Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Frontrunner - 16th April 2021

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Wheat markets continued to rise this week, reacting to increasing concerns for wheat crops as dry and very cold weather persists in Western Europe and parts of the US. The latest US drought monitor maps show an increasing area of extreme drought now impacting on over three-quarters of major spring wheat state, North Dakota. However, spring wheat drilling in the state achieved 8% completion by 11th April compared to the 2% average for this time of year. Nationally, spring drilling is 11% complete compared to the 6% average.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is ready by marketing assistant, Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 9th April 2021

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European wheat markets dropped to their lowest so far this year following the Easter break. A lack of fresh demand and generally favourable Northern Hemisphere winter wheat conditions were highlighted as the reasons for the continued downward trend which has been in place since early March. However, US wheat futures rallied sharply on Thursday, taking Paris and London wheat futures higher too. Increasing concerns for dry soil conditions ahead of spring wheat drilling in the north of the US and Canada has been the catalyst for change in market sentiment.

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Frontrunner - 1st April 2021

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On Wednesday 31ST March, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its quarterly US stocks and acreage report. It contained bullish data for corn that triggered a sharp price rally for Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures, sending them to new contract highs; the highest level seen since 2013. Despite the report having bearish wheat data, wheat futures followed corn futures higher, ending the recent slide in prices that had dropped to a three-month low prior to the report.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Frontrunner - 26th March 2021

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World wheat markets have fallen again this week and have now effectively lost all the price gains they made in 2021. London wheat futures fell to their lowest level since the 17th December. In January, fears that Russia would close the door on wheat exports saw Black Sea export prices soar to £300/t free on board (FOB), before including freight costs. Buyers are now harder to find and traders' offers were reported to have fallen to $250/t searching for demand. Prices have fallen sharply despite strong exports to date for the world's major producers. Weekly wheat export sales for the US were 344,000 tonnes, taking the season's total sold to almost 93% of the surplus estimated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is just ahead of average at this time of year.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 19th March 2021

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World wheat markets have slipped 2-3% lower this week following better than expected wheat crop estimates from analysts for many of the world's primary wheat exporters: the US, Russia, Ukraine, and the EU.

Much of the US wheat belt has stayed dry for several months but recent snow and rain has proved beneficial. Weekly crop ratings were 'good' to 'excellent' for both Oklahoma and Kansas which were up four points to 57% and two points to 38% respectively. More rain is due with significant storms forecast to arrive.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week's report is read by farm trader, Lottie Bauer.

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Frontrunner - 12th March 2021

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Earlier this week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. Speculative traders holding significant long positions in US grain futures were hoping for a helping hand to support their bullish view but were left disappointed.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by farm trader, Ollie Wilson.

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Frontrunner - 5th March 2021

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World wheat markets have slipped this week. A lack of fresh bullish features has led to spells of profit taking from speculative buyers who still carry significant long positions in grain futures markets. US weekly wheat export shipments and sales were particularly disappointing. However, the weekly export pace from the EU was far more encouraging. Wheat shipments for last week were one million tonnes, taking the total now shipped to over 17.5 million tonnes.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Frontrunner - 26th February 2021

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The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) updated estimates for the current season's UK wheat balance sheet this week, highlighting a huge two-million-tonne cut in domestic wheat consumption. Demand in the human and industrial sectors is now seen at 6.438 million tonnes; almost half a million tonnes lower than last season.

This is primarily due to loss of demand for biofuel and starch following the closure of the Roquette plant in Corby in December. Miller demand is also lower as a result of the impact of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns. 

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week's report is read by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 19th February 2021

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A period of extreme cold has affected the primary US winter wheat producing states in recent days. Temperatures nearing record lows of between -15-20°c have been recorded as far south as Texas and concerns that wheat crops will be subject to winter kill has triggered volatile trading in Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures. Prices rallied to their highest since the end of January as the chief meteorologist of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggested crops in Texas and Oklahoma had been lost to the severe cold.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Nigel Dring.

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Frontrunner - 12th February 2021

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report on Tuesday this week, which many traders expected to present a very bullish picture for world grains, particularly corn.

Last week's record US corn sales to China coupled with adverse South American weather over the past month, which has impacted on corn production prospects for Argentina and Brazil, encouraged further buying. Prior to the publication of the WASDE report, these circumstances had taken US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures to new contract highs; the highest for 7.5 years.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by marketing assistant, Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 5th February 2021

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Last week's Frontrunner reported China making significant purchases of US corn. China bought over six million tonnes, which helped take total US weekly corn export sales to 7.44 million tonnes for the period up to the 28th January. This is a record high, doubling the previous weekly high set back in 2012.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that US 2020-21 exports will reach 64.77 million tonnes, which will leave US ending stocks nine million tonnes down on the year at 39.42 million tonnes.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Ollie WIlson.

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Frontrunner - 29th January 2021

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Early this week, world wheat futures markets continued to be pressured by speculative long holder selling. Losses extending from the contract highs reached last week have resulted in futures markets losing almost all the price gains they had made since the start of January. Losses for London wheat futures were almost £15/t. However, further political intervention that will disrupt grain flows partnered with soaring Chinese import demand helped generate a rally from the lows. This highlighted how market price volatility may be expected to continue.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Frontrunner - 22nd January 2021

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US wheat futures peaked last Friday, ending the 30% price rally that began last August. Futures markets had become technically overbought and were due a correction. US markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday but Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures subsequently posted four consecutive days of losses. London wheat futures peaked on Monday, setting a contract high price that hasn't been seen since January 2013 before following US markets lower during the week.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Lottie Bauer.

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Frontrunner - 15th January 2021

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Few World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) reports from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) trigger a market reaction such as the reaction triggered by the report released earlier this week. A report with such futures volatility following a period of prolonged market price gains hasn't been seen since 2012/13.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by key account manager, Zoe Andrew.

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Frontrunner - 8th January 2021

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World grain markets have started the new year with sharp gains, led higher by US soybean and corn futures. Prolonged dry weather and a rainfall deficit for developing corn and soybean crops across both Argentina and Brazil are raising concerns that yields will be adversely affected amidst strengthening export demand, particularly from China. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn and wheat futures rallied to highs this week not seen since 2014 as speculative funds continued to buy and established record-long positions. Price gains for corn futures have reached 50% since the summer.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by marketing assistant, Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 18th December 2020

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Russia, the world's leading wheat exporter, officially confirmed it would introduce a €25/t export tax in the new year. The tax will be applied to its 17.5-million-tonne export quota, which begins on the 15th February and runs to the 30th June 2021. Traders are unlikely to exceed the quota in light of the news that tonnage which surpasses this figure will be taxed at 50% of the sales value.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by marketing assistant, Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 11th December 2020

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World wheat markets posted sharp gains this week, recovering much of the losses they had made since the end of last month. The primary driver for these positive moves was news that Russia may introduce additional measures to control wheat exports. Russia has previously established a quota of 17.5 million tonnes to limit wheat exports between February and June 2021, but so far this has proved to have little impact on its domestic market prices.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Frontrunner - 4th December 2020

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US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures continued to fall this week and by close of business on Thursday were 10% below the 4-year highs they peaked at in October. The increasing size of the Australian, Canadian and Indian wheat crops as well as a proposed increase in Russian export quota combine to signal ample wheat supplies and a bearish feel to markets.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by farm trader, Lottie Bauer.

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Frontrunner - 27th November 2020

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In a trading week that was shorter than usual due to Thanksgiving, there has been little fresh wheat news. Instead, markets have been buoyed by China's continued purchasing of US corn. With another 200,000 tonnes purchased last week, the market continues to predict China's overall demand. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated it will reach 7.2 million tonnes while other private analysts are estimating that China will tender up to 30 million tones of US corn.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by Faye Lee.

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Frontrunner - 20th November 2020

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World wheat markets stalled this week with a lack of any fresh bullish features to drive them higher again. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures drifted as their winter wheat crop rating made modest improvements following recent rains. 46% of the crop is rated 'good' to 'excellent' and is up one point on the week. This is still well behind this time last year when 52% of the crop received this rating.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report this week is read by farm trader, Ollie Wilson.

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