Market Report 16th Feb 2018
US grain markets close firmer, whilst EU markets close largely unchanged on the week, as US/SA weather continue to dominate the focus.
Russian 12.5% protein wheat values firm to circa $200 FOB (up circa 5% since the start of Jan). US/EU wheat continue to struggle to compete.
US corn market continues to appear finely balanced, with strong export/ethanol/feeding demand underpinning prices and large amounts of unsold corn hanging over the trade.
Iraq buys 150tmt hard wheat (Australian/Canadian/US origin).
US funds continue to largely cover in short positions – now estimated -75,900 (CBOT SRW wheat), 15,000 (CBOT corn).
Strategie Grains place EU 2017/18 wheat crop at 141.7mmt, versus 141.8mmt last year.
US weekly corn export sales continue to grow, with 1.974mmt reported (avg. of circa 1.7mmt over the last 5 weeks). Wheat sales of 311tmt in line with market expectations.
ABARES increase Australia’s 2017 wheat crop estimate to 21.2mm, up from 20.3mmt prev.
US Southern Plains weather continues to look dry in the extended forecasts – though some good rains are indicated for the east of the plains. US drought monitor highlights Kansas conditions to be the driest on record for the last 3 months.
Ag Rural report Brazil’s corn harvest to be 15% complete (29% last year). Safrinha corn planting progress seen at 46% complete versus 58% last year (41% the 5 year average).
Buenos Aires Grain exchange suggest 56% of Argentina’s soybean crop and 58% of their corn crop is in poor/very poor condition. Below normal rainfall and above normal temps expected for the next 2 weeks.
Some longer term forecasts indicate freezing conditions for some Black Sea areas. EU growing conditions continue to appear unthreatening.
Weather continues to hold centre stage, with ongoing concerns surrounding US/SA growing conditions prompting US funds to largely cover in short positons.
Global wheat fundamentals continue to be heavy and with US funds positions more balanced now following weeks of short covering, less technical support arguable exists.
However if weather holds dry in the Southern Plains in particular, markets will likely remain well supported. USDA Outlook Conference this Thurs/Fri will be closely observed, with US all-wheat and corn balance sheets due to be released. That aside, US and SA weather should continue to dominate attention.