EU Grains Mostly Lower On The Day And For The Week, Rapeseed Bucks The Trend Though

29/05/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower on the day and for the week. The exception was rapeseed which again managed to buck the trend posting decent gains.

The day ended with Jul 15 London wheat down GBP0.40/tonne at GBP110.10/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat fell EUR3.00/tonne to EUR176.00/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was also EUR3.00/tonne easier at EUR151.50/tonne whilst Aug 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR3.25/tonne to close at EUR365.75/tonne.

For the week, nearby London wheat was down GBP2.15/tonne, Paris wheat was EUR6.50/tonne lower, corn fell EUR2.75/tonne, but rapeseed added EUR6.75/tonne.

The story of the week is clearly rapeseed, for which the IGC yesterday painted a picture of significantly lower production and tightening supplies in 2015/16.

"World output is forecast to contract on smaller sowings and reduced yields," they said. They placed the global rapeseed crop at 67.8 MMT this year, down 3.6 MMT from last year and 600,000 MT below their previous forecast. It is also now 300,000 MT beneath that of the USDA earlier this month.

The crop in Europe was forecast 2.2 MMT lower than last year at 21.9 MMT, and Canada's will shrink 700,000 MT to 14.9 MMT, they added.

World rapeseed usage in 2015/16 was placed 1.4 MMT higher than production at 69.2 MMT. That means that 2015/16 world rapeseed/canola ending stocks are anticipated to fall by 26% year-on-year, they suggest.

It is worth noting also that the USDA have the EU-28 crop even lower than the IGC at 21.6 MMT this year, a near 11% decline on last year, and also 3.25 MMT less than anticipated EU consumption.

Old crop rapeseed stocks seem tighter than the market anticipated, meaning that the world crush in the final quarter of the current marketing year will decline 8.5% year-on-year to 15.21 MMT, say Oil World. They also predict a reduced crush in Q1 of 2015/16, down 3.5% versus the same period a year previously at 16.82 MMT.

The global grain market in the season ahead looks like nothing as tight, with the IGC yesterday adding 10 MMT to their estimated world wheat production estimate. With consumption only rising 4 MMT, that adds an additional 6 MMT to the bottom line carryout at the end of 2015/16.

The EU all wheat crop this year was forecast at 150.0 MMT, which is 6.1 MMT below last year's record, although 1.8 MMT more than predicted a month ago. Production in Russia (up 3 MMT from last month) and Ukraine (up 1 MMT) was also tweaked higher.

In other news, as the end of the season nears, Brussels said that they'd released 228,465 MT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week, a 65% decline on the previous week. That's the smallest volume in six weeks and the fifth lowest weekly total of the season. The season to date total is now 29.3 MMT, still up 11% on 26.4 MMT this time a year ago.

The fact that French wheat was comfortably priced out, and that there were plenty of Russian offers, in yesterday's GASC tender was another blow to Paris wheat this week.

The French harvest is drawing nearer, and FranceAgriMer today said that 80% of winter wheat there is now headed, up from 59% a week ago and versus 88% this time last year. Good to very good crop ratings were left unchanged at 91%, up from 75% a year ago. French winter and spring barley, and also corn ratings were trimmed back a little from last week, but are still promising at 89%, 93% and 88% good to very good respectively.

The French corn crop is now all in, and 95% emerged, versus 89% a week ago and 92% a year ago.

The jury is still out on Russian grain production potential this year. Spring plantings are now around 83% done, according to the Ag Ministry, on 25.7 million ha versus 27.5 million a year ago. Spring wheat is said to be 80% sown, with 85% of the spring barley crop in along with over 92% of the intended corn area.

Daytime highs in some parts of southern Russia are currently in the mid-90's, with things set to stay abnormally warm for the next 7 days, before cooling down after that. There are some fair rains in the forecast for the second half of next week and beyond though.

Things do appear more promising in Ukraine. Spring planting there is more or less done and the Deputy Ag Minister there today forecast a 2015 grain crop of almost 59 MMT versus domestic consumption of 27 MMT.

Elsewhere, the India Grain Association estimated the 2015 wheat crop there at only 80 MMT, a 16 MMT decline on last year and over 10 MMT less than the current official Ministry figure.

Corn The Best Performer In Chicago Last Night

28/05/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, with the larger losses coming in the new crop positions. "If today’s trade is any indication of what to expect moving forward it’s going to be an uphill battle to build on any flat price rallies. Another fresh contract low was put in on the day," said Benson Quinn. The IGC released their first world soybean production estimates for 2015/16, putting the global crop at 316 MMT, a 4 MMT decline on this season's record. They have production in the US at 104.8 MMT this year (3.85 billion bushels), with Brazil chipping in with a new record crop of 97.5 MMT and Argentina producing 57 MMT. Chinese imports in 2015/16 were pegged at a new record 78 MMT. Much larger carry-in from 2014/15 than the previous year means that "with the anticipated increase in total supplies set to exceed that of uptake, world carryovers are seen rising by 9% year-on-year, to a peak of 52 MMT, including an increase of more than one-fifth in the major exporters," they said. In contrast "reflecting expectations for a smaller out-turn and tighter supplies, 2015/16 world rapeseed/canola carryovers are anticipated to fall by 26% year-on-year," they added. MDA CropCast estimated the US soybean crop at 3.823 billion bushels, down 3.6% from last year's record. They see 2015/16 production in Brazil even higher than the IGC at a new record 98.3 MMT, and agree at 57 MMT on Argentina. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that farmer selling on their 2014/15 soybean crop is at 37% versus 33% a year ago. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that rain had stalled the Argentine harvest, which advanced by less than 3 percentage points on the week to 90.3% complete, although that's still 16.5 points ahead of a year ago at this time. Yields continue to exceed expectations, meaning that final production could top their current harvest estimate of a record 60 MMT, they said. A Bloomberg survey of traders and analysts found only 2 that were bullish on soybean price prospects (the same as a week ago), 20 were bearish and 3 neutral. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for beans are around 350-650 TMT combined over both crop years. Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.26, down 1 cent; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $9.02, down 4 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Soybean Meal closed at $304.80, down $3.30; Jul 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.06, up 33 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 3-4 cents higher, consolidating some of the recent losses. Weekly ethanol production was pegged at 969,000 barrels/day, up from 958,000 bpd last week. This would appear to confirm that corn prices have got themselves low enough so that some idled plants have been brought back into production. There may well have been an element of book-squaring and profit-taking on shorts as we approach month-end too today. The IGC added 10 MMT to their global 2015/16 corn production estimate, which was hardly bullish. At 961 MMT, it is still 3.6% below last year's record though. Some 3 MMT of that increase came from Brazil, who's next crop was now put at 78 MMT, only a fraction below 78.6 MMT this season. China's crop was increased by 1 MMT to 220 MMT and that in the US also by 1 MMT to 332 MMT. Ukraine's 2015 corn crop was seen unchanged at 24.9 MMT, and production in the EU was pared back to 67.2 MMT. They raised global corn consumption by 5 MMT and added 6 MMT to world carryout, taking that up to 187 MMT. MDA CropCast estimated the world corn crop in 2015/16 slightly lower than the IGC at 959.9 MMT, unchanged on a week ago. They have production in the US this year at 13.802 billion bushels versus the record 14.367 billion produced last year. Ukraine's crop was forecast at 26.2 MMT and the EU's at only 62 MMT. Russia said that their 2015 corn crop was now 91% planted on 2.6 million ha. Ukraine's is now said to be just about all in on 4.2 million ha. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that farmer selling on their 2014/15 corn crop is at 47% versus 37% a year ago. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that the 2014/15 corn harvest there only advanced 1.9 percentage points for the week to 37.4% complete due to rain. That's 1.6 percentage points ahead of this time a year ago. They left their production estimate unchanged at 25 MMT. A Bloomberg survey of traders and analysts found 4 that were bullish on corn's price prospects (down from 9 a week ago), 10 were bearish and 11 neutral. Tonight's closing new crop soybean:corn price ratio is just under 2.44:1, down from 2.47:1 last night, but up from 2.40:1 only last Friday. Trade estimates for tomorrow's one day delayed weekly export sales from the USDA are around 650 TMT to 1.1 MMT for both crop years combined. Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.53 1/2, up 4 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.70, up 3 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed narrowly mixed across the three exchanges. Similar to corn, the IGC added 10 MMT to their 2015/16 global production estimate, pegging the world wheat crop in the year ahead at 715 MMT. Consumption was raised by 4 MMT, taking ending stocks 6 MMT higher to 200 MMT. Production increases in 2015/16 came from the EU, up 1.8 MMT to 150 MMT, China (up 9 MMT to 127 MMT), Russia (up 3 MMT to 55 MMT) and Ukraine (up 1 MMT to 21 MMT). There were output reductions for India (down 3 MMT to 91 MMT), the US (down 0.8 MMT to 58.2 MMT) and Kazakhstan (down 0.6 MMT to 13.5 MMT). MDA CropCast estimated the global wheat crop at 711.6 MMT, down 0.66 MMT on last week. They see the 2015/16 US all wheat crop at 2.216 billion bushels, with Ukraine at 21.9 MMT and Russia at 52.8 MMT. Opinions over the production prospects of the latter in particular still vary quite widely. The Russian Grain Union are at 55 MMT, SovEcon are at 54 MMT and the USDA on 53.5 MMT. The Russian Ag Ministry don't breakdown their forecasts by grain, simply forecasting a total grain crop of 100 MMT, although the new Ag Minister is saying that output could match last year's 105.3 MMT. That would imply a Russian wheat crop of around 58-59 MMT this year. Only the government seem to think that this is the case though. They say that spring wheat plantings are past 70% done on 9.3 million ha. Ukraine say that 7.6% of their winter grains are in excellent condition and a further near 75% in good condition. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that farmer selling on their 2014/15 wheat crop is at 76% versus 53% a year ago. Argentine farmers have just about got going planting their 2015/16 wheat crop. That progress is being delayed by rain, and is only 4.3% done, up 1.5 percentage points on the week and versus 6.4% complete a year ago. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange see plantings at 4.1 million ha. Local analysts Agritrend say that plantings could fall to only 3.7-3.9 million ha due to low prices, the lack of cash and the ever-present possibility of export quota restrictions. Egypt's GASC bought 3 cargoes of Russian and one Romanian wheat for early July at prices below $200/tonne including freight. US wheat was priced well out. Tomorrow's weekly export sales total is estimate at around 200-500 TMT.  Bloomberg's survey found 8 traders bullish on wheat, 9 bearish and 8 neutral. Jul 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.88 3/4, up 1 cent; Jul 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.10 1/4, down 1 3/4 cents; Jul 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.47, up 1 1/4 cents.

EU Grains End Mostly Higher

28/05/15 -- EU grains closed mostly higher. The day ended with Jul 15 London wheat up GBP0.60/tonne at GBP110.50/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat was EUR0.25/tonne higher at EUR179.00/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was up EUR0.75/tonne at EUR154.50/tonne and Aug 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR0.50/tonne to EUR362.50/tonne.

London wheat got support from a weaker sterling, which fell below key support at 1.5330 against the US dollar, and also dipped back below 1.40 versus the euro for the first time in a week.

Barclays retain their very bearish outlook on the GBP/USD exchange rate, forecasting cable at 1.42 by the end of the year. Lloyds are much more optimistic, suggesting 1.54 in Q4 of 2015.

Both are singing from the same song sheet as far as the GBP/EUR is concerned though, estimating a rate of 1.45 in Q4 of 2015. Not to be outdone, Danske Bank also agree entirely with that assessment.

The latter forecast UK base rates, stuck on hold at 0.5% for six years now, to rise in November of this year. They don't see rates rising very dramatically though, suggesting that 1.5% is where we might be at the end of 2016. Lloyds have a similar view, forecasting a quarter point rise in Q4 of this year, followed by a further half point rise in the course of 2016, taking rates at the end of next year to 1.25%.

With "the experts" seemingly pretty much in unison on GBP/EUR prospects, then that would support continental grain prices relative to those in the UK in the coming months. If Barclays are right about the GBP/USD then at least we could say that this would support UK prices relative to those in the US, and it would also potentially make dollar denominated protein imports more expensive.

In other news, private analysts in Russia don't agree with the official Ministry bullish rhetoric concerning crop production prospects there this year. SovEcon are forecasting a Russian grain crop of 95 MMT in 2015, down around 10 MMT on a year ago, and 5 MMT below the current Ministry estimate. Note to that the Ag Minister himself is now suggesting that output at similar levels to a year ago could ultimately be achieved in 2015. It's difficult to see how given all the various problems, notwithstanding the weather, that growers there have faced, and continue to face.

"In the key wheat growing southern district growing conditions have deteriorated with hot, dry weather in the past 2 weeks. Temperatures peaked May 26th at 32-35 C (90-95 F). Just scanty rainfall has occurred with hit-or-miss showers. If the dryness persists, wheat prospects would rapidly decline, as the store of ground moisture is running out," said Martell Crop Projections.

The Russian Grain Union predict a domestic wheat crop of 55 MMT this year versus 60 MMT in 2014. SovEcon are currently at 54 MMT and the USDA at 53.5 MMT. The RGU say that total grain exports in 2014/15 will total around 21 MMT, but could fall to 15-17 MMT in the season ahead due to the introduction of a new "floating" duty on wheat exports. SovEcon estimate next season's wheat exports at 18 MMT.

The Ukraine Ag Ministry said that spring planting there is almost over at 98% complete on 6.9 million ha, a total which includes 4.2 million ha of corn. They've also sown an additional 4.56 million ha of sunflower and 1.9 million ha of soybeans. The country has exported almost 32 MMT of grains so far this season, and that could rise to around 33 MMT by the end of the current campaign, they added.

The Ukraine Hydromet Centre say that 7.6% of winter grains are in excellent condition, with 74.5% rated good and 17.8% satisfactory. They estimate Ukraine winter grain production at 25-27 MMT this year, and see winter wheat yields averaging 3.6 MT/ha and those of winter barley at 2.8 MT/ha. MARS put Ukraine all wheat yields (although very little spring wheat is grown) at 3.45 MT/ha earlier in the week, and pegged all barley (winter and spring) yields at 2.63 MT/ha.

MDA CropCast today raised their view on Ukraine's wheat crop in 2015 by 0.33 MMT to 21.9 MMT, but still a 10% fall compared with a year ago. They cut their outlook on Europe by 0.2 MMT to 142.9 MMT, down 4.5% versus last year. They held steady on EU corn production prospects at 62 MMT, down 8.8%, and were also unchanged on barley output in the EU at 56.4 MMT, a 2.1% decline year-on-year. They see Russia's 2015 wheat crop incidentally a bit lower than the RGU or SovEcon at 52.8 MMT, a 9.1% fall compared to 2014.

The Russian Ministry said that spring grain plantings there are now 77.1% complete on 23.9 million ha versus 26.0 million ha a year ago. Wheat is 70.5% done on 9.3 million ha (10.4 million a year ago), barley is 82.8% done and 91% of the 2015 corn crop is in, they say.

Egypt's GASC bought 240 TMT of wheat for Jul 1-10 delivery in their tender today, comprising one cargo of Romanian at $199.20 C&F, along with 3 cargoes of Russian material, two at $199.22 C&F and the other at $199.50 C&F. Only one cargo of French was offered, and that was at $198.94/tonne FOB before more expensive freight was added on.

Reuters said that the recently reported 450 TMT of wheat purchased by Algeria on the international market for August delivery was in fact 540 TMT. The tonnage is believed to be mostly French origin.

The Morning Grain Market News

28/05/15 -- The overnight grains are mixed, with wheat up 2-3 cents, corn around a cent higher, beans a cent either side of unchanged and meal half a dollar to a dollar easier.

Egypt's GASC are back in the market, tendering for wheat for Jul 1-10 delivery, with the results expected this afternoon at around 15.30 GMT. It will be interesting to see where Russian offers are in relation to Europe and the rest of the Black Sea.

The head of the Russian Grain Union is quoted as saying that the next "floating" tax on wheat exports being talked about from Aug 1 could reduce foreign sales next season.

He sees Russia's wheat exports this season ending up around 21 MMT (they are already past 20 MMT), but says that figure could fall to only 15-17 MMT in 2015/16. He forecasts Russia's wheat crop at 55 MMT this year, down 8% on a year ago.

SovEcon seem to broadly concur, saying that Russia's 2015/16 wheat exports could be reduced to 18 MMT due to the duty. They see grain production at 95 MMT, of which wheat will account for 54 MMT, this year.

Unsurprisingly, the Russian Ag Ministry are more bullish than that, officially at 100 MMT for this year's grain crop, but the Ag Minister himself saying that output would beat that this year, and might match last year's 105.3 MMT total. Well, it will do won't it if that is what he has already decided.

The Russian Ministry say that spring plantings are now 77.1% complete on 23.9 million ha. Wheat is 70.5% done on 9.3 million ha, barley is 82.8% done and 91% of the 2015 corn crop is in, they say. Of course they could be (and probably are) lying about that as well.

Meanwhile the Ukraine Ministry of Half Truths say that spring planting there is just about finished on 6.9 million ha, including 4.2 million ha of corn. Ukraine growers have also planted 4.56 million ha of corn and 1.9 million ha of soybeans, they add.

There's some talk of an emerging drought issue in Canada, where it has been very dry for the past month, although above average rains are in the 15-day forecast.

Chicago Corn Ends Around 5 Cents Lower For Third Session In A Row

27/05/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed a little bit firmer, with the best gains at the front end. Meal posted decent gains, again with the nearby's benifitting the most, and oil was lower. South Korea was in the market for soymeal, with NOFI reported as buying 55 TMT of probably South American material for Aug/Sep shipment and KFA booking 50 TMT of optional origin meal. Ongoing labour disputes in Argentina, the world's largest meal exporter, are being linked to this nearby firmness. The Jul/Aug meal spread has widened from $1.50 on Apr 30 to $5.20 tonight. "The (soybean) market was overdue for a slight bounce after shedding 51 cents from the front month July contract over the last 10 sessions," said Benson Quinn. The market is pondering what the effects of an El Nino would be. The Brazilian National Institute of Meteorology are forecasting drought in the north east, but plentiful rains in the more productive centre/west and south of the country. Current overly wet conditions spreading up from the US Plains into the Midwest are also typical of an El Nino summer. Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.27, up 4 1/2 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $9.06 1/2, up 1 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Soybean Meal closed at $308.10, up $6.20; Jul 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.73, down 41 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 5 cents lower for a third session in a row. The USDA reported strong early plantings and good crop conditions last night. The weather forecast leans warm and wet, ideal for strong crop development. Previous years with a strong El Nino signal have seen US corn yields come in well ahead of the trendline. The market is currently thinking that this might happen again in 2015. The firm US dollar remains a problem. South Africa's CEC estimated corn production there up 0.8% from previously at 9.8 MMT, although that's still the lowest output since 2007. Russia said that their corn plantings were more than 90% complete on 2.5 million ha. The weekly ethanol production and stocks numbers from the US Energy Dept are delayed a day following Monday's Memorial Day holiday and will be released tomorrow. "The market will be expecting a value similar to last week’s 958,000 barrels per day, confirming idle plants have returned to production," say Benson Quinn. The regular Thursday weekly export sales report from the USDA is also now delayed until Friday. The new crop beans:corn price ratio has risen to 2.47:1 tonight, up from 2.40:1 only last Friday. Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.49 1/2, down 5 1/2 cents; Sep 15 Corn closed at $3.55 3/4, down 6 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower. The USDA maybe surprised a few people last night by leaving winter wheat crop conditions unchanged at 45% good to excellent. The new Russian Ag Minister said that whilst the official 2015 grain production estimate of 100 MMT remains in place, he expects that target to be beaten and output to maybe come in at around last season's 105.3 MMT. That would be quite am achievement if true, given all the problems that the country has had: poor autumn planting conditions, lack of access to credit, less than ideal spring weather, high input costs etc. One private analyst said that crop losses in Southern Russia could be 15-20% if soaking rains don't arrive soon. Topsoil there is "very dry" and only light rains are in the forecast for this week, they said. The opposite is true in Kazakhstan where spring plantings are well behind due to incessant rains - around 3-4 times the norm has fallen in the May 10-20 period, according to their National Weather Service. Brazil are forecasting above average rains for the south of the country, where the bulk of the nation's winter wheat crop is grown. That could be beneficial for yields, although too much of a good thing could cause some quality issues. Jul 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.87 3/4, down 5 3/4 cents; Jul 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.12, down 13 1/2 cents; Jul 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.45 3/4, down 7 1/2 cents.

EU Grains Trade Mostly Lower, But Is Worse Still To Come?

27/05/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower, as the 2015 harvest draws ever nearer.

At the finish Jul 15 London wheat was down GBP0.70/tonne at GBP109.90/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat was EUR2.25/tonne easier at EUR178.75/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was up EUR1.00/tonne at EUR153.75/tonne whilst Aug 15 Paris rapeseed was down EUR1.00/tonne to close at EUR362.00/tonne.

Crop production prospects in Europe are improving. France is experiencing "exceptionally good conditions" and in the UK and Germany the outlook is "favourable" MARS reported yesterday.

At home "end-of-April rains were particularly welcomed in the southern UK, where soil water levels were close to critical for winter crops and dry top soils were hampering the emergence and early development of spring crops," they said.

The only two major crop producing areas of Europe that are a concern are in Spain (Andalucia) and Italy (Puglia), mainly due to water scarcity, they added.

Yields of wheat, barley, corn and rapeseed are all seen significantly above the 5-year average, if a little below last year's "bumper" levels.

The rash of short-covering that we saw mid-month that was triggered by heavy rains on the US Plains appears now to have given way to fresh selling. Fund money was estimated to have been a net seller in Chicago wheat of more than 10,000 contracts last night.

History suggests that the lows of the year are still ahead of us. For Chicago wheat, in each of the last five years the earliest low of the year has only occurred in May once, all the other lows have been later. In the case of London wheat, the low of 2010 came in May, in 2011 it was June (followed by an even lower low in Nov/Dec), in 2012 it bucked the trend and fell in January, in 2013 it was August and in 2014 it was September.

Rusagrotrans said that Russia's wheat exports have more than doubled since they cut the export duty on the grain on May 15. The country has shipped out 434 TMT of wheat in the 10 days to May 26 versus only 208 TMT in the same period in April. Wheat's share of the grain export market at Russia's deep sea ports has thus risen from 34% to 56%, with that of barley down from 24% to 13% and corn falling from 42% to 31%, they said.

They now forecast Russia's 2014/15 total grain exports at close to 30 MMT, including 22 MMT of wheat.

The Russian analysts also forecast the country's 2014/15 grain ending stocks at 14.8 MMT, plus a further 2 MMT in intervention.

Russia said that they'd picked up around 34 TMT of grain at today's intervention purchase round, taking the total volume bought so far to almost 982 TMT.

The Russian Ag Ministry said that the country had now planted almost 75% of the intended spring grains area, with wheat sowings past three quarters done on 8.9 million ha, barley plantings are past 80% done on 6.7 million ha and those for corn are now north of 90% complete on 2.5 million ha.

The weather from hereon in is now the next thing to watch. Whilst the weather in Southern Russia is currently hot and dry, temperatures are forecast to peak at above 30°C on Friday, before falling back. Above average rains are also in the 15 day forecasts for most of the region too.

Plantings in Kazakhstan meanwhile are badly delayed by heavy rains. These have totalled 3-4 times the national average in the May 10-20 period, according to the Kazakh Weather Service.

Chicago Grains End Lower With Spring Plantings Ahead Of Schedule

26/05/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed with small losses. The USDA reported weekly export inspections of 291,192 MT, which was above trade expectations and a pretty impressive number for this time of year. Shipments now only have to average around 153,377 MT a week to meet the USDA year-end-estimate, said Benson Quinn. Despite that "at this point, bearish fundamentals and a strong dollar seem like enough to keep momentum pointed lower," they added. The USDA reported US soybean plantings at 61% complete, up from 45% a week ago and versus the 5-year average pace of 55% done. They said that 32% of the crop was emerged compared to 13% last week, 23% a year ago and 25% for the 5-year average. They are expected to release their first crop condition ratings for beans next week. Canada said that they'd exported 6.8 MMT of canola so far this season, a 3% rise on a year ago. Their soybean exports are at 2.3 MMT, a 7% increase compared with 12 months previously. In Europe, MARS estimate rapeseed yields this year at 3.42 MT/ha, up from 3.35 MT/ha previously. That's 4.8% down on a year ago but 9.4% above the 5-year average. Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.22 1/2, down 1 3/4 cents; Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $9.04 3/4, down 2 1/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybean Meal closed at $301.90, down $2.30; Jul 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.14, up 50 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 4-5 cents lower. There is a strong seasonal trend for corn to close lower the day after the Memorial Day holiday, some said. That certainly proved to be the case again today. Weekly export inspections topped 1 MMT, but season to date shipments are still 1.776 MMT behind year ago. The USDA reported US corn plantings at 92% done, in line with trade estimates. That was up from 85% complete a week ago and 4 points ahead of the 5-year average. In their first crop ratings of the season they pegged 74% of the crop in good to excellent condition. "This compares to a five year average of 75% and an all-time high of 81% in 1991," noted Benson Quinn. Whilst that's a very decent number, it maybe wasn't as high as some were expecting. Emergence was pegged at 74% versus 56% a year ago and 62% for the 5-year average. Russia said that it's corn crop was 88% planted on 2.5 million ha. An El Nino related drought may be causing some damage to corn in the Philippines, it is said. The EU Commission's MARS unit forecast corn yields here at 7.22 MT/ha, unchanged from a month ago. That's 8.9% down on a year ago but 3.3% above the 5-year average. They see corn yields in Ukraine at 5.60 MT/ha which is 7% down on last year and 1.3% below the 5-year average. "Heavy rainfall in southern and eastern Ukraine replenished the water-depleted soils in the south but slightly delayed the sowing of spring crops," they said. Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.55, down 5 cents; Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.73 1/4, down 4 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed sharply lower. Weekly export inspections of 418,376 MT were fairly decent. Weekend rains continued to cause flooding in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, yet the USDA left winter wheat conditions unchanged from last week at 45% good to excellent. They said that 77% of the crop was headed versus 68% a week ago and 67% for the 5-year average. Spring wheat planting was estimated at 96% done versus only 79% for the 5-year average. Emergence is at 80% compared to only 54% on average. Good to excellent crop conditions in spring wheat were raised from 65% a week ago to 69%. Canada said that they'd exported 13.3 MMT of wheat (excluding durum) so far this season, a 5% increase on a year ago. Durum exports are up 12% at 4.1 MMT, and barley shipments are 2% higher at 1.1 MMT. MARS raised their estimate for EU-28 soft wheat yields this year to 5.93 MT/ha, down 2.4% on a year ago but 4.8% above the 5-year average. Potential yields in the UK and France were increased, and Germany's left unchanged. Iraq tendered for at least 50 TMT of wheat. South Korea bought 69 TMT of feed wheat and Japan are in the market for their regular 100 TMT or thereabouts combo of US, Canadian and Australian wheat. Russia said that it's 2015 spring wheat crop was 62.6% sown on 8.2 million ha. The weather there has turned hot and dry. Not so in Kazakhstan, where torrential rains mean that they've only sown 3.24 million ha of spring grains so far, two and a half times less than 8.14 million ha this time last year. Jul 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.93 1/2, down 21 3/4 cents; Jul 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.24 1/2, down 22 cents; Jul 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.53 1/4, down 15 1/2 cents.

EU Grains Mostly Lower, Despite Euro Weakness, As Yield Estimates Nudged Higher

26/05/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower, although rapeseed managed to buck the trend posting decent gains.

The day ended with new front month Jul 15 London wheat down GBP1.65/tonne at GBP110.60/tonne, Sep 15 Paris wheat fell EUR1.50/tonne to EUR181.00/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was EUR0.25/tonne easier at EUR152.75/tonne whilst Aug 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR3.75/tonne to close at EUR363.00/tonne.

The euro was sharply weaker again, following weekend comments from one Greek minister that there wasn't enough money in the coffers to pay the IMF what they are due next month, the first payment of which falls on June 5. That may have supported Paris grains a little.

US wheat was sharply lower though, despite another weekend deluge of rain on the Southern Plains making international news headlines. There's certainly at the very least likely to be some quality downgrades to wheat that's ready for harvesting in Texas and Oklahoma, but there's talk in some quarters that the crop in Kansas (the leading US wheat producing state) may have been sufficiently further behind to have derived some benefit from recent rains.

Heavy rain is delaying planting in Kazakhstan, which is only 22% sown on 3.24 million ha. Last year they'd already sown an area of 8.14 million ha by this date.

Russian planting is also delayed, although not by as much as that. According to the Russian Ag Ministry spring grains there are 71.2% sown on 22.1 million ha, which is 2.3 million less than a year ago. Spring wheat is 62.6% sown on 8.2 million ha (versus 9.3 million a year ago), with barley planting 79.2% complete on 6.5 million ha (7.5 million a year ago) and corn planting 87.9% done on 2.5 million ha (2.4 million a year ago). The weather there has now turned hot and dry.

Russia was reported to have bought 38 TMT of wheat at intervention today, paying around RUB9,900/tonne for grade-3 wheat (12.5% milling wheat) - the equivalent of around $196/tonne.

Rusagrotrans estimated Russia's May grain exports at 1.0-1.1 MMT, rising to around 1.3 MMT in June. Wheat will account for around half (550 TMT) of this month's exports, they said.

Ukragroconsult estimated the Ukraine grain crop at 54.9 MMT, a 2.6 MMT rise on their previous forecast, but still 5.1 MMT less than the official Ag Ministry estimate.

Senalia - the largest silo operator in the French leading port of Rouen - are said to have re-opened their doors for the intake of wheat today, following a pick-up in export demand.

The EU Commission's MARS unit raised their forecast for EU-28 soft wheat yields from the 5.89 MT/ha forecast a month ago to 5.93 MT/ha.

"In general crop growth conditions throughout Europe are beneficial. This is reflected in our forecasts, which at EU-28 level are above average of the last five years," they said.

They nudged EU-28 average barley yields up from 4.71 MT/ha to 4.75 MT/ha, with OSR yields increased from 3.35 MT/ha to 3.42 MT/ha, and left those for corn unchanged at 7.22 MT/ha.

In the UK, they increased potential wheat yields this year from 8.08 MT/ha to 8.14 MT/ha, a 5.5% reduction from a year ago but 6.6% above the 5-year average. Barley yields were pegged at 6.16 MT/ha, up from 6.04 MT/ha a month ago and OSR yields estimated at 3.63 MT/ha versus 3.68 MT/ha a month ago.

French soft wheat yields this year were raised from 7.25 MT/ha to 7.54 MT/ha and German yields left unchanged at 8.05 MT/ha. In France "the favourable conditions observed since the beginning of the season have continued." In Germany "crop growth conditions continued to be beneficial due to seasonal temperatures and well distributed rainfall," they said.

The Morning News

26/05/15 -- It's been a predictably slow start to developments this morning, as the UK and US markets awake from their long weekends, and think about returning to work.

Later on, all eyes will be on the USDA's one day delayed weekly crop progress report, with US corn plantings now likely to be somewhere in the low 90's sown and soybeans around 55-60% planted, the market anticipates. We will probably also get the first corn crop ratings of the season, and these are expected to show some of the highest percentages in the good to excellent category on record.

Also later today, we should get the May edition of the EU Commission's MARS monthly crop report and revised yield estimates.

In other news this morning, Senalia - the largest silo operator in the French leading port of Rouen - are said to have re-opened their doors for the intake of wheat today, following a pick-up in export demand.

Their silo in Rouen is of course one of the only two delivery points in the port against the Paris wheat futures contract.

Russian spring planting is said to be 71.2% complete on 22.1 million ha, that's down on the 24.4 million ha that had been planted this time a year ago. Wheat planting is 62.6% done on 8.2 million ha, say the Russian Ag Ministry.

Things are even further behind in sodden Kazakhstan where only 22.1% of spring crops have been sown so far. A year ago that figure was 8.14 million ha.

Rusagrotrans forecast that Russia could export 1.0-1.1 MMT of grains this month, and maybe as much as 1.3 MMT next month.

Iraq are tendering for 50 TMT of optional origin wheat, but frequently buy much more than they tender for. Japan are in for 100 TMT of US/Canadian/Australian milling wheat. South Korea have bought 69 TMT of feed wheat of unspecified origin over the weekend.

Ukragroconsult have raised their estimate for this year's Ukraine grain crop by 2.6 MMT to 54.9 MMT, although that's still a fair bit less than the optimistic 60 MMT forecast by the Ag Ministry last week.

The euro is under pressure again, following comments by one of their Ministers over the weekend that they don't have the money to pay the IMF what they owe next month. This has sort of been denied since by a different Minister, according to a report on the BBC website this morning.

The wording of that though says that they "intend" to keep making their repayments "for as long as possible" which doesn't sound like too much of a guarantee to me.

I might give the bank a call later to see if I can borrow enough money to buy a Ferrari on the promise that I "intend" to keep making the repayments "for as long as possible" and see how I get on.

Barclays maintain their bearish outlook on the future of the euro, seeing it being worth only 69 pence to the pound by the end of the year, when it will also be less than parity against the US dollar.

How long have we been taking about a Grexit now? Over 5 years isn't it? Jimmy Savile was a top bloke who did a lot of work for charity back then, and Rolf Harris was painting the Queen.

El Nino might be causing some drought/dryness issues with corn in Indonesia I read. That's all for now....

Paris Grains Quiet With UK/US Markets Closed

25/05/15 -- EU grains closed mixed in a quiet session with London and America both closed for holiday. The day ended with Sep 15 Paris wheat unchanged at EUR182.50/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was down EUR1.25/tonne at EUR153.00/tonne and Aug 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR0.25/tonne to EUR359.25/tonne.

Fresh news of any great note was relatively thin on the ground as you might expect.

The euro was weaker following comments by a Greek minister over the weekend that the country would not, and did not have, the capital needed to pay the IMF the EUR1.6 billion it is owed in June.

APK Inform said that Ukraine seaports had shipped out 502.9 TMT of grains last week, up sharply versus 132.7 TMT the week previously. The top homes were Egypt (67.1 TMT), the Netherlands (51.5 TMT), China (48.2 TMT) and Italy (46.6 TMT).

They said that corn accounted for 81% (407.4 TMT) worth of last week's exports, with wheat only 14% and barley the remaining 5%.

The Ukraine Ministry said that grain exports for the season (to May 20) stand at 31.12 MMT, including 16.1 MMT of corn, 10.38 MMT of wheat and 4.41 MMT of barley.

Russian seaports meanwhile exported a more modest 112.3 MMT of grains last week, down from 125.6 TMT the previous week. That total included 78.2 TMT of wheat, 17.2 TMT of corn and 12.2 TMT of barley.

Russia's grain exports since the Feb 1 duty on wheat was introduced stand at 4.93 MMT, down around 25% on a year previously. Wheat exports during that period are down 62% at 1.67 MMT. Barley exports were up more than threefold at 1.68 MMT and corn exports were down 15% at 1.42 MMT.

Russia's season to date grain exports are still up 17% on a year ago at 28.25 MMT, including wheat shipments that are 14% higher at 20.14 MMT, barley exports up more than 200% at 5.02 MMT whilst corn exports are down by 30% to 2.64 MMT.

Spain said that it had imported 266 TMT of wheat in March, with France (92.6 TMT), the UK (68.1 TMT) and Denmark (32.6 TMT) the leading suppliers.

Spain also imported 673 TMT of corn in March, of which 62% (418.5 TMT) came from Ukraine and 26% (177.1 TMT) from France.

The Indian government said that it had now purchased almost 26.5 MMT of the intended 30 MMT of new crop wheat that it plans to buy off local farmers this year.