EU Grains End Mostly Lower

08/04/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower with May 15 London wheat down GBP1.30/tonne at GBP120.55/tonne, May 15 Paris wheat fell EUR1.50/tonne to EUR190.00/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn slipped EUR1.00/tonne at EUR164.25/tonne and May 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR1.50/tonne at EUR365.25/tonne.

FranceAgriMer raised their forecasts for French soft wheat, barley and corn exports from last month. Despite those increases though ending stocks for 2014/15 are still seen up massively from where they were 12 months ago.

That's pretty ominous for supplies in 2015/16, given the vibe coming out of France for this year's wheat production prospects, with plantings at a more than 20 year high and over 90% of the crop rated good to very good.

The bare numbers are that French soft wheat exports will total 18.26 MMT this season, up from 18.03 MMT previously, although still down on last year's 19.17 MMT. Ending stocks are forecast at 3.58 MMT, which is 52.7% up compared with inventories at the end of 2013/14.

Corn exports are now seen at 7.09 MMT (6.89 MMT previously), up 35% on a year ago. Even so, there will still be 3.77 MMT of last year's bumper crop around at the end of the season, a 64.5% increase versus a year previously.

French barley exports will total 6.12 MMT this season (from the 6.01 MMT previous forecast), with ending stocks at 1.39 MMT, up 33.5% compared to the end of last season.

The Spanish Ag Ministry estimated soft wheat plantings there for the 2015 harvest at 1.85 million ha versus 1.87 million a year ago. Barley plantings are also little changed at 2.78 million ha versus 2.79 million a year ago.

APK Inform released their first estimates for crop production in Ukraine this year, seeing the 2015/16 grain crop down 10% at 57.4 MMT. Plantings will be unchanged overall, but yields are expected to fall 9% due to reduced fertiliser applications as a cost saving measure, they said.

They see wheat production down 2.1% at 23.6 MMT (not too much of a drop due to increased plantings), but barley output will fall 17.8% to 7.44 MMT and corn production will drop 14.7% to 24.3 MMT and growers reduce the area for both by 6% and 8% respectively.

They also predict a 6.8% decline in Ukraine oilseed production this year, with the OSR crop down almost a third to 1.49 MMT. Sunflower output will drop by a more modest 5.5% to 9.57 MMT, and soybean production will increase 4.1% to 4.04 MMT, they said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's 2014/15 grain exports now stand at 27.3 MMT, including 9.7 MMT of wheat (36%), 13.1 MMT of corn (48%) and 4.3 MMT of barley (16%).

Russia's Ag Minister said that the country won't make a decision on whether to revoke, or indeed extend, the current wheat export duty until the end of May or early June, depending on how things go between now and then.

Rusagrotrans said that the country had exported 1.78 MMT of grains in March, up from 1.24 MMT in February. Wheat accounted for 30% of that volume (534 TMT), barley 41% (734 TMT) and corn 25% (440 TMT), they said. They estimated April exports at 1.2 MMT, comprising around 400 TMT of wheat, 500 TMT of barley and 300 TMT of corn.

The top home for grain exports last month was Saudi Arabia (499 TMT), followed by Turkey (449 TMT) and then Iran in third (205 TMT).