EU Grains Mixed, Currency Worries Support

02/12/15 -- EU grains closed mixed, with fresh news once again thin on the ground. A Bloomberg survey into trader/analyst sentiment on US wheat prices found 4 Bullish; 4 Bearish; 10 Neutral.

There may have been a few more bulls if they had been canvassing opinion on Paris wheat price prospects, due to the overwhelming number of traders forecasting further euro weakness/dollar strength in 2016.

The session ended with with Jan 16 London wheat down GBP0.40/tonne at GBP112.75/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat up EUR0.25/tonne to EUR176.75/tonne, Jan 16 corn EUR0.50/tonne lower at EUR164.75/tonne and Feb 16 rapeseed EUR1.50/tonne firmer to EUR384.75/tonne.

Russia said that their 2015 harvest was 99.1% complete at 108.6 MMT in bunker weight. Wheat accounts for 64 MMT of that total off 99.8% of the planned area, and barley adds another 18.3 MMT off 99.9% of the area sown. The ongoing Russian corn harvest is said to be 90.7% complete at 12.8 MMT.

A year ago at this time they'd harvested 11.3 MMT of grains, including 62.3 MMT of wheat, 21.2 MMT of barley and 11.2 MMT of corn.

Russian winter plantings for the 2016 harvest are complete on 16.3 million ha, or 95.4% of the originally intended area.

Ukraine's 2015 grain harvest meanwhile is 99% done at 60 MMT, and winter grain plantings (which exclude OSR) are 90% complete on 6.7 million ha.

The Ukraine Ag Ministry said that the country exported 3.3 MMT of grains in November, down 15% from 3.9 MMT in October. Wheat exports are slowing, and those of corn are picking up.

Wheat accounted for 38.5% of exports (1.27 MMT) last month, corn 53.3% (1.76 MMT) and barley 6.8% (224 TMT).

Kazakhstan joined Ukraine in saying that they would be only too happy to fill any void left by Russia in supplying any of Turkey's agricultural needs, should Russian sanctions bite further.

Jordan cancelled their tender for 100,000 MT of optional origin feed barley once again due to lack of interest due to the stringent contract criteria.

Reuters reported that Indonesian interest in French wheat is picking up. France were recently reported to have been preparing to load one 50,000 MT cargo - the first such consignment for 6 years - and are expected to add similar follow-up shipments soon, according to the report.

That said that up to 400-500,000 MT of French wheat could find it's way to Asia's largest wheat buyer (and in fact the second largest in the world beaten only by Egypt), as Ukraine wheat offers dry up and Australian prices rise due to Aussie dollar strength. Interest in French wheat is also being aided by the falling value of the euro.

The pound was also on the defensive too today, crashing well below 1.50 versus the US dollar for a more than 7-month closing low on ideas that the fragile UK economic recovery is losing momentum.