EU Grains End Lower On The Day, And For The Week

24/07/15 -- EU grains closed lower across the board, both on the day and for the week.

At the close of play on Friday, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.70/tonne to GBP123.30/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat fell a EUR0.75/tonne to EUR185.75/tonne, Aug 15 Paris corn was down EUR0.75/tonne to EUR178.50/tonne, whilst Aug 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR3.00/tonne lower at EUR384.25/tonne.

For the week that puts London wheat down GBP2.15/tonne, with Paris wheat EUR7.00/tonne easier. Paris corn lost EUR2.75/tonne during the course of the week, whilst nearby rapeseed was down EUR4.50/tonne from last Friday.

Corn came off the least worst on ideas that this is now the crop being most adversely affected by heat and dryness, in France in particular. France is of course Europe's largest corn producer.

FranceAgriMer today cut their good to very good ratings for the French corn crop by 5 points from a week ago to 62% - making for a 19 point decline in the last 3 weeks. It's also now far less than the 84% of the crop that was rated in the top two categories this time last year.

French wheat conditions were nominally left unchanged at 76% good to very good (versus 72% a year ago). Spring barley conditions were down one point in the good/very good category to 64%.

In the case of wheat I say "nominally" because 60% of the crop had already been harvested as of Monday night, up from 38% a week ago and almost double the 33% done from this time last year as the warm and dry conditions allow the combines to make rapid progress.

The French winter barley harvest was 98% done as of Monday, 6 points ahead of this time last year, and the spring barley harvest was 47% complete, up 30 points in a week and compared to only 13% this time last year.

They said that 81% of the French corn crop was at the silking stage versus 54% a week ago and 52% this time last year.

Agritel reported that reports about French wheat yields are "comforting, erasing fears linked to hot weather conditions since the end of June."

In Russia, "yields in the south of the country are generally OK, numbers for the Central district areas and the Volga are showing a big drop compared to last year. Producers in these areas are expecting yields down about 20%," they said.

The local weather centre in Siberia estimated average wheat yields in the region of around 1.2-1.4 MT/ha, which they said was somewhat lower than previously expected, although a bit better than the 5-year average for the region of only 1.24 MT/ha. Dryness and heat (with temperature of up to 37C) in June and July was the reason given for the drop compared with previously.

The Russian Ag Ministry said that the national harvest was now 15.9% complete at 27.5 MMT, with yields so far averaging 3.71 MT/ha versus 3.47 MT/ha a year ago.

Yields in the most productive Southern region (52.4% harvested) are at 4.06 MT/ha versus 3.76 MT/ha a year ago, and the North Caucasus area (68.8% harvested) is seeing average yields of 3.8 MT/ha compared to 3.69 MT/ha in 2014.

It's a different story further north though, as Agritel note. Average yields in the Central region (4.9% harvested) are only running at 3.29 MT/ha versus 3.9 MT/ha in 2014. In the Volga region, where it has been very dry, the harvest is only just getting going at 3.7% complete. Yields here are currently averaging 1.46 MT/ha compared to 2.03 MT/ha a year ago.

Things are better in Ukraine, where the national Hydrometeorlogical Centre raised their forecast for corn yields there this year from 6.0 MT/ha to 6.2 MT/ha, increasing their production forecast from 25.3 MMT to 26.5 MMT. They now expect a total Ukraine grain crop of 60.5 MMT this year.

Algeria said that they'd bought 300,000 MT of durum wheat at tender for October shipment, with 200,000 MT coming from Mexico and the rest from France.

The Hungarian Grain Association estimated their wheat crop this year at 4.5-4.7 MMT versus 5.0 MMT a year ago.

Brussels said that it had issued 325 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this week, down from 470 TMT a week ago. Still, the total volume granted so far of 1.26 MMT is said to be the largest since 2004. It is also more than double the total released in both 2014 and 2013 at this stage.

The same is also true of barley export licences, currently at a cumulative 1.18 MMT versus 569 TMT a year ago and 447 TMT in 2013.

It's early days yet, but all that augurs well for final exports this season. Continued euro weakness will add some help.