By FWi staff

UK WHEAT futures fell last week on the back of a weaker French market. And with the end of the season fast approaching, speculation mounts whether the slump seen at this time last year will be repeated.

Spot ex-farm prices have weakened slightly, with milling wheat easing at £84.60/t and feed wheat ranging between £73-£75/t.

Futures values dropped nearly £4 over the week, falling from £80.25/t to just £76.50/t by closing on Friday.

A spokesman from the Home-Grown Cereals Authority said that the French market was not the only factor influencing this fall, and that the overall supply and demand situation in the UK might also be an contributor.

But the market is just creeping back today, noted wheat trader Ian Pinner at Banks Agriculture.

The French market is better this morning, following the announcement that French exports reached 835,000tonnes by the end of April, up 78% on the previous year.

Mr Pinner said that the UK market is technical at present and, although domestic demand is dwindling, there are still buyers for delivery this week.

But farmers wont sell now, he said. “And whether theres much to sell or not is still being much debated,” he added.

Trader, Gary Sharkey of BDR Agriculture believes that the lower prices seen last week can be put down purely to the weaker French market.

Many buyers who bought over the last couple of weeks have now covered themselves, he said. “And although the market is up 50p this morning, it will not affect the physical market,” he added.

The current MAFF supply and demand estimates suggest that there could be about 400,000 tonnes of wheat above domestic prices.

If this is the case then prices will have to fall a further £4-£5/t in order to export, said Mr Sharkey.

He advises farmers that they should be selling because the market is more likely to go down than up.

“The June value of £76/t is £8/t off the bottom this year when feed wheat was at £67/t in January. And with November values at £73/t ex-farm, it would be better to sell now,” said Mr Sharkey.”