Grain markets stay firm on mixed news

UK grain markets remain firm despite conflicting global sentiment, with spot demand pushing London feed wheat futures up to £172/t for March on Wednesday (21 March).

Market analyst Offre & Demande Agricole warned earlier in the week that damage to winter crops across Europe may be higher than previously thought, potentially leading to the loss of between 5m and 6m tonnes of grain production from the forthcoming harvest.

Global values improved last week amid reports of additional corn purchases by China and ongoing concerns over crops in South America. However, a mixture of profit taking, forecast rain and worries about the economic slowdown eroded confidence earlier this week, leaving ex-farm values up by just £2/t, at £170/t, depending on location.

“Temperatures are at record highs this year in the USA, especially in Illinois,” said a report by analyst Agritel. “Corn plantings might start early which could lead to a bumper crop, weather conditions allowing.” Rain across the Mid-West would help wheat crops, it added.

“Record wheat stocks and the potential of another 675-680m tonne global crop don’t bode well for prices,” added Jonathan Lane, trading manager at Gleadell Agriculture. “However, crops are not yet made and there will be many weather scares between now and harvest.”

Oilseed rape markets ended the week to Wednesday down by £1.50/t, at about £370/t ex-farm.

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