Bullish Or Bearish? Conspiracy Theory #2

15/05/15 -- As was fairly widely expected, Russia have today announced that they are abolishing the punitive not less than EUR35/tonne export duty on wheat.

Well that's the floodgates open again then I hear you cry.

The carefully worded statement that accompanied the announcement said that the move would provide Russian agricultural producers with additional funds to carry out the spring sowing campaign.

Is that a little admission that spring plantings are in trouble?

Elsewhere I read of "talk" that the Russians might set their new crop intervention price at levels that are higher than current world market prices.

Why would they do that, unless everything wasn't as rosy as they are making out?

Yesterday the Ag Ministry said that winterkill wasn't as bad as they had earlier thought, reducing their estimate from 1.8 million ha to 1.3 million ha.

They stood by their original forecast for a total grain crop of 100 MMT. A nice round number that is don't you think? I'm surprised that they didn't raise their estimate, what will half a million hectares of less winterkill than expected.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, the latest official statements place 88% of winter grains in good to satisfactory condition. Yet Mike Lee's recent Crop Tour of Ukraine "called a slightly different assessment with 62% good and satisfactory, 34% poor and 5% very poor" his public blog states.

You won't be surprised to hear that his assessment of things in Russia weren't as bullish as those of their Ministry of Lying either.

Mike's second crop tour of Ukraine and Russia, when he looks at spring plantings as well as developing winter crop conditions, will surely be a must read.

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