Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

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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Frontrunner - 13th November 2020

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World wheat markets rallied this week following the publication of the November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday afternoon. There were few changes to the world wheat estimates from last month's report.

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

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Frontrunner - 6th November 2020

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Earlier this week, wheat markets eased lower following concerns that the increasing impact of Covid-19 will lead to cuts in global demand for grains, particularly from the fuel sector. Wheat price gains made in the second half of October were all but lost. However, on Thursday, the US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean market jumped to $11 per bushel, a four-year high, which pulled world wheat prices higher with it.

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

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Frontrunner - 30th October 2020

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World wheat markets have made impressive gains in price since harvest, highlighted by US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures which, by the end of last week, had gained over 25% in value. This is impressive as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates a record world wheat crop of 733 million tonnes - up nine million tonnes on last year. Furthermore, USDA estimates see stocks rising by 22 million tonnes on the year to 321 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 - 23rd October 2020

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Earlier this week the world's futures markets continued to rise, extending their bull run that began back in August. US Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures were close to a six-year high whilst Paris and London wheat futures each set new contract highs. Prolonged dry weather has been an increasing concern for wheat crops in Argentina, the US and Russia, and has latterly been the primary price driver. Each of these countries has received some rain, which is a benefit for some regions but mostly deemed insufficient, particularly for Russia where the forecast remains dry.

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 - 16th October 2020

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There has been little fresh news for markets this week, although on Thursday world futures markets posted significant rallies with many hitting new contract highs. Speculative funds were again assertive buyers of Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat and corn contracts as they continue to build significant long positions. Their stake in the markets is similar to those they held back in 2010 and 2012 when adverse weather severely cut wheat and corn output for many of the world's primary producers.

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

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Frontrunner - 9th October 2020

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The world's wheat futures markets rallied to new highs this week as prolonged dry weather conditions threatened wheat crops for some of the world's leading producers. Speculative funds were increasingly active buyers and took Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat prices to their highest level for five years. Wheat crops in Argentina and the US are suffering from a lack of rain, but it is dry soils extending across most of Russia that is raising the greatest concern. Russian farmers have planted over 70% of their winter wheat but ongoing dry conditions and warm temperatures could see newly planted seed fail to germinate...

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

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Frontrunner - 2nd October 2020

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Late on Wednesday afternoon this week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its quarterly US grains Productions and Stocks Report and final 2020 US wheat production estimates. This is a quarterly report which often passes without much attention. Yet, the results of this report triggered a significant price rally for the world's grain and oilseeds markets. Supportive data was perhaps expected but not to the extent revealed.

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 - 25th September 2020

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Early this week, world wheat markets eased from their recent highs, with futures seeing some technical corrections. However, on Thursday, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) published the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) data; the content of which sent London wheat futures back to their contract highs. The BPS data suggests the UK wheat area for the 2019 harvest could be 3% smaller than the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) June survey stated.

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 - 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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