Week Beginning Monday 19th November 2018

  • The January 2019 London LIFFE wheat future has this morning opened unchanged at £169.75/T. This is just £0.25/T lower than the previous week following a rather volatile few days trading last week.
  • The May 2019 London LIFFE wheat future has this morning opened £1.30/T lower at £172.00/T. This is £0.50/T lower than the opening trade the week previous.
  • The November 2019 London LIFFE wheat future has opened £0.60/T lower this morning at £155.50/T. This is £0.25/T higher than the week previous.

It has been an extremely volatile week over the past seven days as the grain market fluctuated in accordance with the strength of sterling. Initially, a suspected Brexit deal followed by a confirmed a “draft Brexit Deal” strengthened the pound, but the political turmoil which followed within parliament subsequently weakened the pound. As a result, both old and new crop values were all over the place last week and securing buyer interest was extremely difficult.

The benchmark £170.00/T ex-farm was offered for February at its best last week and June at its worst; this morning, £170.00/T ex-farm is offered for March collection.

Feed barley is also valued somewhere similar, but buyer demand is weaker in the short term – please speak with the office to discuss your requirements.

Looking ahead, the fluctuation of the pound will either create or sabotage selling opportunities, but the overall uncertainty surrounding the situation will keep the market on its toes – small rallies could represent good value and will certainly be worth consideration.

 

As for new crop values, market sentiment had a bigger part to play here and on the weakening of the pound we were hearing some bold offers within the market, some of which far outweighed the small movements evident on the screen. Currently, £150.00/T ex-farm for September looks like a big offer and should certainly be worth some consideration for those of you who have not yet made a start on marketing next years crop.

 

Elsewhere in Russia, wheat prices slipped-back for the second consecutive week. Exports so far this season stand at 18.2 million tonnes, compared to 13.5 million tonnes at the same point last year. If this weekly export pace continues, Russia will have exported 25 million tonnes by the end of December according to current forecasts – and thus pressure to curb exports even sooner may be needed. In Russia, food price inflation is up sharply, and the domestic feed and milling industries are lobbying hard for a slowdown in wheat exports. Regardless, we are yet to see any formal confirmation of any form of export restriction.

 

Meanwhile, according to the latest HMRC data, UK maize imports reached 544,000 tonnes in the first quarter of the current trading season (July-September 2018). This is the fastest import pace in recent years and it is significantly above the five-year average – between 2013 and 2017, an average of 370,000 tonnes of maize was imported in the first quarter of the season. AHDB have added that these “higher imports are likely a result of increased domestic demand for maize due to it being competitively priced against other domestic feed grains – we are seeing significant inclusions of maize in compound animal feed production”. Currently, imported maize is around £13.00/T less than the average spot ex-farm price for feed wheat. If this trend continues, we could see maize imports continue at a rapid pace, particularly given that feed barley is almost at parity with feed wheat.

 

The OSR market remains underpinned by the political tensions between the US and China despite the movements within crude oil values. Also, the poor estimates for the Australian canola crop may be grabbing the news headlines, but it is doing little to alter the physical market as the trade has anticipated this sort of figures for some time now. Old crop OSR for pre-Christmas collection is currently valued in the early £320.00’s/T whilst new crop is struggling to make £310.00/T ex-farm this morning. Long term, uncertainties surrounding the viability of next season’s crop throughout Europe remain following the dry summer, but the expectantly plentiful South American soybean harvest in the New Year could limit any movement in the short term.

 

SPRING SEED – Varieties are beginning to sell out, particularly spring barley seed. Please confirm requirements with the office as soon as possible.


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