Corn: The market closed higher on the day and versus last Friday. In Chicago the Mar 17 contract closed at the best levels on a front month since late June 2016. The USDA this week raised their estimate for the size of the global 2016/17 crop by more than 2 MMT to 1040 MMT. However they also upped consumption by 6 MMT and cut carryout by 2.5 MMT. Chinese corn usage was projected 4 MMT larger, mostly from increased feed usage. The USDA also reduced the size of this season's EU-28 corn crop, marking that down to 60.3 MMT, with ending stocks cut to 4.75 MMT, the lowest level since 2007. Record corn production for 2016/17 reflected larger crops in both Ukraine and Mexico more than offsetting lower production in the EU, they said. "Robust demand in both Iran and Vietnam support a higher volume of global exports. Moreover, a smaller barley crop in Iran boosts the demand for (other) imported feedstuffs," they added. Mar 17 Corn settled at $3.74 1/2, up 5 cents; May 17 Corn settled at $3.82, up 4 3/4 cents. For the week that puts Mar 17 corn up 9 1/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed higher, with Mar 17 CBOT Wheat settling at $4.49, up 5 1/2 cents; Mar 17 KCBT Wheat ending at $4.60 1/2, up 9 1/4 cents and Mar 17 MGEX Wheat finishing the day at $5.72 1/2, up 4 cents. For the week that puts nearby Chicago wheat up 18 3/4 cents, with the Kansas market 20 cents higher and Minneapolis up 14/14 cents. For Chicago wheat this was a more than 7-month closing high for a nearby contract. In their February WASDE report the USDA said that "prices for most wheat classes were up during the month of January, underpinned by 2017/18 US crop prospects as well as a weakening dollar." They also noted that "the growing gap between HRS and most other wheat classes is indicative of tight supplies of high-protein wheat in the global market." US 2016/17 wheat exports were raised 1.5 MMT to 27.5 MMT, whilst Russia's were lowered 0.5 MMT to 28.5 MMT. World ending stocks were lowered from 253.3 MMT to 248.6 MMT.
The day ended with Mar 17 London wheat up GBP1.05/tonne at GBP146.65/tonne, Mar 17 Paris wheat was down EUR4.25/tonne at EUR167.75/tonne, Jun 17 Paris corn was EUR1.50/tonne lower at EUR172.50/tonne and May 17 Paris rapeseed fell EUR2.75/tonne to EUR402.25/tonne.
For the week that places nearby London wheat GBP1.10/tonne higher, with Paris wheat down EUR6.25/tonne, corn EUR4.25/tonne firmer and rapeseed down EUR6.50/tonne.
A weaker sterling this week has supported London wheat, in addition to tightness in old crop supply.
"The vast majority of GB arable crops have come into the spring in good condition, according to the latest ADAS crop report. The relatively dry and mild conditions during the autumn and winter allowed pesticide applications to be made as planned and there are few weed, pest or disease issues to report at this stage in the season," said the HGCA.
They did however report a drop in overall winter plantings, including an English and Welsh wheat area decline of 5% to 1.612 million ha, along with a 2% fall in barley sowings and a 1% decrease in the area given over to winter OSR (to 538k ha).
Many pundits say that the actual sown area is even lower, especially for OSR where Origin Enterprises this week came up with a figure of only 500,000 ha for the UK as a whole, "a reduction of approximately 10% on last year," they said.
"Farmers have been deterred from sowing the oilseed by heavy losses in many areas to cabbage stem flea beetle, following the introduction of EU curbs on neonicotinoid insecticides," reported Agrimoney.
In other news, Brussels reported 235 TMT of soft wheat exports this past week, taking the season to date total to 16.5 MMT, down 13% on 19.05 MMT this time last year.
Cumulative EU barley exports so far this season stand at 3.2 MMT, down 59% from a year ago, whilst cumulative EU corn imports of 7.4 MMT are down 24%.
On the international stage, we can report a 720,000 MT hard wheat tender from Saudi Arabia.