EU Grains End Higher On The Day, But Mostly Lower For The Week

10/04/15 -- EU grains closed higher on the day, but generally lower for the week, with the exception of Paris rapeseed.

At the finish, May 15 London wheat was up GBP0.75/tonne at GBP120.50/tonne; May 15 Paris wheat was EUR1.00/tonne higher at EUR190.25/tonne; Jun 15 Paris corn was up EUR0.25/tonne at EUR164.25/tonne; May 15 Paris rapeseed was also EUR0.25/tonne higher at EUR369.75/tonne.

For the week nearby London wheat still fell GBP2.45/tonne, whilst Paris wheat was down EUR3.50/tonne, corn shed EUR0.25/tonne and rapeseed added EUR6.00/tonne. New crop Nov 15 London wheat fared a little better than old crop May 15, widening the premium available on the carry from GBP8.80/tonne a week ago to GBP9.75/tonne tonight.

That keeps the pressure off the many still holding significant volumes of old crop wheat unsold. How many can afford to continue to do so, and will have the physical space available to do so past harvest 2015 remains an unanswered question for now.

Customs data shows that the UK exported 267 TMT of wheat in February, a 3-year high, with the top home being Spain taking around half of that volume. The vast majority of the rest of it (more than 135 TMT) went to non-EU homes including such exotic destinations as the Philippines and Thailand.

Despite that being a good month, year-to-date exports are still only 1.34 MMT, around 38% of the UK's exportable surplus

For once, Europe didn't have a good week on the export front, with Brussels granting only 189 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week - a nine month low. Still, cumulative season to date exports are an impressive 25.68 MMT - up 7.6% versus 23.86 MMT this time a year ago.

The EU also awarded nearly 43 TMT worth of licences to import Ukraine wheat as part of a preferential duty free quota system. They've now awarded 315 TMT worth of these out of a total 2015 available volume of 950 TMT.

FranceAgriMer estimated both the French winter wheat winter barley crops at 91% good to excellent, both unchanged on a week ago, and both well ahead of only 76% this time last year.

They said that 90% of winter wheat is now displaying an ear of at least 1cm, up from 73% a week ago, but 6 points down on last year. The proportion of the French winter barley crop at that stage is 98% versus 81% a week ago and 99% this time last year.

French spring barley planting is complete, and the crop is 92% emerged versus 76% last week and 90% this time last year. Corn planting is just getting going at 2% complete nationally versus 10% this time last year.

Morocco said that it was to increase the import duty on wheat from 17.5% to a whopping 75% "to protect the local market". The new duty will come into force on May 1. They are clearly expecting a bumper harvest this year, with cereal production estimated at "more than 10 MMT" versus only 6.7 MMT a year ago.

The pound was down around 2 cents against the US dollar for the week, but up around 2 euro cents versus the single currency.

Greece said it made the EUR460 million payment that was due to the IMF yesterday, but several much larger debt repayments are looming in the weeks ahead. The EU says it wants a firm agreement on Greek reforms to be in place by the time of the next Eurogroup meeting on Apr 24 before it hands over the next enormous tranche of bailout money (EUR7.2 billion).