EU Grains Mostly Higher, Early French Harvest Throwing Up Some Varied Results

02/07/15 -- EU grains closed mostly higher, with Jul London wheat up GBP4.05/tonne to GBP120.75/tonne and Nov 15 also GBP4.05/tonne firmer at GBP135.00/tonne. Sep 15 Paris wheat was EUR4.00/tonne higher at EUR205.00/tonne, Aug 15 Paris corn was also up EUR4.00/tonne at EUR193.75/tonne, whilst Aug 15 Paris rapeseed bucked the trend ending EUR1.50/tonne easier at EUR397.00/tonne.

Agritel report that the early French winter barley harvest is progressing quickly in the warm and dry weather that much of continent was seen this week. Yields are "good" and there's been some nice quality barley coming in, they say. Spring barley however is now starting to suffer under these conditions, they note.

As for rapeseed, early harvest results for that are throwing up disappointing yields which are said to be "much lower than last year".

Tomorrow's FranceAgriMer weekly crop condition ratings will make interesting reading.

Reuters and Bloomberg both report that fires, sparked by combine harvesters, have broken out in various parts of France baking under temperatures as high as 40C this week.

Officials in the Eure-et-Loir region have apparently ordered farmers to plough up 10-metre-wide borders around fields to prevent fires spreading, Reuters say.

The EU Commission have put some flesh on the bones of their forecasts from earlier in the week for an EU soft wheat crop of 139.9 MMT this year, along with barley production at 58.1 MMT and a corn crop of 68.4 MMT. That's a 5.9% drop in wheat output, a 3.5% decline for barley and a 7% fall in the case of corn incidentally.

Wheat production in the UK was pegged at 15.3 MMT in those figures, and barley output here at 6.6 MMT. That would be a decline of 7.8% versus last year for wheat, whilst barley output would be down 4.3%.

They also estimated the French soft wheat crop at 39.0 MMT, with Germany's at 25.6 MMT and Poland's at 10.6 MMT. For barley they have France at 11.9 MMT, Germany at 10.8 MMT and Poland at 3.9 MMT.

In addition, they estimated the EU-28 rapeseed crop at 21.72 MMT, down 10.8% on a year ago, although unfortunately I haven't got a country by country breakdown of that number.

They also gave production estimates for Russia and Ukraine this year, estimating the grain crop at 95-99 MMT in the former and at 57-60 MMT in the latter. Russian wheat output will amount to 55-59 MMT this year, and Ukraine's will come in around 22 MMT, they predict.

MDA CropCast lowered their world wheat production forecast by 2.75 MMT, taking that down to 707.8 MMT versus 717.5 MMT a year ago. Output was pared back in the US, Canada, Australia and the EU, all areas where widely reported potential problems are brewing. Yields here in Europe were trimmed back from an estimated average of 5.62 MT/ha a week ago to 5.59 MT/ha.

They also cut their outlook on the EU corn and barley crops this year as a result of the recent dryness and heat.

They were unchanged on Russia's wheat crop at 55 MMT and have Ukraine's estimated at 23 MMT.

Egypt bought one 60,0000 MT cargo of wheat of Romanian origin for Aug 1-10 shipment. French wheat was priced out, even before more expensive freight was factored in, and so too, a little more surprisingly, was Russian origin material.

There was plenty of Russian wheat on the table, accounting for 9 of the 14 cargoes offered. "However, Russian wheat, offered at its cheapest at $204.74 a tonne excluding freight, was not competitive with the winning Romanian cargo, priced by Nidera at $202.95 a tonne excluding freight," said Agrimoney.

"Indeed, the results might indicate some impact from the fresh Russian export duty introduced this month, which exacts a 50% levy above a threshold price of 11,000 roubles a tonne, equivalent on Thursday to $198.50 a tonne," they added.