London Wheat Premiums Out Of Sync With Rest Of Market

11/11/16 -- EU grains closed mixed on the day, and with very little change one way or the other for the week.

At the finish Nov 16 London wheat was GBP0.50/tonne higher at GBP137.50/tonne, Dec 16 Paris wheat was unchanged at EUR161.50/tonne, Nov 16 Paris corn ended EUR0.25/tonne firmer at EUR162.50/tonne and Feb 17 Paris rapeseed closed EUR0.75/tonne lower at EUR392.25/tonne.

For the week that means London wheat settles GBP0.60/tonne easier, with Paris wheat down a quarter of a euro, corn down EUR0.75/tonne and rapeseed up EUR1.50/tonne.

Sterling closed the week strongly, finishing at it's best levels against the US dollar in more than a month. This wasn't all down to the shock Trump US election victory, the pound closed above 1.16 versus the euro tonight for the first time since late September. There's a growing feeling in the currency markets that sterling's downside has been overdone lately, and that interest rates here will be forced higher in the New Year once Trump begins to implement some of his controversial policies across the pond.

That's potentially bad news for London wheat, which has ridden on the coat-tails of the weak pound to the highest levels since for a front month late June 2014 this week.

The deferred positions haven't seen the same levels of joy. Nov 17 closed at a GBP1.55/tonne discount to Nov 16 tonight. A month ago it was a GBP5.50/tonne premium, and two months ago one of GBP7.95/tonne. Note that this is in a market where Dec 17 Paris wheat is still paying EUR13.50/tonne (8.4%) more than Dec 16, and Dec 17 Chicago wheat is offering 21% more based on tonight's close. Discuss!

In other news, Egypt's GASC bought just the one cargo of Russian wheat in their latest tender. They didn't have a lot to chose from, only picking up three offers. Whether this was down to the difficult delivery time frame requested (Dec 15-25), or other reasons is unclear.

What is clear is that the price paid, USD192.50/tonne C&F, was substantially higher than levels of under USD190/tonne paid for Russian wheat earlier in the week.

Tunisia are also in the market tendering for wheat for Dec/Jan shipment.

Rusagrotrans lowered their forecast for Russia's grain exports in November from 4 MMT to 3.1 MMT. They also clipped back full season projections from 37.0 MMT to 35.4 MMT, of which wheat will consist of 27 MMT (down from 28 MMT previously). Barley export hopes were trimmed from 4.3 MMT to only 2.5 MMT, although those for corn were raised to 5.3 MMT.

The reasons given for the reductions were adverse weather conditions and a shortage of high quality wheat and barley this year.