Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Frontrunner - 18th September 2020

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Late last Friday afternoon, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. It increased wheat production estimates for Australia, Canada and the EU, adding 4.5 million tonnes to world output, bringing the total prediction to 770.49 million tonnes and increasing season end stocks to 319.37 million tonnes. This is up almost 20 million tonnes on the year.

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

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Frontrunner - 11th September 2020

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Brexit discussions between the UK government and EU negotiators ran aground this week. The prospects for the UK leaving the EU without a deal became increasingly likely and concerns this will be damaging for the UK economy triggered a sterling sell-off in foreign exchange markets. By close of play on Thursday, sterling had fallen during the week by more than 3% versus the euro to its lowest level since March. London wheat futures rallied £8/t with buyers also concerned that a 'no deal' Brexit could lead to tariffs on EU wheat of up to £78/t. This presents a very challenging prospect for UK millers.

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

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Frontrunner - 4th September 2020

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US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures rallied to a five-month high earlier this week. Since early August, CBOT wheat futures have risen in value by an impressive 12%; impressive, because many regard the world wheat market as bearish. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sees world wheat stocks rising by 16mt this season to a record 317mt. This prediction follows significant production increases for Russia and Canada and predicted increases for Australia.

In contrast, recent Chinese buying of US wheat, corn and soybeans has lead to a wave of fund short covering, pushing US wheat futures higher. US wheat and corn sales this week were at the top end of traders' expectations, with approximately 600,000t and 2.6mt sold respectively.

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 - 28th August 2020

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London and Paris wheat futures rallied this week, reaching five-week highs and following US wheat futures from the Chicago Board of Trade which gained 10% in value during August. The US market gains are due to increasing demand for both wheat and corn. US wheat export sales announced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday were at 740,000 tonnes – this is up on trader estimates which ranged between 400,000 and 700,000 tonnes.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week, the report is read by national grain origination manager, Andrew Hill. 

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Frontrunner - 21st August 2020

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One of the major bearish influences for the world wheat market is the increasing production prospects for the Russian wheat harvest. In any normal season, the best yields are seen in the south where harvest begins, and the yields fall as the harvest progresses northwards through the country. This year, however, southern Russia endured prolonged drought and heat, leaving early yields 27% down on the year and raising concerns for overall production. However, in contrast to other seasons, yields continued to improve throughout the harvest.

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

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Frontrunner - 14th August 2020

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Speculative selling on wheat futures markets continued this week and saw values from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) drop to a six-week low. The increasing size of the Russian wheat crop seemed sufficient to encourage sellers, as analysts published new estimates surpassing 80 million tonnes. Average yields are running above last year and, with a larger wheat area drilled, it seems likely that Russia will produce its second largest wheat crop on record. However, there is still time for the average yield to fall as some of the worst drought-affected spring wheat areas are yet to be combined.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. The report is read this week by barley trader, Westly Garner.

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Frontrunner - 7th August 2020

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US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures lost 5% of their value this week as traders reacted to increases in crop estimates for some of the world's major wheat producers. Improving Russian prospects were highlighted as a primary driver for the move. The Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) raised its estimate to 79.5 million tonnes from 78 million tonnes as the Russian wheat harvest reached 46% completion and average yields surpassed last year, up to 3.66t/ha from 3.62t/ha.

49.7 million tonnes have been combined compared to 46.7 million tonnes at the same time last year. Additional selling pressure came from news that Canadian farmers could harvest a record wheat crop this season.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report. This week the report is read by farm trader, Luke Cox.

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Frontrunner - 31st July 2020

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Last Friday, global markets saw a considerable lift following reports of significant export sales to China from the US for corn and soybeans. On Monday, however, this lift was wiped out on the back of increased Russian wheat crop estimates and less than expected US wheat shipments. The Institute of Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) increased its Russian wheat production estimate to 78 million tonnes. This is up from 76.5 million tonnes previously and comes as a result of the higher yields being seen in the Black Earth region, which are moving the average closer to that of last year due to the increased area drilled.

You can also listen to the Frontrunner podcast - press play to hear the latest report.

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Frontrunner - 24th July 2020

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Early UK wheat harvest results suggest huge variability in terms of yield and quality, with wide-ranging proteins grabbing the headlines thus far and testing generally lower than at this stage last year. The Hagberg falling numbers and specific weights reported also reflect a less-than-ideal growing season and, with a mixed short-term weather forecast, this may continue to be the case. Elsewhere, FranceAgriMer estimates 57% of soft wheat to be in 'good' to 'excellent' condition. This is a 2% improvement on last week, bringing the harvest to 71% completion.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on Acast. This week's report is read by farm trader, Ollie Wilson.

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Frontrunner - 17th July 2020

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This week has seen volatile trading on US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures caused by rumours of US wheat sales to China along with further cuts to wheat crop estimates for some of the major producers.

CBOT wheat futures hit contract lows ahead of the Stocks and Acreage Report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which was published on the 30th June. However, an unexpected cut of 600,000 acres in the planted wheat area, and therefore the lowest US wheat area since records began, triggered a positive turn for the market.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

This week's report is read by farm trader, Lottie Bauer.

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Frontrunner - 10th July 2020

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Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures prices rallied by more than 6% this week as speculative funds bought heavily, covering large parts of their short positions. This surge in buying was triggered by reports of poor early harvest wheat yields in France and the Black Sea region. Buying was also triggered by a string of revised wheat crop production estimates that has seen output lowered for some of the world's primary wheat exporters.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

This week, the report is read by farm trader, Sophie Cath.

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Frontrunner - 3rd July 2020

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) surprised markets at the end of March 2020 when it published its US quarterly stocks and acreage report. It estimated that US farmers would significantly expand their corn planted area. The estimate predicted the planted corn area would be 7.3 million acres greater than last year, when prolonged rainfall kept farmers out of the fields.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud. 

This week, the report is read by Group Commercial Strategy Director, Andrew Flux.

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Frontrunner - 26th June 2020

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Wheat markets continued to fall this week, continuing the trend that coincided with the beginning of June. Improving production prospects for US wheat and corn crops are the main cause for this negativity as Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures fell to within a cent of contract lows set early last September. US CBOT corn futures slipped almost 6% lower during the week.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

This week, the report is read by farm trader, Ron Burnside.

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Frontrunner - 19th June 2020

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Improving US harvest prospects saw Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures come under increasing pressure this week, losing almost 4% of their value and falling to levels not seen since early September last year. The US wheat harvest is advancing rapidly, with 15% completed according to the most recent crop progress report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which was published on Monday evening. This figure compares to 7% at this time last year...

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

The report is read this week by farm trader, Luke Cox.

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Frontrunner - 12th June 2020

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Beneficial rain across most of Europe, as well as improving wheat and corn production prospects in the US, weighed on wheat markets early this week. Expectations for a bumper US corn crop in the 2020/21 season grew higher as US farmers advanced their planting to 97% completion. This is ahead of the five-year average of 94% and would suggest that drilling the increased 7.3 million acres projected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is highly likely...

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

The report is read this week by Commercial Manager, Richard Johnston.

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Frontrunner - 5th June 2020

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Rain arriving in the UK, northern Europe and Black Sea countries has been viewed as beneficial for the drought-stricken wheat crops in these regions, triggering a wave of selling on wheat futures markets earlier this week.

UK prices suffered particularly, losing as much as 40% of the gains they made during May. Values were not helped by the 1% gain of sterling against the euro. However, there was a notable turnaround on Thursday, led by wheat futures from the US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), which rallied to a six-week high... 

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

This week's report is read by Barley Trader, Westly Garner.

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Market report - 4th June 2020

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Cooler, wetter weather in the UK has brought some welcome relief to crops which, as a result, has brought out a few sellers. However, the UK will still need to import substantial quantities of rapeseed into the UK next season.

For 2019, rapeseed markets were mainly supply driven but, since the Covid-19 crisis, we've seen the collapse in demand for mineral oils and rapeseed oil as a result of the lockdowns imposed on industries that would ordinarily need these products. Typically, in the EU, 60% of the demand for rapeseed oil goes into biofuels, with the rest into the food service industry.

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Frontrunner - 29th May 2020

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Damaging heat and prolonged dry weather coupled with a fall in the value of sterling versus the euro have driven wheat prices higher again this week. Since the beginning of May, London 2020 wheat futures have gained almost £15/t. This is a particularly impressive performance when compared to French wheat futures, which, over the same period, have increased by little more than €3. Unfortunately, not all farmers will benefit from this. The prolonged wet drilling conditions throughout the autumn and winter period prevented planting in vast areas of the country and will result in the smallest UK wheat crop since the 1970s.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

Read this week by Farm Trader, Luke Cox.

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Frontrunner - 22nd May 2020

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World wheat markets had a poor start to the week as traders digested the bearish United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Supply and Demand report published last Tuesday. The report signalled ample grain supplies for the coming season and US wheat futures fell to lows not seen since last September. However, prolonged dry weather is adversely affecting the wheat production prospects for some of the primary producers across the Northern Hemisphere and leading officials and analysts to lower their crop estimates. This triggered a wave of buying mid-week and wheat futures rallied sharply.

You can also listen to Frontrunner - press play to hear the latest report on SoundCloud.

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Frontrunner - 15th May 2020

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This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its World Supply and Demand Estimates for May, which included its first look at the 2020/21 season. An increase in supply exceeding demand is anticipated, which will lead to increased year-end stocks for both wheat and corn. 

Corn production in the US - the world's largest producer - is predicted to jump significantly. By the end of last week, US farmers had drilled over two-thirds of the planned corn area. The area planted is expected to increase by over seven million acres on last year and yields should increase by over 6%.

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