and winter wheat development is between 1 to 2 weeks ahead of average. In central growing areas, warm and dry conditions developed in mid April and precipitation is needed in coming weeks," they noted. Crop conditions in Ukraine are very similar, good and advanced, but with rain needed soon, they said. Conditions for corn sowing and early crop development in Europe are normal, they added.

MDA CropCast raised their forecast for EU wheat production in 2014 by 900,000 MT from last week, due to generally improving conditions, although some dryness in southern France and Spain was noted.

Ukraine are still out there pitching, despite their internal problems. Ukraine origin wheat was the cheapest offer in a Lebanese tender for 30,000 MT of milling wheat for arrival by Jun 2.

Late in the day we had news that Brussels only cleared 130 TMT of soft wheat export licences this past week, the lowest weekly total for some considerable time. Even so, the frenetic early pace of exports still puts the seasonal total at a record 25.2 MMT

EU corn import licences for the past week easily beat those granted for wheat exports, totalling 301 TMT, and bringing the marketing year to date total to 12.3 MMT.

Chicago Close - Trade Prepares For Friday's Reports

07/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed weaker on talk that the US will import around 500 TMT per month of Brazilian soybeans in each of May, Jun and Jul. There were 176 overnight deliveries against the May 14 contract, the first deliveries of the month, suggesting that supplies are easing following the recent first arrivals from Brazil. It may also suggest that end user demand isn't there at these levels. Funds were estimated to have trimmed their net soybean length by around 5,000 contracts on the day, heading into Friday's USDA report. Whilst that is expected to show tight US 2013/14 carryout of around 135 million bushels, ending stocks for 2014/15 are expected to more than double that to around 300 million. Global production is expected to snowball in 2014/15, with record crops from the US, Brazil and probably Argentina as well. That might take ending stocks next season to a record 80 MMT, which is almost 10 MMT above the previous all-time high. Reports that China will soon start auctioning off 3 MMT of domestic soybean reserves also leans bearish. So too do reports that Dr Cordonnier thinks that the overall US spring planting area could be being understated at the moment. He also says that it's too early to right off yield potential, which he still sees at 44-45 bu/acre for beans. The Brazilian Ag Minister said that the country could harvest 89-90 MMT of soybeans this year due to sharply higher second/winter crop production. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for beans are zero on old crop and maybe 100-200 TMT on new crop. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.51, down 13 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.46 1/4, down 13 1/4 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $481.30, down $5.30; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 40.67, down 24 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 2-3 cents weaker, having traded both sides. This might have been down to light consolidation heading into Friday's USDA report. The trade is thinking that the USDA will report old crop corn carryout of around 1.3 million bushels, and 2014 production close to 14 billion. US 2014/15 corn ending stocks could rise to around 1.7 billion bushels, although some trade estimates are well over 2 billion. Dr Cordonnier held firm on his estimate that US corn yields still have the potential to hit 163-165 bu/acre this year. His comments concerning an overall larger planted area also apply to corn. There's talk that an improved week weather-wise this week could see the USDA report that more than 50% of the US corn crop has been planted on Monday. The US Energy Dept reported weekly ethanol production averaging 894k barrels/day, down slightly from 898k bpd the previous week. That's around 50k bpd below the rate needed to hit the USDA target for corn demand from the ethanol sector this season. Conab are out tomorrow with their May crop production estimates for Brazil. Last month they had the 2013/14 corn crop at 75.46 MMT. The Ukraine authorities continue to say the the current unrest has not caused any problems at the ports, despite the fact that fighting has now spread to Odessa city. The Ukraine Ministry said that corn planting had already been completed on 3.9 million hectares of the planned 5.1 million. Plantings last year were just over 4.8 million ha. A Reuters survey suggested that Ukraine corn plantings will only reach 4.7 million ha, with production at 25 MMT. Russia said that it's 2014 corn crop was 58.5% planted at 1.5 million ha. Dow Jones reported that Indian corn is $10-15/tonne cheaper than South American origin grain into SE Asia, and that they might export 600 TMT into the region in the next 2-3 months. Tomorrow's weekly export sales report is expected to come in at around 500-800 TMT of old crop and 100-300 TMT of new crop. May 14 Corn closed at $5.10 1/4, down 2 3/4 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $5.14, down 3 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed across the three exchanges - 6 cents lower to 3 cents higher. There were 144 overnight deliveries against the May CBOT contract. Since the contract went into the delivery the net total so far is 831 lots. The US winter wheat crop looks sick, but this is old news. Wheat clops elsewhere around the world are looking pretty good, not least here in Europe. India's 2014 wheat crop is expected to be a record 104 MMT, Informa Economics said earlier in the week. Spring grain planting is going well in Russia, with 10.2 million hectares sown so far, that's 1.1 million more than this time a year ago and 31.8% of the intended area. Spring wheat has been sown on 1.6 million ha, up versus 1 million a year ago, and 11.8% of plan. Spring barley has been sown on 4.8 million ha, versus 4.1 million this time last year and 55.2% of plan. UkrAgroConsult estimated the Russian wheat crop at 54.5 MMT versus 52.1 MMT last year. They see 2014/15 exports rising from 17.9 MMT to 19.7 MMT. Ukraine's wheat crop will however fall from 21 MMT to 19.6 MMT, with 2014/15 exports down from 9 MMT to 8.6 MMT, they said. Wheat production in Kazakhstan is expected at 16.3 MMT this year versus 13.9 MMT in 2013, according to Informa. Increases in output from the latter and Russia are therefore expected to more than compensate from production declines in Ukraine. Trade estimates for Friday's upcoming USDA report are that the 2014 US winter wheat crop will come in at 1.47 billion bushels, down from 1.53 billion a year ago. All wheat output will drop from 2.13 billion in 2013 to around 2.05 billion this year, according to the average trade estimate. The range of estimates is a fairly wide 1.9-2.2 billion. For 2013/14 all wheat ending stocks the average trade estimate is 588 million bushels versus the 583 million forecast last month. World 2013/14 carryout is also seen little changed at 186.8 MMT versus 186.7 MMT last time. Tomorrow's weekly export sales are expected to be around 300-500 TMT for both crop years. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.29 3/4, down 2 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.36 1/2, down 6 1/2 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.95 1/2, up 3 1/2 cents.

EU Grains Fall As Market Looks Tired

07/05/14 -- EU grains finished the day lower, with May 14 London wheat closing down GBP1.40/tonne at GBP166.00/tonne, and with new crop Nov 14 London wheat GBP1.05/tonne weaker at GBP157.75/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR4.50/tonne lower at EUR211.0/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was down EUR1.25/tonne at EUR184.50/tonne, whilst Aug 14 Paris rapeseed fell EUR2.75/tonne to EUR353.00/tonne.

The market looks tired up here, although fund money continues to appear to display a renewed appetite for owning grains in favour of equities. The Ukraine crisis is far from over, although the authorities there are at pains to say that the fighting in Odessa has not thus far disrupted activities at the city's port facilities.

The planting of early spring grains in Ukraine is already complete, and corn has been sown on 3.44 million hectares, which is 67% of the anticipated area. That's only a bit less than this time a year ago, when the country went on to produce a record crop.

Spring plantings are also well advanced in Russia, where 10.2 million hectares (or 31.8% of plan) of the spring grain crops are in the ground, 1.1 million ha more than this time last year. That includes 1.6 million ha of wheat, 4.8 million ha of barley and 1.5 million ha of corn. Russian growers have also planted 2.4 million ha of sunflowers, over 460k ha of soybeans and over 300k ha of spring oilseed rape.

UkrAgroConsult said that they expect Ukraine to produce 19.6 MMT of wheat, 24 MMT of corn and 7.2 MMT of barley this year. That represents falls of 6.7%, 11% and 2.7% respectively versus last year. They see Ukraine's wheat exports at 8.6 MMT in 2014/15, with those of corn at 16.7 MMT and those of barley at 2.3 MMT. That's a decline of 4.4%, 12% and 4.2% respectively.

The same analyst now forecasts the Russian wheat crop up 4.6% to 54.5 MMT, with their barley crop rising 10.4% to 17 MMT. Corn production will decline 5.2% to 11 MMT, however. UkrAgroConsult estimate Russia's 2014/15 wheat exports rising 10% to 19.7 MMT, with those for barley up 37.5% to 3.3 MMT, whilst corn exports fall 5% to 3.8 MMT.

If we add both sets of production figures together then we have a combined 2014 Russo/Ukraine wheat crop of 74.1 MMT, up 1 MMT on a year ago. Barley output is seen at 24.2 MMT, up 1.4 MMT versus 2013, and corn production is at 35 MMT, a 3.6 MMT decline. Not a huge amount of overall difference, and certainly not one that justifies recent price gains. Spec money won't let that worry them just now though.

The Spanish Ministry said that their 2014 wheat crop (excluding durum) will fall from 6.7 MMT last year to 6 MMT this time round. Durum production remains flat at 907 TMT, and barley output will decline from 10.1 MMT to 8.5 MMT. Dryness and disease are issues in Spain at the moment.

The USDA's FAS in Egypt estimated that the country will import 10.3 MMT of wheat in 2014/15, a 0.3 MMT rise on this season. The public sector will import just over half that volume (5.7 MMT), they say. Carryover stocks from 2013/14 into the new season will total 4.17 MMT, they add.

A report on Dow Jones says that Indian corn is around $10-15/tonne cheaper into SE Asian homes than Brazilian or Argentine origin corn, and that they therefore expect to export around 600 TMT over the next few months to buyers in the region.

Iraq are tendering to 50,000 MT of US, Canadian, Australian, Ukraine or Russian wheat.

Chicago Soybeans End Lower, Corn And Wheat Rise On Weather Concerns

06/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower. Last night's planting progress report showed soybean sowings at only 5% complete, half of what the trade expected, although ahead of only 2% this time a year ago. There's plenty of time to get the crop in yet, and plantings may be even larger than anticipated if some corn acres get switched to beans. Informa estimated the 2014 US soybean crop at a record 98.4 MMT, up 10% on 89.5 MMT last year. They also see production for 2014/15 rising to record levels in both Brazil (88.5 MMT) and Argentina (55 MMT). Global soybean production in 2014/15 was pegged at a new record 297.3 MMT, up from the 296.8 MMT forecast previously and up almost 5% on 283.6 MMT this season. For the current marketing year, Dr Cordonnier estimated the 2013/14 Brazilian soybean crop at 86.5 MMT, unchanged from his previous estimate. He increased his Argentine production estimate from 53.5 MMT to 54 MMT. Informa estimated the world rapeseed crop at 68.1 MMT versus a previous figure of 69.2 MMT and 71.7 MMT in 2013/14. They cut Canada to 15.5 MMT from 16.9 MMT last month and 18 MMT last year. They have Europe's 2014/15 rapeseed crop at 21.1 MMT, unchanged from both last month and last year. Strategie Grains predict the EU-28 rapeseed crop rising to 21.6 MMT this year. Oil World have the EU-28 rapeseed crop at 21.5 MMT, and Canada's at 16.3 MMT. China are said to be preparing to begin auctioning off 3 MMT of soybeans from state reserves later this month. Trade could be choppy ahead of Friday's USDA report, with fund money heavily long in beans there could be some further liquidation ahead. They were estimated as being net sellers of around 2-3,000 soybean contracts on the day today. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.64, down 8 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.59 1/2, down 3 3/4 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $486.60, down $2.50; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at $0.91, down 7 points.

Corn: The market managed to post decent gains, with fund money ending up a net buyer of an estimated 9-11,000 lots on the day. This is despite them already holding a significant long position in corn heading into another important USDA report at the end of the week. Last night's statement from the USDA that only 19% of the 2014 US corn crop was in the ground as of Sunday night was supportive. The trade had been expecting/hoping for a figure of around 35-40%. However some estimate that a decent week weather-wise this week could see that figure closer to 50% by the close of the weekend. Recall that US farmers planted 43% of the 2013 corn crop in a single mid-May week last year. "Strong warming is predicted this week in the Midwest corn states, but periods of heavy rain may interfere with planting," said Martell Crop Projections. "Early sowing is not always a guarantee for a successful yield. In 2012, the fastest spring planting campaign on record, corn finished with a poor harvest due to summer drought and heat stress. The 2012 national mean corn yield at 123.4 bushels per acre was the worst in 24 years. Conversely, last year’s very slow corn planting, similar to this spring, ended remarkably well with a near-average yield of 158.8 bushels per acre," they noted. Informa estimated the 2014/15 world corn crop at 963.9 MMT, up from the 957.5 MMT forecast in April, although down on the record 971.4 MMT produced last year. Russia said that it had planted 57% of it's planned corn area, and Ukraine said that it was 67% done. The USDA's FAS in Ukraine estimated their 2014 corn crop at 25 MMT versus the record 30.9 MMT produced last year. Informa peg Ukraine's corn crop a little higher at 26 MMT this year. Ukraine said that it had exported 2.19 MMT of grains in April (including 1.4 MMT of corn), and that their 2013/14 season to date exports are now 29.9 MMT (including 18.8 MMT of corn). The USDA reported 220 TMT worth of 2013/14 corn cancellations. May 14 Corn closed at $5.13, up 9 3/4 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $5.17 1/2, up 9 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The market closed higher again, with fund money coming in for an estimated net 3-4,000 Chicago wheat contracts on the day. That meant that Chicago wheat closed at it's best levels in 13 months tonight, with hot temperatures and little rain in the forecast for winter wheat on the southern Plains. "The 5-day outlook does not include much rain for Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. A historic drought has unfolded winter into spring in the top bread wheat states. Kansas wheat conditions declined last week to 17% good-excellent, 36% fair and 47% poor-very poor, a season low. These were the worst conditions since 1996 for early May," said Martell Crop Projections. Informa estimated the 2014/15 US all wheat crop at 56.4 MMT, down sharply from 59.7 MMT a month ago, although not that much different versus 58 MMT in 2013/14. Nevertheless, they see the 2014/15 global wheat crop still usurping last year's record 712.3 MMT, coming in at 713.1 MMT, which is up on the 710.8 MMT estimated last month despite these US losses. Production in Russia was raised from the 49.5 MMT estimated last month to 51 MMT. Argentina's crop was increased from 12.5 MMT to 13 MMT and Brazil's from 4.8 MMT to 6.7 MMT. They held steady on India at 104 MMT, which would easily be a record output, and is up 10.5 MMT from a year ago. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology released an El Nino weather alert. Typically an El Nino weather pattern would cut wheat production in Australia, bringing dryness. It would also bring wetness to South America, which could harm the Brazilian crop in terms of quality, and possibly yields). It would also normally bring generally favourable weather to the US Midwest, boosting corn, soybean and spring wheat production. Libya bought 30,000 MT of Black Sea origin wheat for Apr/Jun shipment. Jordan bought 50,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat for August shipment in a tender for 150,000 MT. The USDA's FAS in Ukraine estimated the 2014 wheat crop there at 20 MMT versus 22.3 MMT last year. They see exports at 9.5 MMT versus 10 MMT in 2013/14. Ukraine said that it had exported 661.6 TMT of wheat in April, and 8.5 MMT of wheat in 2013/14 so far. Informa estimated Ukraine's wheat crop at 20.5 MMT. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.31 3/4, up 10 1/2 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.43, up 4 1/4 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.92, up 16 3/4 cents.

EU Grains Mixed On Conflicting Global Signals

06/05/14 -- EU grains were mixed, although London wheat was higher, struggling to play catch-up after being closed yesterday.

May 14 London wheat ended up GBP0.40/tonne at GBP167.40/tonne, and with new crop Nov 14 London wheat closing GBP0.60/tonne higher at GBP15880/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR1.25/tonne easier at EUR215.50/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn fell EUR0.25/tonne to EUR185.75/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed dipped EUR1.25/tonne lower to EUR355.75/tonne.

The talk out of Ukraine continues to suggest problems ahead, yet the Ministry there said today that spring grain planting is 73% complete at 6.1 million hectares, including 3.4 million ha of corn (67% of plan).

Russia meanwhile has sown 1.3 million ha of spring wheat (10% of plan), along with 4.6 million ha of spring barley (52%) and 1.5 million ha (57%) of it's corn.

The USDA's FAS in Ukraine said that the country would produce 20 MMT of wheat this year, down from 22.3 MMT a year ago. They will also turn out 25 MMT of corn (the second highest on record, although down on 30.9 MMT last year), 7.5 MMT of barley (roughly unchanged from 2013), 2 MMT of OSR (versus 2.4 MMT in 2013) and 3.2 MMT of soybeans (compared to 2.8 MMT last year), the FAS forecast.

Ukraine's 2014/15 wheat exports will amount to 9.5 MMT (down from 10 MMT in 2013/14), with those for corn at 17.5 MMT (20.5 MMT), barley unchanged at 2.5 MMT, OSR down to 1.8 MMT (2.2 MMT) and soybeans shipments rising to 2 MMT (1.7 MMT), they added.

Informa Economics pegged the Ukraine 2014 wheat crop slightly higher at 20.5 MMT. They also estimated the 2014/15 world wheat crop at a new record high of 713.1 MMT.

In addition, Informa put the coming global OSR crop at 68.1 MMT, down on 71.7 MMT a year ago. The 2014 total included 21.1 MMT from Europe. They also had the world's corn crop at 963.9 MMT, against 971.4 MMT in 2013/14.

Oil World peg the world's OSR crop at 68 MMT this year, including 21.5 MMT from Europe.

Earlier in the day, Strategie Grains estimated the EU-28 OSR crop at 21.6 MMT, off plantings of 6.8 million ha (versus 6.7 million a year ago), and with yields at 3.19 MT/ah versus 3.13 MT/ha in 2013.

Jordan are tendering for 150 TMT of milling wheat.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued an El Nino weather alert, saying that one could develop as early as July. Normally that would bring relatively cool and wet conditions for the US Midwest, and beneficial summer crop production for most of South America, although winter wheat output could be negatively impacted in Brazil (El Nino typically would bring a wet southern hemisphere winter, which could be detrimental to wheat yields and quality at harvest time).

An improving crop outlook in Europe should continue to point to as more significant downside, rather than rising prices. However, the ever changing daily developments in Ukraine's political situation are keeping the market on a knife edge.

Chicago: Is The Corn Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?

05/05/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, with the current planting delay problems in the Midwest perceived as being more of an issue for corn. Indeed, it could actually mean that we could ultimately see more beans get sown in lieu of corn. Stats Canada reporting March 1st Canadian canola stocks at a record high in excess of 9 MMT, around double those of a year ago, added to the negative tone. So too did continued reports of Brazilian beans being offered into the US market. Safras e Mercado said that Brazil has harvested 97% of their soybean crop, which is in line with the five year average. Informa FNP estimated Brazil’s 2013/14 bean crop at a record 87.4 MMT versus a previous estimate of 86.75 MMT. CONAB come out on Thursday with their latest Brazilian crop production estimates. They had the crop at 86.08 MMT last month. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that farmers there have sold 24% of their 2013/14 bean crop versus 29% a year ago. The USDA attaché in Ukraine estimated the 2014/15 soybean crop there at 3.2 MMT versus 2.8 MMT a year ago. The USDA reported the 2014 US soybean crop at 5% planted, up only modestly from 3% a week ago and versus the 5-year average of 11%. Trade estimates had been that plantings would be around 10% done. By the first weekend in May a year ago only 2% of the crop had been sown, so it's too early to start waving the white flag just yet. Weekly export inspections for beans came in at 99,502 MT versus 254,299 MT last week. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.71 3/4, down 9 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.63 1/4, down 7 1/2 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $489.10, down $2.10; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 41.00, down 29 points.

Corn: The corn market closed with decent gains, helped by another round of robust weekly export inspections. These came in at 1,239,418 MT. Year to date inspections are now 29.2 MMT versus only 12.4 MMT a year ago at this time. Safras e Mercado said that Brazil has harvested 83.4% of their 2013/14 corn crop versus 78.1% a year ago. The USDA reported the 2014 US corn crop at 29% planted versus 19% last week and 42% for the 5-year average. Ohio is only 9% done versus 32% normally, with Minnesota at 8% versus 46% on average. Iowa at 23% sown compared to 50% normally is another notable laggard. Note though that, although the trade was expecting plantings to be 35-40% done, this time a year ago only 12% of the crop was in the ground. Is the corn glass half full, or half empty? The USDA put corn emergence at 7% versus the 5-year average of 13%. "The jet stream this spring has frequently carved out a cold trough in the central United States resulting in persistent cold. Only 3 weeks this spring have been warmer-than-normal in the Midwest. However, this week, most corn farms are expecting above- normal temperatures when a warm ridge of high pressure builds up in the heartland," said Martell Crop Projections. "A few showers are still predicted, but more sunshine and dryness compared to last week. It is not a perfect forecast in the Upper Midwest, as soil temperatures would hover near 52 F this week, barely above the 50 F corn germination threshold. Strong warming is projected in central Illinois, where maximum temperatures in the upper 70s – low 80s F are predicted, with night lows near 60 F," they added. May 14 Corn closed at $5.02 3/4, up 8 3/4 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $5.07 1/4, up 7 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed firmer on all three exchanges, as the US winter wheat crop continues to face adverse weather conditions. A freeze on the High Plains last week threatened wheat in western Kansas, eastern Colorado and western Nebraska, said Martell Crop Projections. In complete contrast, weekend temperatures on the southern Plains topped 90F, and could reach 100 F today/tomorrow. Very little moisture relief is in the forecast. The USDA today cut their estimate for the proportion of the US winter wheat crop rated good/excellent by 2 points from last week to 31%, although that is only 1 point worse than a year ago. Poor/very poor came in at 38% versus 34% a week ago and 39% this time last year. They said that 29% of the crop was headed versus 18% last week and 35% a year ago. Spring wheat plantings were estimated at 26% versus 41% this time last year. They said that 7% of the 2014 spring wheat crop had emerged versus 17% a year ago. Stats Canada estimate March 1st all wheat stocks there at 21.25 MMT, slightly below the average trade guess of 21.5 MMT, but far higher than 14.471 MMT a year previously. Barley stocks were 4.35 MMT versus the average estimate of 4.7 MMT and 3.044 MMT in 2013. Canadian oat stocks were 2.29 MMT versus the average estimate of 2.1 MMT and 1.429 MMT in 2013. Weekly US export inspections came in at 537,584 MT versus 658,130 MT the previous week. Another increase in deadly violence in Ukraine over the weekend added support. Fund money was estimated as finishing up a net buyer in Chicago wheat of around 5,000 contracts on the day. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.26 3/4, up 19 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $8.47, up 15 1/4 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.70, up 7 cents.

EU Grains Mixed, US And Ukraine Supports But Large Crop Looms

05/05/14 -- The French grain markets closed with wheat and corn higher and rapeseed slightly lower. London wheat was closed for the May Day bank holiday.

Chicago wheat traded with decent overnight gains, partly on concerns of further damage to US winter wheat on the Plains over the weekend, and also on the news that the Ukraine crisis has now spread to the major southern seaport of Odessa.

May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR1.50/tonne higher at EUR216.75/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn rose EUR2.25/tonne to EUR186.00/tonne and Aug 14 Paris rapeseed ended the day EUR2.25/tonne lower at EUR357.00/tonne.

The European market, at least for now, appears to be viewing the problems in the US as being more specific to their own domestic market. Additionally, the Ukraine-encouraged speculative element also appears to be more of an influence across the Atlantic than it is here, again at least for now.

Versus the May 1 closes, in mid-afternoon European trade Chicago wheat stood 3.2% higher, with Minneapolis wheat up 3.6% and Kansas wheat 3.8% firmer - all basis the Jul 14 future. May 14 Paris wheat has gained only 0.7% during this time.

Why should that be? Well, the European wheat crop is looking in far better shape than it's US counterpart (and it seems that its going to be early too). Note though that this isn't anything particularly out of the ordinary. The average US wheat yield in 2013 was only 3.17 MT/ha - about the same as that of India. The average yield in Europe was 75% higher than that. The average 2013 UK yield was more than 132% above those reached in the US, and in the case of Germany it was more than 150% higher.

If Europe would have had the average American wheat yield in 2013, then the crop here would only have been 81.5 MMT, as opposed to the near 143 MMT actually achieved. Conversely, had the US got the same yields as here in Europe last year then their crop would have been over 100 MMT instead of just 58 MMT.

The point is, in the case of wheat at least, maybe what is happening in America doesn't - or at least shouldn't - hold as much sway globally as it does for soybeans or corn. The US produced around 8% of the world's wheat crop in 2013, as opposed to 32% of its soybeans and 36% of its corn.

In other news, the Ukraine Ministry said that the country had exported 29.55 MMT of grains so far this season, including 18.53 MMT of corn and 8.39 MMT of wheat.

APK Inform said that Ukraine's grain exports via seaports fell to 372.6 TMT last week, down from 455.5 TMT the week previously. Wheat accounted for 175 TMT of that, and corn a further 185 TMT. It's probably too early to read anything too significant into that just yet.

The Russian Ministry reported spring wheat plantings at 10% complete, with spring barley almost 53% done and nearly 58% of the anticipated 2014 corn area now sown in a timely manner.

Saudi Arabia bought 475 TMT of hard wheat and 115 TMT of soft wheat in a weekend tender. The delivery period is Jul/Aug, and the accepted countries of origin were EU, US, Australia and South America.

Egypt said that, following last week's purchase of Ukraine and Russian wheat, it has sufficient volumes of the grain bought/in stock to last it through to early July.

The grain market fundamentals however remain overshadowed by events in Ukraine, especially so following the weekend violence in the major grain export hub of Odessa.

With elections now less than 3 weeks away, Kiev are said to have drafted "special forces" into the port city - reported to have a broad ethnic mixed population of around a million people. According to Reuters, the interim government have today sacked the entire leadership of the local police force in Odessa, and said that they could now face criminal action. The move came after the releasing without charge of 67 largely pro-Russian militants arrested over the weekend, to appease protesters besieging the local police station on Sunday night.