EU Grains Start The Week With Solid Gains

10/08/15 -- EU grains closed higher to start the week, helped by sharply higher US markets in afternoon trade.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP1.90/tonne to GBP121.85/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat was EUR3.25/tonne higher at EUR183.00/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was up EUR4.75/tonne to EUR188.25/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR2.75/tonne firmer at EUR386.75/tonne.

The market is expecting the USDA to show reduced US corn and soybean yield potential this year, along with a downwards revision to their original planting estimates due to early season wetness in Wednesday's upcoming WASDE report. That equates to lower production numbers, and tighter US ending stocks than the numbers given last month.

Personally, I don't expect the data to be as supportive for prices as the market seems to currently think. Only time will tell...

Late in the day the French Ag Ministry estimated this year's troubled corn crop there at only 13.5 MMT, a drop of 28% on a year ago, in their first forecast of the season for the crop. That's a result of plantings down 10.2% and yields falling 19.6% due to heat and dryness.

In stark contrast they predicted a 4.7% rise in soft wheat production to a record 39.3 MMT, which was also up from the 37.9 MMT previously estimated. Barley output will rise 3.6% to 12.2 MMT, which was 500,000 MT more than previously though, they also said.

The French OSR crop will decline 8.9% to 5.0 MMT, and sunflower output was sen 17% lower at 1.3 MMT, they added.

In the leading French port of Rouen, silo operator Socomac are reported to have announced that they are suspending the intake of wheat due to lack of space and slack exports. There are only two approved delivery points against the French wheat futures contract in the port, and this is one of them. The other is run by Senalia, and they made a similar announcement earlier last week.

That's a problem if you were intending to make delivery against a Sep 15 futures sale, following what is now expected to have been a record French soft wheat harvest this year.

The southern half of the country got rain over the weekend, which may alleviate the deteriorating French corn crop conditions a little.

Spanish analysts AgroInfoMarket said that the country produced 5.25 MMT of soft wheat this year, up from a previous estimate of 5.07 MMT, but down 6% on 5.59 MMT a year ago.

They were unchanged from previously on their forecast for Spanish soft wheat imports at 3.88 MMT, a near 8% reduction compared to 2014/15 despite the lower output.

Spanish barley production was forecast at 6.77 MMT, little changed from either a month or a year ago. Imports were raised from 650 TMT to 680 TMT, up almost 50% on last season.

They cut their view on this year's Spanish corn crop from 4.22 MMT to 4.11 MMT, now down 8% on last year, with imports seen unchanged at 6.25 MMT, a near 7% increase versus 2014/15.

The latest EU weather forecast forecast predicts temperatures that are mostly warmer than normal through to Thursday, then cooler in the west, but warmer to much warmer than normal in the east through to Aug 25.

Precipitation totals are seen wetter than normal for most areas (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy) through the next 15 days, but a bit drier than average from Poland eastwards.

In other news, Saudi Arabia announced that they bought 505,000 MT of 12.5% hard wheat over the weekend, in a tender for 495,000 MT.

The accepted origins of purchase are said to be US, EU, Canadian, South American and/or Australian wheat and the prices reportedly paid were between $220.50 and $227.84 on a cost and freight basis. Delivery is set to be between September and November.

APK Inform said that grain exports from both Russian and Ukraine seaports fell last week.

For the first week of the month Russia's seaports exported 315.9 TMT of grains, down from 328.5 TMT the previous week. That included 236.6 TMT of wheat, 42.1 TMT of barley and 7.2 TMT of corn.

Ukraine's exports via seaports meanwhile dropped from 707.6 TMT in the last week of July to 522.7 TMT in the first week of August. That consisted of 380.7 TMT of wheat and 142 TMT of barley. Corn exports last week were interestingly zero.

Separately, the Russian Ag Ministry said that the country's grain exports so far this season (Jul 1 - Aug 5) were down 40% on a year ago at 2.29 MMT. That included 1.44 MMT of wheat, 687 TMT of barley and 153 TMT of corn.

The Russian harvest is picking up pace, at 36% done on 17 million ha producing a crop of 51.6 MMT to date. Yields are slipping away, now averaging 3.04 MT/ha, which is down almost 6% versus 3.23 MT/ha a year ago.