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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 - 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 - 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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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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