Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Frontrunner - 6th December 2019

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US wheat futures from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) put on an impressive performance at the end of last week. Last Friday, they jumped the equivalent of £5 per tonne and saw overall gains of 10% since mid November. The sharp move was allegedly brought about by Southern Hemisphere crop problems – particularly comments from Argentina suggesting that the main wheat production areas would see 37% yield losses. 

However, these gains were not sustainable. US wheat quickly became uncompetitive in the global export market and CBOT futures have now all but lost last week's gains.  

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Market report - 4th December 2019

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 Despite a lack of fresh dynamic market drivers, US wheat futures have seen volatile trade over the past three trading days following their Thanksgiving break last Thursday. On Friday they rallied 20 cents per bushel – equivalent to over £5 per tonne – which raised overall gains to more than 10% since mid November. This was supposedly triggered by cuts to yields in the primary wheat production areas of Argentina.

However, yesterday all of the gains made on Friday were lost as it became apparent that US wheat is too expensive to capture any substantial share of the current export opportunities.

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Frontrunner - 29th November 2019

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This week French wheat futures rallied to highs not seen since mid July. The strong EU export pace continued to progress and has now reached 10.77 million tonnes – 3.7 million tonnes ahead of last year. 

Slow farmer selling and ongoing wet weather conditions which are delaying the French corn harvest and winter wheat planting are both contributing factors to the rise in wheat prices. However, the French are still enjoying more favourable planting conditions than we are in the UK. By 25th November, wheat drilling in France had advanced 6 points during the week to 80% complete, but the crop condition fell 3 points during the week to 75% rated 'good' to 'excellent'.  

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Market report - 27th November 2019

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America's benchmark CBOT traded almost 16 cents firmer on Monday, mainly due to short covering ahead of this week's Thanksgiving holiday. There was also some spill over support from the EU where news of delayed drilling continues to filter through. The US corn harvest is now 84% complete with more heavy snow forecast for the long weekend. 

Despite this, a common theme continues to burden US wheat and corn prices in a distinct lack of price competitiveness on the global market. For wheat, Europe and the Black Sea continue to mop up the bulk of demand while for corn, cheaper cargoes from South America and Ukraine are the main competition. 

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Frontrunner - 22nd November 2019

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Official figures from France illustrate the issues that the current weather pattern is having on 2020 harvest potential in the west of Europe. In its weekly update on Friday, FranceAgriMer advised that French farmers had only advanced their winter wheat planting by 3% to 74% complete, compared to 97% this time last year. Additionally, there was a sharp drop in the crop ratings, with 78% seen as 'good' or 'excellent' which is down 6 points on the week and 4 points on last year.

The UK enjoyed a few dry days earlier this week, allowing land work to resume in some areas. Winter wheat drilling has progressed where conditions have allowed, whilst vast areas of the worst rain-affected counties have remained sodden. 

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Spring crop switch? Seeking information now will increase options

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We've experienced a quite extraordinary start to the cropping year and as I look at news reports showing land under water I can only imagine the extent of the challenges being faced by some farmers. By now, in England, most would have hoped to finish drilling never mind not even started in some cases.

Understandably and economically getting a winter cereal crop is still the goal right up to February, depending on the variety, for those who can. However, for some that ship has already sailed and a new 'Plan B' will be the reality. For many, even those not so dramatically affected, some change of cropped area is underway with a shift towards spring crops inevitable. 

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Market report - 21st November 2019

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North Africa remained an active buyer, with Tunisia buying 75,000 tonnes earlier this week and Algeria – traditionally supplied by France – holding a tender for January delivery.

The latest data puts EU wheat exports more than 50% ahead of this time last year with over 10 million tonnes shipped, although this is seen as an underestimate. However, this pace will need to be maintained to keep markets buoyant. Analysts, Stratégie Grains estimate EU-28 wheat exports at 28.8 million tonnes – 8 million tonnes higher than last year. 

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Frontrunner - 15th November 2019

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Russian wheat exporters regained their competitive edge this week, securing significant sales to Egypt for delivery early January. Egypt bought 465,000 tonnes at just over $232 per tonne including freight and, although the two cheapest cargoes were from Ukraine, all the remaining 345,000 tonnes were of Russian origin. 

Russia was clearly determined to maintain their status as the leading supplier to Egypt, after having lost out to France in the previous week's tender.

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Frontrunner - 8th November 2019

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Concern over new crop wheat planting has driven prices this week. With an estimated winter wheat planted area of just 50%, compared to 95% this time last year, new crop wheat values moved up £7/mt.

Old crop wheat values have followed the new crop as farm selling remains light and domestic consumers still need plenty of cover for the balance of the crop year. 

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Frontrunner - 1st November 2019

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Brexit uncertainty and winter drilling delays in the UK continue to add volatility to wheat markets. Last weekend's Brexit extension significantly widened the window for tariff-free exports to the EU, which was seen by some as a bullish flag. 

In addition to this, the persistent deluge of rainfall continues to delay the drilling campaign with progress varying from one location and land-type to the next, so farmer selling of 2019 and 2020 crop has naturally slowed. As a result, London futures traded to £148.55 midweek which, along with new crop futures, was their highest level since mid-August.  

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Market report - 31st October 2019

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Fast export pace maintained across EU Since their low point at the end of August, the world's wheat markets continued to move higher this week. This increase in prices was illustrated by the purchases Egypt made on Tuesday in their latest tender for shipment during the first half of November. Egypt bought 235,000 tonnes at an average of over $235/t...
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Frontrunner - 25th October 2019

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WHEAT Markets treading water Wheat markets have moved sideways this week, lacking any fresh news. They are supported by the strong EU and Black Sea export pace, as well as mixed fortunes for winter drilling. By the end of last week, this season's EU wheat exports had exceeded 8 million tonnes, compared to 5.7 million tonnes this time last year...
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Market report - 24th October 2019

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Australian drought continues while China offers US soy quota As Australia nears harvest, its market hit seven-week lows yesterday but there is zero export potential at this stage. On Friday, the National Australia Bank reported that the wheat crop could be capped at 15.5 million tonnes due to extreme dryness. US markets fell slightly as the EU and ...
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Do you have a phosphorus problem?

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In the UK, we don't have a domestic supply of artificial phosphorous fertiliser and so are therefore reliant on imported sources of nutrient phosphorus. Part of this means that we often experience some volatility in pricing, usually influenced by fluctuations in currency, available volume, country of origin and – more recently – political developme...
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Frontrunner - 18th October 2019

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WHEAT Adverse weather supports UK prices The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) published their first provisional UK wheat supply and demand estimates for the 2019/20 season this week. The balance sheet contains the first production estimate from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affair (DEFRA) – 16.283 million ton...
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Frontrunner - 11th October 2019

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WHEAT USDA dampens grain markets The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published their October world supply and demand estimates on Thursday. Trader focus was on an expected cut in US corn yields given the delayed planting, plant maturity and harvest progress. However, the USDA actually increased yield albeit marginally on the previous...
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Frontrunner - 4th October 2019

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WHEAT Exports This week, UK wheat markets have continued to focus on export trade flows in the south and east coast ports, with the north and west seeing limited fresh consumer demand. The port pull remains strong, with lorry freight significantly under pressure as vessels continue to arrive for wheat (and barley) ahead of the potential Brext deadl...
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Frontrunner - 27th September 2019

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WHEAT Wheat prices continue to rise Demand for wheat supplies to UK ports saw prices rally to a near six-week high on Friday. This performance was matched by French wheat futures which were reacting to the fast EU export pace and a continued flow of tenders held by the world's major importers. Helped by continued euro weakness which hit a 28-month ...
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Frontrunner - 20th September 2019

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WHEAT Big crops get bigger? There is an old saying that 'big crops get bigger' and it seems that it is true. This week well respected analyst, Strategie Grains' September report increased the size of the 2019 EU-28 wheat crop again to 144.5 million tonnes. This is 1.6 million tonnes up on the estimate they made last month and a hefty 17.6 million t...
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Frontrunner - 13th September 2019

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WHEAT Latest USDA World Supply and Demand Report review The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published their September World Supply and Demand estimates on Thursday; it came with minor changes from the previous report and therefore no surprises. There were small cuts in world production for both wheat and corn, but increases in carry-...
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