EU Grains Begin Week Mostly Lower

09/02/15 -- EU grains began the week mostly lower, with the exception of Paris rapeseed which posted small gains.

At the close, Mar 15 London wheat was down GBP0.60/tonne at GBP123.15/tonne, Mar 15 Paris wheat was down EUR1.00/tonne at EUR187.25/tonne, Mar 15 Paris corn fell EUR0.25/tonne to EUR155.50/tonne and May 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR0.75/tonne firmer to EUR357.50/tonne.

The Russian Ag Ministry said that the nation's grain exports (Jul 1 to Feb 4) now stand at 23.5 MMT, including 18.5 MMT of wheat, 3.4 MMT of barley and 1.2 MMT of corn.

Despite the new export duty, wheat is still being shipped out, at least it was last week. It remains to be seen if this was merely due to boats already loaded in late January that were being held back by paperwork, or not.

APK Inform reported that Russian seaports shipped 270.3 TMT of grains last week, most of that (237.9 TMT) was wheat.

Despite the fact that the country's intervention purchase programme has met with a rather tepid response from Russian farmers, the Ag Ministry say that it would currently be "inappropriate" to consider raising the prices that they are willing to pay.

Meanwhile, IKAR said that the proportion of winter grains in Russia destined to be harvested later this year that are rated as poor/very poor is "much higher than average". They did also however note that the area sown was 12% higher than a year ago, which should at least partially offset any damage.

The question of affordability to replant failed crops in the spring remains an issue, even if the Russian government insist that subsidised loans will be available to farmers to fund the spring planting campaign. This is after all the same government that insist that they aren't backing the rebels in Ukraine.

Which leads nicely onto news from there that Ukraine seaports shipped out 837.9 TMT of grains last week, up from 529.9 TMT the week previously. Corn accounted for 86% of that total with 721.7 TMT.

APK Inform said that in a survey that they had conducted, 45% of Ukraine growers said that they will be forced to reduce fertiliser applications this year due to much increased costs. Of those that do intend to cut, 58% said that they plan to reduce by 10-20%, with 31% expecting to cut by 21-35% and the remaining 11% likely to apply over 35% less fertiliser this year.

Ukraine fertiliser prices have risen by 35-100% in the last six months, they said. Supply/availability is also currently and issue, they added.

French customs data shows that they exported 1.422 MMT of soft wheat in December, a 20% fall year-on-year. Egypt was the top home.

French millers are imported 50% more milling wheat in the first six months of 2014/15 than they did in the same period a year ago, due to the lower quality of this season's crop.