EU Grains Trade Mostly Lower On Demand Worries

28/10/15 -- EU grains were mixed, but generally a bit lower on demand worries. Media headlines that eating processed meat is now officially as bad for you as smoking cigarettes don't help.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was down GBP0.60/tonne at GBP114.30/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was down EUR1.50/tonne at EUR178.00/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was EUR0.25/tonne firmer at EUR165.00/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was unchanged at EUR370.50/tonne.

Russia say that their 2015 harvest may now come in pretty close to last year's record. They've currently harvested 105.3 MMT in bunker weight (versus 107.3 MMT this time a year ago), off 98% of the planned area.

Wheat accounts for 63.8 MMT of that, and barley a further 18.2 MMT, with both of those harvests said to now be 99.7% complete. The Russian corn harvest is reported at 72.6% done at 10.1 MMT, which still leaves them firmly on target for a record crop this year.

APK Inform estimated Russia's 2015/16 corn exports at a record 4.5 MMT, up more than 40% on 3.2 MMT last season.

Rusagrotrans forecast total Russian grain exports this month at 3.5 MMT, up marginally on 3.42 MMT a year ago. They see November exports at 3.2 MMT versus 2.98 MMT in 2014.

Wheat exports will account for around 77% of the total in both months, they predict.

The Russian Ag Ministry say that winter plantings for the 2016 harvest are 91.5% complete on 15.6 million ha, down 700,000 ha on a year ago.

The forecast remains generally drier than normal, casting a doubt over 2016 production potential. The head of Swiss-based Solaris Commodities said that they expect wheat production in Russia next year to not be as generous as in 2014 and 2015, and maybe come in at around 55 MMT. They will probably at least partially compensate for that by producing more corn next year though, he added.

Ukraine's winter plantings are similarly effected by the same conditions as southern Russia. The head of the Ukraine Weather Centre is predicting a cold snap Oct 29-Nov 1, with night-time temperatures falling to between -1 and -7 C.

He said that he can't ever recall winter wheat being sown this late in Ukraine, and that an estimated 30% of what has been planted has yet to germinate. Sowing of winter rapeseed has now finished, with only around two thirds of the intended area getting planted, he added.

UkrAgroConsult said yesterday that it was now safe to write off at least 20% of the winter rapeseed crop, and more pessimistically maybe 35%. That points to very low production next year.

Exports out of Ukraine still continue unabashed though. From Jul 1 to Oct 27 Ukraine exported 12.56 MMT of grains, including 7.11 MMT of wheat, 3.19 MMT of barley and 2.22 MMT of corn.

Kazakhstan meanwhile say that they've now harvested 99.9% of their 2015 grain crop, producing 19.9 MMT so far, an increase of nearly 23% on a year ago.

Algeria said that they'd imported 9.9 MMT of grains in the first 9 months of 2015, up 8% year-on-year. Soft wheat imports of 4.95 MMT represent a 21% increase compared with the same period in 2014.