By FWi staff
BARLEY spot prices firmed this morning (23 December), but traders reported very slow business. Ex-farm feed samples are currently selling for about £72/ t, reflecting a slight weakening of Sterling to DM2.96.
Futures are also quiet. January deliveries have eased slightly to £74.20/ t and few farmers are interested in securing contracts. March contracts remain unchanged at £77.20/ t.
The seasonal slump in sales is being exacerbated by the EU Commissions continued reluctance to grant export licences for any significant quantity of barley, say merchants.
EU carry-over stocks could increase by up to 4 million tonnes unless Saudi Arabia places a big order soon, claim some industry insiders.
In the meantime, offers to intervention continue to climb. Submissions have now reached almost 120,000 tonnes, but are expected to remain at that level until after the Christmas period, say Intervention Board officials.
Government grain stores are likely to remain everyones favourite destination for barley once trade gets going again in January. But farmers could face “some delays in deliveries unless the board gets their finger out,” according to a PBI Cambridge grain report.