Tight supply keeps UK wheat price firm

Tight UK supplies and weak sterling are keeping domestic wheat prices steady despite more-than-ample global supply.

The cash market went against the futures trend this week, rising by about £1/t, putting spot ex-farm feed wheat values at £141-£144/t ex-farm in most regions on Friday (17 March).

At either end of the price scale were Kent and East Sussex at £137/t ex-farm and Yorkshire, where prices were up to £150/t ex-farm.  

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On wider markets, there have been some big sales to Egypt, Algeria and Saudi Arabia this week, with Russia dominating as the main supplier but France and Germany also gaining some business.

“Although demand and the weak pound have pushed prices to multi-year highs, it is worth noting that in the main demand areas the deferred prices are very close to import parity,” said Gleadell managing director David Sheppard.

“This allows mills with import facilities to consider foreign supplies.

“In the short term, the market looks supported, but longer term, declining import demand, approaching domestic harvests, large global supplies and another large 2017 global wheat crop leaves the market with more-than-adequate supplies, which could push levels down.”

Feed barley

Feed barley continues to lag well behind wheat, at a discount of £20-£28/t depending on region. This put spot ex-farm prices between £113/t and £123/t.

Barley exports have been slow, with January’s 49,000t the lowest monthly total shipped since June 2014.

This brought the season-to-date exports between July and January to 715,600t, almost one-third lower than at the same point last season.