The overall trend still looks down, although there are maybe still just enough
concerns around surrounding Black Sea production potential to stop the market
sliding too much further just yet. The high close of the year for a front month
London wheat was GBP215/tonne on Jan 15, so we have fallen around 17% since
then based on tonight's close.
The plight of the alarming decline of old crop values relative to new crop
in the UK was partially explained by the HGCA today revising their 2012/13 marketing
year wheat import estimate up by 275 TMT from their March forecast to 2.537
TMT, a year-on-year increase of 179%. They pegged exports this season at 800
TMT, a drop of more than two thirds on 2011/12. That takes carryout at the end
of this season to a surprisingly ample 1.935 MMT, which is 29% more than at
the end of 2011/12 despite last year's production disaster.
Those figures included a downwards revision for Human and Industrial wheat
usage of 279 TMT versus March due to the closure of Ensus. Some would argue
that given the problems at Vivergo too final H&I usage will need to be reduced
further. In addition, imports could ultimately turn out to be higher than 2.537
MMT, taking ending stocks over the 2 MMT mark. UK corn imports in 2012/13 meanwhile
were estimated at 1.4 MMT, up 41% on year ago levels.
Strategie Grains trimmed slightly their EU-28 soft wheat production estimate
from 131.1 MMT to 130.9 MMT, forecasting a durum wheat crop of 8.0 MMT. That
gives us an EU-28 all wheat crop of 138.9 MMT this year, a 5% increase on last
year. Corn production was also scaled back a little from 66.5 MMT to 66.4 MMT,
although this is still up 15% versus 2012. Barley output was raised from 54.2
MMT to 55.3 MMT, principally due to increased plantings in France, Germany and
Grain production in the Black Sea countries probably holds the key to where
prices go from here. Lanworth yesterday estimated Russia's wheat crop at 50.8
MMT, Ukraine's at 20.3 MMT and Kazakhstan's at 17.4 MMT. The first two being
towards the low end of other trade estimates. Even so that gives the three a
combined wheat crop of 88.5 MMT, a 47% increase on last year.
Ukraine's APK Inform Agency estimated the 2013 grain crop there at 53.3 MMT,
and exports in 2013/14 at 29.1 MMT. Output in 2012 was 42.1 MMT and exports
this season are likely to finish up around 24.5 MMT, so we are looking at potential
increases of 27% and 19% respectively there.
Russian analysts ProZerno are forecasting a Russian grain crop of 97 MMT this
year (the Russian Grain Union expanded their estimate to 90-100 TMT earlier
this week), which would be a 35% increase on last year. Of that they estimate
the wheat crop at 57.3 MMT (up 52% year-on-year), with the barley crop at 16.5
MMT (up 18%) and corn production at 8.5 MMT (up 4%). They see Russia's 2013/14
wheat exports rising from 10.7 MMT this season to 17 MMT in 2013/14, a 59% increase.
If the Black Sea region does end up with production and export volumes of this
kind of magnitude then they are likely to depress the market further once the
harvest begins, and confidence in the validity of these sort of numbers increases.
They are almost always aggressive early season sellers, even when they haven't
got large crops to market. When they have, they can be cut-throat.
In other news, Algeria bought 400 TMT of optional origin milling wheat for
August shipment in a tender to buy 50 TMT. Some are saying that France will
most likely end up as the country of origin, just because they usually are Algeria's
top supplier, others think that Black Sea wheat may figure.
Grain exports from the French port of Rouen slipped to 81 TMT this week, including
75 TMT of soft wheat.