Wheat price see-saw back on the up

Grain markets continue their bumpy ride today, with November prices back up by £4/t after yesterday’s dramatic fall on news of higher than expected US corn plantings and grain stock figures.

The London November feed wheat futures price was at £161/t by mid-morning today (Friday 1 July). Markets would continue nervous until more was known about harvest size and quality, with growers unwilling to commit further tonnage, said Jonathan Lane of Gleadell.

Much also depended on what attitude Russia will take to exports. “The biggest worry at the moment is what will happen to Russian old-crop stocks,” said Mr Lane.

Silos full of old-crop Russian grain were likely to put pressure on prices, although the Russian market was heavily subject to political influence. Egypt has refused to take old crop from Russia, but any buying interest from North African countries is likely to be met with heavily discounted prices for Russian grain.

Copa-Cogeca released new EU grain harvest estimates today which put this year’s EU cereals harvest down by 1% compared with 2010. Rising world demand for wheat, a tight EU market and uncertain climatic conditions meant that CAP reforms must boost productivity, said the farm and co-op lobby group.

“The figures for 2011/12 show a 1% decrease in production, compared to last year. Sharper declines of 3.5% and 4.4% are seen in EU wheat and barley production while maize production estimates are good,” said Ian Backhouse, chairman of Copa-Cogeca’s cereals working party. “But in view of the drought this year, which has affected large parts of the EU, the estimates are still very uncertain.”

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