Chicago Grains Post Nice Rally To End The Week, Are The Dark Days Over?

25/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed around 20 cents higher, belatedly basking in the glory of yesterday's 13 MMT+ sale to China. In addition the USDA today announced 260,000 MT of US beans sold to China for 2015/16 shipment. It isn't thought that the latter is part of the former. This was the highest close for front month beans since Sep 8. Does this mean that then lows of the year are in? Personally I doubt it. Any rallies now will only encourage increased desire to expand soybean acres in South America this year. We might need to see some sort of production problem there yet before we can be confident that the bottom of the market is in. Coceral forecast the EU-28 rapeseed crop at 21.45 MMT, down from 24.1 MMT a year ago. The IGC said that the EU rapeseed planted area was unlikely to expand for the 2016 harvest. Ukraine is only two thirds sown on winter OSR, and the IGC say that what's left might not get into the ground. Both those factors could boost demand for soybeans and meal in the next twelve months and beyond, but there could maybe be a bit more pain to come first. Today's commitment of traders report shows fund money expanding their net short in beans by more than 21k lots for the week through to Tuesday night. They were net short 46,250 lots as of then. Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.89 1/4, up 21 1/4 cents; Jan 16 Soybeans closed at $8.93 1/4, up 20 3/4 cents; Oct 15 Soybean Meal closed at $308.70, up $6.30; Oct 15 Soybean Oil closed at 27.72, up 74 points. For the week front month beans were up 22 cents, meal fell 30 cents and oil added 167 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 7-8 cents higher. Coceral estimated the EU-28 corn crop at 59.5 MMT, down almost 20% from 73.8 MMT a year ago, and some other analysts are even lower than that - the IGC were at only 57.6 MMT yesterday. Coceral have the French corn crop at 13.4 MMT versus 17 MMT a year ago. Romania's production will drop to 8.9 MMT from 11.5 MMT and Hungary's is seen down to 6.4 MMT from 9.1 MMT. Agritel said that Ukraine's 2015 corn producers are expecting a 20-30% drop in yields. They peg production there at "no less" than 23 MMT versus 28.5 MMT a year ago from the USDA (who are at 27 MMT for this year). Early yields are miles below the USDA's 6.59 MT/ha average estimate at 4.40 MT/ha, although these are expected to pick up as the harvest progresses. FranceAgriMer raised the proportion of the French corn crop rated good to very good by one percentage point from a week ago. Even so at 56% things are much worse than 87% this time last year. Nationally the 2015 harvest is said to be 4% complete. China only just 35,861 MT of the 5.4 MMT of corn that they had on offer at auction this week as they continue to struggle to shift some of their massive reserves, some of which are several years old. Tonight was the best close on corn since Sep 15. As with beans thoug, I'd be tempted to say that this doesn't necessarily mean that the lows of the year are in just yet. There's US harvest pressure to come, and recall that seasonally we don't see the lows of the year on corn until October. Despite a sharply lower crop in Europe this year, we also have to consider that there are massive wheat stocks here, both from the new harvest and a large carryover from last year too. With France in particular already struggling to store all that wheat, where's the corn going to go? Fund money reduced their net long in corn a little to 66,625 lots as of Tuesday night Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.89, up 7 1/2 cents; Mar 16 Corn closed at $4.00 1/4, up 7 1/2 cents. For the week Dec 15 corn was 11 3/4 cents higher.

Wheat: The wheat market closed with decent gains on he day and for the week. I'm tempted to think that wheat over-achieved this week. Coceral estimated the 2015 EU soft wheat crop at 148.2 MMT versus it's June estimate of 140.6 MMT and now almost exactly level with last season's record crop. EU weekly export licences were down from 525 TMT to 502 TMT, with France picking up 33% of that total. Cumulative export licences to date are down 26% on a year ago, and yet the USDA expects these to only finish the season 8% lower. US Fed Chairwoman Yellen said that she still expects US interest rates to start to rise before the end of the year. "The central bank head said as long as inflation was stable and the US economy was strong enough to boost jobs, the conditions would be right for a rise," reported the BBC. That likely means a stronger US dollar, and that doesn't likely mean a boost to US wheat exports, not with fierce competition around from Europe, the Black Sea, Australia and Canada. On the international tender front, South Korea's KFMC bought 23,000 MT of US wheat for Dec-Jan shipment and Taiwan are in the market for 89,150 MT of US milling wheat for Nov–Dec shipment, but these are nothing more than routine tenders. In the US total 2015/16 wheat commitments (sales and shipments) are 14% behind the pace of a year ago, yet the USDA has these down to increase by nearly 10% this year. How are they going to achieve that with a firmer US dollar? There's much trade talk about winter wheat plantings in Russia and Ukraine going into dry ground and being unlikely to get well established ahead of winter dormancy. That's one of the main factors supporting the market at the moment. Plantings in both countries are only currently slightly behind where they were a year ago, but could do with a drink for sure, and not much relief is in the forecast. Whether this is a real market mover remains to be seen. Russia's wheat exports should now start to pick up with the agreed changes being made to the export duty on Oct 1. Fund money was short 35,365 Chicago wheat lots as of Tuesday night. Dec 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.07 3/4, up 10 1/2 cents; Dec 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.00 1/4, up 10 1/4 cents; Dec 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.22 3/4, up 8 3/4 cents. For the week, Chicago wheat was up 20 cents, with Kansas 18 cents higher and Minneapolis 11 3/4 cents firmer.

EU Wheat Jumps, Despite Output Almost Matching Last Year, Exports Lagging And Stocks Rising

25/09/15 -- EU grains posted decent gains on the day and for the week.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP2.45/tonne at GBP115.80/tonne. In Paris, Nov 15 wheat was EUR3.75/tonne higher at EUR176.50/tonne, Nov 15 corn was up EUR2.00/tonne to EUR165.25/tonne and Nov 15 rapeseed was EUR5.50/tonne higher at EUR369.75/tonne.

For the week that puts London wheat GBP5.35/tonne higher, with Paris wheat up EUR9.25/tonne, corn up EUR3.50/tonne and rapeseed EUR10.25/tonne firmer.

Exactly why wheat posted bigger gains than corn this week is a difficult one to explain. The EU wheat crop is now estimated just a smidgen below last season's record, exports are significantly lagging those of a year ago in the face of stiff competition from the Black Sea and thus 2015/16 ending stocks are forecast at multi-year highs.

It's EU corn production and stocks that are seen well below year ago levels.

Brussels announced that they'd released 502 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week. That's down from 525 TMT a week ago, and the season to date total now lags last year's pace by 26% at 4.72 MMT.

Coceral today became the latest trade body to release their latest EU crop production estimates, pegging the soft wheat crop here at 148.2 MMT, up sharply from the 140.6 MMT that they were expecting in June and now almost identical to last season's 148.3 MMT.

They raised their outlook on the size of the EU-28 barley crop up from 56.7 MMT to 60.3 MMT, which is now marginally higher than 60.2 MMT a year ago. Corn production was dropped from 65.7 MMT to 59.5 MMT, down sharply from 73.8 MMT a year ago.

Coceral now estimate the UK wheat crop at close on 16 MMT (with yields at 8.67 MT/ha), barley production at nearly 7.4 MMT and OSR output at a little over 2.4 MMT.

The HGCA said that the UK wheat harvest is now 97% complete and that yields are averaging 8.5-8.7 MT/ha, unchanged from a week ago and far above the 10-year average of 7.8 MT/ha, which suggests a final harvest of 15.9-16.3 MMT using their earlier planted area figure of 1.87 million ha.

They said that the small area of UK spring wheat sown was 80% harvested, along with a similar proportion of the UK spring barley crop and 95% of this year's oats.

FranceAgriMer said that the French 2015 corn harvest was 4% complete as of Monday night. They raised the proportion of the crop rated good to very good by one percentage point to 56%. Small areas of Lorraine have begun sowing winter wheat and barley, they said.

Russia said that they'd harvested 91 MMT of grains so far, and revised their final 2015 grain production estimate to 100-101 MMT. Exports in 2015/16 are now forecast at 30 MMT.

Russia's wheat exports should now start to pick up now that the government have eased the duty on foreign sales.

Ukraine's winter rapeseed sowings are well behind schedule due to dry weather, with around a third of the anticipated area still to be sown. That might not get into the ground at all, according to the IGC, who also say that they think it is unlikely that the EU rapeseed area will rise this year (for the 2016 harvest).

Chicago Wheat An Corn End Lower, Beans Post Modest Gains Despite Some Bullish News

24/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed with just small gains. A rather astonishing fact, considering that the Chinese delegation in the US to buy soybeans apparently agreed to take over 13 MMT in a deal said to be worth $5.3 billion! The deal is spread over both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 marketing years. In addition to that news the USDA also announced 313,000 MT of US beans sold to unknown destinations for 2015/16 shipment. Weekly export sales of 1.32 MMT also topped trade expectations. As ever, these sales were were primarily for China (762,700 MT) and unknown destinations (302,500 MT). A market that can only manage a 4 cent rally on news like this has to be on a bear run. A Bloomberg survey into trader/analyst sentiment found 4 soybean bulls, 13 bears and 8 neutrals. The IGC forecast the global 2015/16 soybean crop at 317 MMT, down 1 MMT from a month ago and 2.6 MMT lower than the USDA. They reduced consumption by 2 MMT however and raised 2015/16 carryout by 5 MMT to 49 MMT. Production in the US this year was increased 0.5 MMT to 106 MMT versus the USDA's 107.1 MMT. Argentina was lowered from 57 MMT to 56 MMT and Brazil was left unchanged at 98 MMT. Chinese imports were pegged at 79.5 MMT, unchanged from a month ago and 0.5 MMT above the USDA's prediction. In other news, Brazil's Cerealpar said that the nation's growers had sold 45-50% of their 2015/16 soybean crop. IMEA said Mato Grosso producers have sold 40% of their 2015/16 soybean crop, far higher than 11% a year ago, as the Brazilian real falls to record lows against the US dollar making prices there fairly attractive. Planting for the 2015/16 harvest is just about getting going now. Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.68, up 4 1/4 cents; Jan 16 Soybeans closed at $8.72 1/2, up 4 1/4 cents; Oct 15 Soybean Meal closed at $302.40, down $0.70; Oct 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.98, up 65 points.

Corn: The market closed around a couple of cents lower, with much of the friendly news today centred around soybeans. The IGC lowered their estimate for the global 2015/16 corn crop by 1 MMT to 967 MMT, but dropped consumption by 2 MMT taking ending stocks 1 MMT higher to 199 MMT, and 9.3 MMT above those predicted by the USDA. They cut their estimate for the EU-28 corn crop from 60.1 MMT to 57.6 MMT, but lowered feed usage here by 3 MMT to 50 MMT. That means that ending stocks in Europe were only reduced slightly, down from 5.6 MMT to 5.2 MMT. Ukraine's corn crop estimate was raised by 0.5 MMT to 24.5 MMT of which 16.5 MMT will be exported, they predict. The Bloomberg survey into trader sentiment found 8 bulls, 4 bears and 14 neutrals on corn. Russia said that it's corn harvest was 24.3% done on 679k ha for a crop of 3.4 MMT so far. Average yields of 5.07 MT/ha are up a little on 4.95 MT/ha a year ago and also slightly above the USDA's predicted 5.0 MT/ha. The latter can't be said for Ukraine though, where their corn harvest is 14% done on 566k ha, with yields only averaging 4.4 MT/ha so far, which is well below the USDA's prediction of 6.59 MT/ha. China are said to be attempting to auction off a total of 5.0 MMT of corn from reserves today and tomorrow. Weekly US corn export sales of 426,300 MT for delivery in 2015/16 were down 20 percent from the previous week and fell below trade expectations for sales of 550-750 TMT. Increases were reported primarily for Mexico (159,600 MT), Colombia (154,700 MT), Bangladesh (54,300 MT), Guatemala (39,900 MT), and Taiwan (18,100 MT). Shipments were 795,400 MT, down slightly on the previous week, and accumulated exports are down 24% from last year for the first three weeks of the marketing year. Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.81 1/2, down 1 3/4 cents; Mar 16 Corn closed at $3.92 3/4, down 2 cents.

Wheat: The market closed with double digit losses. The IGC painted a picture of abundant global wheat and coarse grain supplies, raising their world wheat production estimate by 7 MMT from a month ago to 727 MMT - the third record crop in a row - and upping 2015/16 carryover stocks by 5 MMT to 211 MMT. They increased the size of this year's EU-28 wheat crop from 151.9 MMT to 155.5 MMT, but made no change to European exports, leaving those at 31.3 MMT. That takes EU 2015/16 ending stocks up to 16.2 MMT, the highest since 2009/10. They added 1 MMT to their Russian wheat production estimate, taking that up to 60 MMT. There was also a 0.5 MMT increase for Ukraine, with their crop now forecast at 25.5 MMT. Russia's 2015/16 wheat export potential was raised from 22.9 MMT to 23.1 MMT, but that still sees their ending stocks increase from 6.9 MMT to 7.7 MMT. Ukraine is also now seen exporting more wheat than a month ago at 12.7 MMT versus the 12.0 MMT predicted in August. The IGC lowered US exports by 0.5 MMT to 24.0 MMT which is now 1 MMT less than the USDA optimistically predict. US ending stocks were thus raised to 24.7 MMT versus the USDA's 23.8 MMT. There was also 1.5 MMT increase to wheat production in China this year, with their crop now forecast at 129 MMT. In other news it's being reported that the Russian PM has passed the Ag Ministry's proposed adjustments to their wheat export duty and that the new rules will come into effect on Oct 1. That could mean increased export activity from them. Another poor set of weekly export sales figures was perhaps the final nail in the wheat coffin today. These came in at only 282,800 MT for 2015/16, a 25% reduction on last week. Total old crop commitments (sales and shipments) are 14% behind the pace of a year ago. Dec 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.97 1/4, down 10 1/4 cents; Dec 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.90, down 11 3/4 cents; Dec 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.14, down 13 1/4 cents.

EU Grains Mostly Lower, Wheat Stocks Seen At 6-Year Highs

24/09/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower, in a partial reversal/correction following yesterday's strong gains which pushed London and Paris wheat to one month highs.

The day ended with Nov 15 London wheat down GBP1.90/tonne to GBP113.35/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was EUR2.00/tonne easier at EUR172.75/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn rose EUR0.75/tonne to EUR163.25/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR0.75/tonne lower at EUR364.25/tonne.

London wheat posted the biggest one day gain since early July yesterday, according to the HGCA, so I guess you could simply say that things got a little overdone.

Yes there are concerns over dryness in Russia and Ukraine, but these worries can't yet be quantified into anything meaningful. Winter grains plantings in both countries are only a bit behind last year's pace, although the forecast does remain dry.

To underline the fact that there's no international shortage of wheat, the IGC today raised their forecast for the global 2015/16 crop by 7 MMT from a month ago (to 727 MMT) and added another 5 MMT to world carryover stocks, taking those up to 211 MMT.

"Recent advances in wheat (prices) were partly tied to speculative short covering in US futures, as well as concerns about dry weather in some countries. Sentiment across most markets was, however, weighed by bearish fundamentals, as well as worries about the world economy and how demand for commodities might be affected," they said.

They raised their forecast for the EU-28 all wheat crop from 151.9 MMT to 155.5 MMT and versus the USDA's 154.1 MMT, now less than 0.5% below last season's record. Exports here were placed at 31.3 MMT, unchanged from a month ago and 1.2 MMT less than the USDA currently predict.

That takes EU-28 all wheat ending stocks up to 16.2 MMT from the 14.6 MMT estimated a month ago and 9.5% above the USDA's current 14.8 MMT estimate. They would also be more than 18% up compared to carryover at the end of 2014/15 and the highest since 2009/10.

Despite a 1 MMT reduction in the size of the global corn crop this month to 967 MMT, 2015/16 carryout was increased by 1 MMT due to a 2 MMT cut in consumption.

They cut their EU-28 corn production estimate from the 60.1 MMT predicted a month ago to 57.6 MMT, which is now slightly lower than the UDSA's 58 MMT, and nearly 24% down on last year's record harvest.

The total global wheat and coarse grains crop was seen 8 MMT higher than a month ago, with ending stocks up by a similar amount.

Despite some trade talk of possible frost damage to wheat in Australia, MDA CropCast today raised their forecast for this year's wheat crop there by 1.92 MMT to 25 MMT.

The Russian Ag Ministry's proposals to cut the export duty on wheat have apparently gone before the PM for final approval. If passed the new tax is expected to come into force on Oct 1. It seems that the changes proposed are favourable, which would potentially increase the nation's grain exports which are dominated by wheat.

These are currently running 22.6% down on year ago levels at 7.7 MMT Jul 1 to Sep 18.

The Russians said that their 2015 wheat harvest is 84.4% complete at 59.0 MMT. Corn harvesting is 24.3% done at 3.4 MMT and 83.6% of this year's barley area has been cut producing a crop of 17.0 MMT to date.

Ukraine said that it's 2015 grain harvest now stands at more than 40 MMT off 75% of the planned area. Corn is by far the largest crop now being harvested. That's 14% done on 566k ha, although yields are only averaging 4.4 MT/ha so far, which is well below the USDA's prediction of 6.59 MT/ha.

The Ukraine Ag Ministry estimated winter grains plantings at 33% complete on 2.46 million ha, of which 2.33 million ha is wheat. An additional 555k ha of winter OSR has been sown, although that's only 67% of the intended area and the optimal time for planting that crop is already over. Some analysts are now predicting Ukraine's 2015 rapeseed crop to be the smallest since 2007 - below even that of 2012.

On the flip side, a lower than expected Ukraine winter rapeseed area could of course lead to more wheat getting sown this year.

Chicago Grains Rally, Led By Wheat For Once

23/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed with small gains. The USDA announced 284,500 MT of US beans sold to China for 2015/16 shipment. That could be just a drop in the ocean, with a Chinese delegation in town this week, expected to buy at least 3-5 MMT of US beans in a showcase deal. Even so, concerns over China remain, and what beans they are buying at the moment are coming mostly from Brazil. The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 2.2% today. The trade is now estimating Brazilian soybean plantings to rise at least 3% this year, and possibly more like 5-6%, meaning that another record crop of around 100 MMT is likely in 2015/16 from that quarter. Argentina is thought also likely to at least match this year's production of 60 MMT. Safras e Mercado estimated Brazil’s 2016 soybean exports at 52.3 MMT up 4% from 2015. Argentine presidential elections are coming up on October 25th. Peronist presidential candidate Scioli, who is leading in the polls, may favour an export tax cut of 5% it is thought. That potentially means higher exports from them too in 2016. CitiGroup estimated CBOT 2016 average soybean prices at $9.15/bu. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for beans are 1.0-1.2 MMT, with meal sales of 120-225 TMT. Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.63 3/4, up 2 cents; Jan 16 Soybeans closed at $8.68 1/4, up 1 3/4 cents; Oct 15 Soybean Meal closed at $303.10, down $1.80; Oct 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.33, up 20 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around a couple of cents firmer, although concerns about the health of the global economy continue. Dryness in Ukraine may be harming 2015 corn production potential there. The Ukraine Ag Ministry estimated the country's 2015 grain crop at 59.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 60.0 MMT. Local analysts Agritel said that they may cut their Ukraine corn production forecast from the current 25 MMT to 23 MMT, which is 4 MMT less that where the USDA currently stand. Average yields there have been coming in well below the USDA's projected national average of 6.59 MT/ha. Russia said that it's 2015 corn harvest is now 23.7% complete on 662k ha, producing a crop of 3.4 MMT to date. Average yields there are said to be 5.06 MT/ha, slightly better than last year and marginally above the USDA's estimated 5.0 MT/ha national average. Based on a Reuters poll South Africa’s 2015 corn crop was estimated at an average of 9.76 MMT, which is well below the USDA's estimate. CitiGroup estimated CBOT 2016 average corn prices at $4.05/bu. The US Energy Dept said weekly US ethanol production last week was only 938,000 barrels per day, down from 961,000 bpd the previous week and the lowest since early May. A Brazilian Federal Agricultural Agents strike may be holding up some cargoes of soybeans and corn from leaving the country due to a lack of the appropriate paperwork it is said. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are in the region of 550-750 TMT. Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.83 1/4, up 2 3/4 cents; Mar 16 Corn closed at $3.94 3/4, up 2 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed with double digit gains. Nervousness over dryness issues in both the US and FSU seem to have sparked some short-covering. There's also now talk that Australia's wheat crop might not be quite as large as some earlier estimates had been predicting. Russia's Ag Ministry said that their 2015 grain harvest was 79% complete at 90.2 MMT with an average yield of 2.42 MT/ha versus 2.60 MT/ha a year ago. That includes 58.8 MMT of wheat off 83.9% of the planned area, with yields there averaging 2.61 MT/ha versus 2.86 MT/ha this time last year. The Russian barley harvest is said to be 83.3% complete on 7.4 million ha for a crop of 16.9 MMT to date. The USDA currently estimate the final 2015 Russian wheat crop at 61 MMT, with barley output projected at 19.5 MMT. The Russian Ag Ministry say that plantings for the 2016 harvest, mostly winter wheat, have been completed on 10.1 million ha, or 59.3% of the government target area. That's almost identical to the 10.2 million ha that had been sown this time a year ago. It's the health, or otherwise, of these newly planted crops that the market is focusing on at the moment. Weather maps show much of southern and central Russia, and all of Ukraine, to have been significantly drier than normal across the last 30 days. The GFS forecast is calling for only 40-60% of normal rainfall for almost the entire region save for the west of Ukraine across the next 15 days. Temperatures in the region are also much above normal through the next 7 days, and although cooling a little after that, remain above normal in the 8-15 day period. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are 250-600 TMT. Dec 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.07 1/2, up 12 cents; Dec 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.01 3/4, up 13 3/4 cents; Dec 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.27 1/4, up 10 1/4 cents.

EU Wheat Closes At Best Levels In A Month On FSU And US Dryness

23/09/15 -- EU grains closed generally higher,and with wheat leading the way on continued talk of dryness remaining an issue for winter wheat crops in southern Russia, Ukraine and also the US.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP3.85/tonne to GBP115.25/tonne. In Paris, Dec 15 wheat rose EUR3.25/tonne to EUR174.75/tonne, Nov 15 corn finished EUR1.25/tonne higher at EUR16250/tonne and Nov 15 rapeseed ended EUR1.50/tonne firmer at EUR365.00/tonne.

For both London and Paris wheat this was the highest close in over a month.

Whilst Russian winter grains plantings are now past halfway, much of what has been sown has gone into some pretty dry soil, and that dryness is forecast to continue for at least the next 15 days.

It's a similar situation in Ukraine, except that winter plantings there are only around a quarter of the way through, as growers wait for rain.

Crops in both countries need rain soon to get themselves established ahead of the onset of the harsh FSU winter.

Russian customs data shows that the country exported 938 TMT of grains in the week Sep 15-21, although with analysts lining up to estimate total exports this month at a record 4.5-4.7 MMT even those isn't quite enough to reach that target.

That takes Jan 1 - Sep 21 Russian grain exports to almost 22.5 MMT, including 13.2 MMT of wheat.

The market is still waiting on Russia to make a move on it's wheat export duty, with the Russian Economy Ministry reportedly opposing a cut in the tax. No reduction would probably continue to hold back Russian exports a little.

Things are also dry in the Great Plains, the US breadbasket, where winter wheat is due to be planted in October. "Rainfall has been sparse especially on the High Plains – eastern Colorado, western Nebraska, west Kansas and the Texas panhandle," say Martell Crop Projections.

"Kansas is the top bread wheat state and the largest US wheat state overall, including spring wheat. Conditions are currently are very dry in the western third of the state. Hot September temperatures have contributed to dry field conditions, increasing the rate of evaporation," they add.

In other news, Jordan are tendering for at least 50,000 MT of hard wheat of optional origin.

Chicago Grains Stage Turnaround Tuesday Trade

22/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans and meal closed lower in "Turnaround Tuesday" style, completely reversing Monday's gains and then some. The Brazilian real hit a new record low against the US dollar today. The timing of that is bad, as it means the price of soybeans in the country is rising, just as farmers there begin their plantings for the 2016 harvest. Dr Cordonnier estimated Brazilian plantings to rise 3.3% to 33 million ha, with production jumping to a record 99 MMT. Some other estimates are even higher. "Early soybean planting began in Brazil last week, but it remained rather limited because the weather last week ended up being dryer than expected especially in Mato Grosso and central Brazil. The forecast for this week also looks generally dry as well in central Brazil, but there is some rain in the forecast for next week," said Dr Cordonnier. This isn't really much of an issue at the moment, providing that rains do come eventually. In Argentina Dr Cordonnier estimates soybean plantings to rise 2% to 20.9 million ha, and sees production at 60 MMT, matching the 2014/15 record crop. Output could reach 63 MMT with ideal growing conditions, or fall to 57 MMT if the weather fails to cooperate, he feels. Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.61 3/4, down 12 1/2 cents; Jan 16 Soybeans closed at $8.66 1/2, down 12 1/4 cents; Oct 15 Soybean Meal closed at $304.90, down $4.70; Oct 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.13, down 37 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 4 cents lower, giving up some, but not all, of yesterday's gains. CNGOIC estimated China’s 2015/16 corn imports at 2.8 MMT versus 2014/15 imports of 5.4 MMT and the USDA's 3.0 MMT forecast. They see China’s 2015/16 sorghum imports at 8.0 MMT, and have feed barley imports at 5.0 MMT. The fall in value of the Brazilian real is even supporting corn prices. Earlier ideas of a drop in Brazilian plantings in favour of a major switch into beans are turning expectations back to around unchanged levels. Dr Cordonnier estimated Brazilian corn plantings to be unchanged at 15.7 million ha, with production also likely to be unchanged from a year previously at 84.3 MMT. His range of estimates, depending on exactly how favourable the growing season is, are between 81-88 MMT. In Argentina he sees 2015/16 plantings down 12.5% to 2.8 million ha, with production falling from 25.5 MMT to 21.6 MMT. "For the (South American) corn crop, I have a neutral bias because the safrinha corn acreage may increase in Brazil while the corn acreage in Argentina may decline even further. The total South American corn production is estimated at 110.2 million tons or 3.8 million tons less than last year (- 3.3%)," he said. Russia said that it's 2015 corn harvest was 22.4% complete on 626k ha producing a crop of 3.2 MMT with average yields of 5.06 MT/ha a little above last year. Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.80 1/2, down 4 cents; Mar 16 Corn closed at $3.92 1/4, down 3 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed with small losses. Commerzbank said that the USDA was "too optimistic" with it's forecast for a record 2015/16 world wheat crop of 731.6 MMT. "Commerzbank kept its forecasts for wheat futures a little above the futures curve, seeing them average $5.20 a bushel in Chicago in the first three months of next year, compared with the $5.01 a bushel that March 2016 futures were trading at on Tuesday. For Paris prices, the forecast of EUR180 a tonne for the January-to-March period was also a little above the futures curve," said Agrimoney. Dryness concerns in Russia and Ukraine keep getting a mention in just about every news report going for wheat at the moment too. Russia said that it's winter grain plantings were 57.2% done on 9.8 million ha, almost identical to the 9.9 million ha sown this time last year. They also said that their 2015 wheat harvest was now 83.3% done on 22.4 million ha for a crop of 58.6 MMT to date. Average yields are said to be coming in at 2.62 MT/ha, down from 2.87 MT/ha a year ago. The 2015 Russian barley harvest is now said to be 82.9% complete on 7.4 million ha for a crop of 16.9 MMT to date. Average yields here are down to 2.28 MT/ha from 2.42 MT/ha a year ago. The Russian Grain Union said that the country would export a record 4.7 MMT of grains this month. That matches the forecast of Rusagrotrans, and is 0.2 MMT above that of SovEcon. Dec 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.95 1/2, down 1 1/4 cents; Dec 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.88, down 2 1/2 cents; Dec 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.17, down 1 1/4 cents.

EU Wheat Stages Late Recovery

22/09/15 -- After trading lower for most of the day, in "Turnaround Tuesday" style following yesterday's advances, EU wheat futures managed to finish in the green by the end of the session.

At the close, Nov 15 London wheat was up GBP0.40/tonne at GBP111.40/tonne. In Paris, Nov 15 wheat was EUR1.25/tonne higher at EUR171.50tonne, Nov 15 corn was down EUR0.75/tonne to EUR161.25/tonne and Nov 15 rapeseed was EUR0.75/tonne easier at EUR363.50/tonne.

Chicago wheat is down 20% since the end of June, and could be in for it's largest quarterly loss since 1986 by the end of the month, according to Bloomberg. Paris wheat is down by 16% in the same period, leaving losses in London wheat of "only" 6% since Jun 30 look relatively mild by comparison.

World wheat stocks, forecast at 226.5 MMT by the USDA at the end of 2015/16, will be the largest on record. They will also be more than 7% up on a year previously and represent the third year-on-year increase in a row.

That looks like continuing to weigh on the international wheat market for some time yet. Concerns over dryness in Russia and Ukraine, with winter wheat plantings there now well underway, are the best hope the bulls have to cling to at the moment. It is however going to be some considerable time before those worries can be quantified.

Ukraine's 2015/16 grain exports continue to be brisk. They've exported 5.93 MMT of grains so far this season, according to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. That's split 2.73 MMT of wheat, 1.87 MMT of barley and 1.31 MMT of corn, plus a few bits and pieces of other grains.

They say that carryover stocks of almost 11 MMT left over at the end of 2014/15 will swell total grains supply this season to nearly 70 MMT, with domestic demand estimated at little more than 27 MMT that leaves nearly 43 MMT left over to export or as carryover stocks at the end of the season.

Russia's exports have begun 2015/16 in slightly less impressive style, although both Rusagrotrans (4.7 MMT) and SovEcon (4.5 MMT) expect these to set a new record for the month of September.

Iran has announced that it has lifted the import duty applicable on wheat and barley, without saying why. The duty was only put in place in July following what is believed to have been a bumper 2015 harvest. The USDA currently predict Iran to import 2.5 MMT of wheat this season, half of the volume shipped in during 2014/15. Barley imports of 1.5 MMT were expected to be 25% lower versus last season.

Closer to home, Spain said it had imported more than 1 MMT of grains in July, up 5% from a year previously. Wheat imports of 360 TMT were similar to those of a year ago, but barley imports of 161 TMT were up 75%, whist corn imports fell 4% to 477 TMT.

The largest supplier of grains to Spain in July was France with 354 TMT, followed by Ukraine with 143 TMT.

Chicago Grains End Higher To Start The Week

21/09/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed around 7 cents higher. Weekly export inspections of 502,846 MT were up 35% on a week ago. The USDA also reported 240 TMT of US soybeans sold to unknown, widely assumed to be China, for 2015/16 shipment. A Chinese trade delegation is in the US this week and are expected to sign deals to buy around 3-5 MMT of US soybeans. China said that they'd imported almost 7.8 MMT of soybeans last month, a 29% increase on a year ago. The country's Jan/Aug soybean imports now stand at 52.4 MMT, up almost 10% year-on-year. Nearly 28 MMT of that came from Brazil, 17 MMT from the US and 5.3 MMT from Argentina. Informa were reported to have said on Friday that the US 2015 soybean area will be 1.4 million acres lower than the USDA’s August estimate. Safras e Mercado estimated Brazil’s 2015/16 soybean crop at a new record 100.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 99.8 MMT and the USDA's 97 MMT forecast. After the close the USDA estimated this year's US soybean harvest at 7% complete, in line with the recent average. They have 56% of the crop dropping leaves versus 50% for the 5-year average and raised good to excellent crop conditions by 2 points on a week ago to 63%. Nov 15 Soybeans closed at $8.74 1/4, up 7 cents; Jan 16 Soybeans closed at $8.78 3/4, up 7 1/4 cents; Oct 15 Soybean Meal closed at $309.60, up $0.60; Oct 15 Soybean Oil closed at 26.50, up 45 points.

Corn: The market posted decent gains to start the week, closing around 7 cents higher. Weekly export inspections of 735,535 MT were bigger than last week, but smaller than the same week a year ago. The USDA announced 487,600 MT of US corn sold to Mexico for 2015/16 shipment. China were said to have cut state corn prices by 10% over the weekend. The move was largely expected, but still leaves domestic Chinese corn prices well above global levels. Informa said that the US 2015 corn area will be around 500,000 acres less than the USDA’s August estimate. Safras e Mercado estimated Brazil’s 2015/16 total corn crop at 88.6 MMT versus a previous estimate of 86.2 MMT. The USDA have that at only 79 MMT currently. Chinese customs data shows that they imported 607,582 MT of corn last month, around 350% more than a year ago. Their Jan/Aug corn imports are now 4.36 MMT, up 173% on a year previously. DDGs Jan/Aug imports of 3.55 MMT are down 9.2% on a year ago. The USDA said that the 2015 US corn harvest is now 10% complete as of Sunday night, which is 5 points behind the recent average. North Carolina remains the most advanced state at 72% harvested, although that's only up marginally from 70% done a week ago. They left crop ratings unchanged at 68% good to excellent. They said that 53% of the crop is mature versus 56% typically at this time and that 94% is dented, one point ahead of the 5-year average. Dec 15 Corn closed at $3.84 1/2, up 7 1/4 cents; Mar 16 Corn closed at $3.96, up 7 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The market closed around 7-10 cents higher to start the week. Weekly export sales of 604,918 MT were pretty good. Following the purchase of 230 TMT of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and France on Friday, the Egyptian Supplies Minister said that the country now has enough wheat in the pipeline to last it until March. They are one of the first northern hemisphere countries to begin harvesting wheat. Their own harvest usually begins in April. There's talk of dryness in Russia and Ukraine delaying winter grain plantings and putting back germination. Russia said that their winter grain plantings were 55.6% complete on 9.5 million ha versus 9.9 million ha a year ago at this time. The Russian Ag Ministry say that the country has harvested 58.3 MMT of wheat so far this year off 82.6% of the planned area. Kazakhstan said that they'd harvested 10.25 MMT of grains off 60.5% of the planned area. The Ag Ministry there are forecasting final production of around 17 MMT this year. Jordan is said to be interested in importing 400-500 TMT of wheat from Pakistan. South Korea's Deahan were said to have bought 51,000 MT of Australian wheat for Feb/Mar shipment in a tender. China said it had imported 343,392 MT of wheat in August along with 778,166 MT of barley. That's an increase of over 870% and 140% respectively compared to the same month in 2014. Jan/Aug wheat imports now stand at over 2 MMT, and barley imports top 7.4 MMT. The USDA said that US winter wheat plantings for the 2016 harvest are 19% done, one point behind the 5-year average. Dec 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.96 3/4, up 10 cents; Dec 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.90 1/2, up 8 1/4 cents; Dec 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.18 1/4, up 7 1/4 cents.

EU Grains Nudge Higher On FSU Dryness Concerns

21/09/15 -- EU grains closed higher to start the week, with Nov 15 London wheat ending up GBP0.55/tonne to GBP111.00/tonne, Dec 15 Paris wheat was EUR3.00/tonne firmer at EUR170.25/tonne, Nov 15 Paris corn was up EUR0.25/tonne to EUR162.00/tonne, whilst Nov 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR4.75/tonne higher at EUR364.25/tonne.

Dryness in southern Russia, the country's leading winter wheat producing area, and Ukraine remain a concern with regards to plantings for the 2016 harvest.

In Russia "rain is needed for a successful sowing campaign of winter wheat" and in Ukraine "regions such as the Vinnitsa and Kiev oblasts have been accumulating an important deficit since May, with less than 50% of the average rainfall from May to mid-September," said the EU Commission's MARS unit.

In Ukraine, the optimum window for planting winter OSR is already passed and almost 40% of the anticipated crop area is still to be sown. Some are now saying that the country's winter rapeseed area could be the smallest in almost a decade.

In Russia winter grain plantings have been complete on 9.5 million ha, or around 55% of the Ag Ministry target.

Sticking with Russia for a minute, the Ag Ministry there say that the 2015 grain harvest is now 77.2% complete on 36.2 million ha, producing a crop of 88.7 MMT to date.

Wheat accounts for 58.3 MMT of that total off 82.6% of the planned area, and barley adds another 16.8 MMT off 82.3% of plan. Wheat yields are averaging 2.62 MT/ha versus 2.87 MT/ha a year ago. Barley yields stand at 2.29 MT/ha versus 2.42 MT/ha a year ago.

In Ukraine the 2015 harvest is 74% done on 10.8 million ha for a crop of 39.3 MMT to date. The wheat and barley harvests there are well over. Corn is 9% complete on 387k ha for a crop of 1.7 MMT to date with yields averaging only 4.4 MT/ha - the USDA sees final yields at well above this level at 6.59 MT/ha.

Ukraine's exports continue at a brisk pace. The country's seaports shipped out over 900 TMT of grains last week, up sharply from 629 TMT the previous week. Wheat accounted for 576 TMT of that total, and barley almost 300 TMT.

Russia's seaports also increased their grain shipments in the past week, although at 535 TMT they still lag those of their neighbour. That was though up from 393 TMT the previous week, and included 465 TMT of wheat.

Back in Europe, MARS nudged their estimate for 2015 EU corn yields up from 6.40 MT/ha to 6.43 MT/ha, although that's still more than 20% down on a year ago. The revision reflected largely an upgrade to 8.90 tonnes per hectare, from 8.63 tonnes per hectare, in the estimate for the corn yield in France, the EU's top producer of the grain, where rains late last month "led to a significant improvement in the conditions of summer crops" in some areas, said Agrimoney.