EU Grains Mostly Firmer For The Day And The Week

11/03/16 -- EU grains closed mixed but mostly firmer on the day and for the week. The pound closed close to 1.44 against the US dollar, it's best level since Feb 19, and was also up versus the euro putting London wheat under a bit of pressure today.

At the finish, front month Mar 16 London wheat was down GBP0.05/tonne at GBP101.30/tonne, May 16 Paris wheat was EUR0.50/tonne firmer at EUR154.75/tonne, Jun 16 corn was up EUR1.75/tonne to EUR153.50/tonne and May 16 rapeseed was EUR5.00/tonne higher at EUR354.75/tonne.

For the week, London wheat gained GBP1.15/tonne, Paris wheat added EUR2.50/tonne, corn was down EUR2.25/tonne and rapeseed jumped EUR4.75/tonne. The Jul 16/Nov 16 old crop/new crop London wheat spread widened still further to close the week at GBP13.40/tonne versus GBP12.85/tonne a week ago.

Cocereal gave us their first 2016 EU crop production estimates, pegging the soft wheat crop here at 145.2 MMT, a 3.5% decline on a year ago.

The EU-28 all barley crop was estimated down 3.6% at 58.9 MMT, and corn production will rise 8% to 63.2 MMT, they predict.

On a UK level, we will harvest 15.0 MMT of wheat this year, some 6.9% less than a year ago, and 2% less barley (7.1 MMT). The UK OSR crop was pegged more than 15% lower at 2.15 MMT incidentally, although the EU-28 crop overall is seen little altered at 21.6 MMT.

Brussels announced 691 TMT worth of EU soft wheat export licences this week - the same volume as last week. However, they also said that Lithuania had previously mis-reported the sale of 300 TMT of wheat as durum, not soft wheat, which means that the cumulative totals to date need a tweak.

The corrected figure for soft wheat is now 19.4 MMT, a 15% fall compared with a year ago.

Barley licences were awarded for 185 TMT, taking the seasonal total to date to 7.46 MMT, a 15% rise versus this time last year.

FranceAgriMer reported French winter wheat crop conditions down a point on a week ago to 93% good to excellent (but still 2 points ahead of this time last year). Winter barley fell 2 points to 91% good/very good (the same as a year ago).

French winter wheat displaying an ear of at least 1cm is 33% versus 21% last week and only 5% this time last year. Winter barley at that stage is 28% (18% a week ago and 3% a year ago). French spring barley plantings are said to be 32% complete versus 14% the previous week and 40% a year ago.

Ukraine said that they'd exported 27.7 MMT of grains so far this season, including 12 MMT of wheat and 11.5 MMT of corn plus a further 4 MMT of barley.

The Ukraine Ag Ministry said that winter-kill issues hadn't been as bad as was first thought, estimating the total grain area lost at 7% - it was double that in January. Still, what has at least partially recovered will still likely only be rated as being in "poor" condition - around a third of all winter sown grains.

The weather forecasts for the fortnight ahead trend drier than normal for the UK and most of western, central and northern Europe. It's wetter than normal in the south - Spain, Italy and into the east. That should enable some good progress to be made with fieldwork in the former areas at least.

It's forecast to be cooler than normal in France and Spain in the week ahead, then normal to warmer than normal the week after that across almost the whole of Europe.