Northern Ireland Weekly Market Report

01 February 2021


Wheat - The wheat market is broadly following movements in wider grains at present. New crop potential looks good, with little winter damage reported in the Black Sea to date and positive conditions in the EU.

Maize - Strong Chinese demand persists, with record levels of purchasing. Rainfall has improved maize crop prospects in South America to an extent. But, crop conditions in Argentina and parts of Brazil have deteriorated.

Barley - The gap between wheat and barley prices continued to narrow last week. The strong discount in recent months has prompted increased feed demand.

Global markets

It was another busy week for grain futures last week. Chicago maize (May-21) made large gains, setting a new contract high in the process, at $215.55/t, up $17.52/t Friday-Friday.

The jump in maize futures follows a huge week for Chinese buying of US maize. Last week China purchased 5.85Mt of US corn for the current marketing season. The largest of the daily sales, 2.1Mt on Friday, was the single biggest daily sale of US corn since a purchase of 3.7Mt made by the USSR in 1991.

Chicago wheat futures, towed the line of maize, gaining $9.73/t Friday-Friday. But, there was greater volatility of movement in wheat markets across the week.

Maize markets may have pushed even higher were it not for more rainfall in South America. However, beyond this week it appears that rainfall is set to return to below average levels in Southern Brazil and North Argentina.

For Argentina’s maize crop, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, showed an increase in the proportion rated “poor” or “very poor”, up 2 percentage points on the week, at 10%. Meanwhile, the percentage rated “excellent” or “good”, dropped 6 points to 22%. This time last season 59% of the Argentinian crop was rated as “excellent” or “good”.

The latest crop monitoring report from Conab, highlights that rainfall improved prospects for many crops. However, stress damage in more advanced crops in parts of North West Rio Grande Do Sul and Parana, is “irrecoverable”.

UK focus

UK wheat futures (May-21) ended the week £2.75/t up, at £207.75/t. UK markets generally followed the trend in Euronext (Paris) wheat futures, albeit capped by a 0.39% gain in sterling against the euro Friday-Friday.

UK delivered wheat prices, Thursday-Thursday, were down across the board, falling in line with futures. There was a further squeeze on milling wheat premiums in the February and March positions. This highlights that there is an increased level of cover from UK millers, and weaker buying of UK milling wheat.


Rapeseed - On-going demand for oilseeds and support in crude oil markets pushed up prices across the week. Going forward production is expected to increase in the EU for 2021/22 to 18.26Mt (Stratégie Grains); a 6% increase year-on-year but below the 5-year-average.

Soyabeans - With recent droughts in South America arguably priced in. Further support for this market is relying on large demand from countries like China in the coming months, or an adverse weather event.

Global markets - Chicago soyabeans (May-21) closed Friday at $502.29/t, gaining $20.30/t across the week. Spill over support from maize markets also filtered into oilseeds.

South American weather news is still dominating the oilseed complex. Rain has disrupted Brazil’s soyabean harvest, which is off to a slow start. According to AgRural, as of 21 January only 0.7% of the soyabean crop is harvested, down from 4.2% at the same time last year.

This will delay the delivery of soyabeans onto the market, in a year which is marked by strong pre-harvest sales of Brazilian soyabeans. AgroConsult predict that only 5.0Mt of new crop was harvested in January, half the volume of last year.

For canola (OSR), Canada may run short of oilseeds before the next harvest (Refinitiv). On-going strong export demand is driving support for prices. ICE canola futures (May-21) closed on Friday at CA$669.00/t, gaining 5.2% across the week.

Rapeseed focus

There was support across the week for rapeseed values. Paris rapeseed futures (May-21) closed Friday at €439.75/t, gaining €17.00/t on the week. Rapeseed futures tracked gains in both soyabean prices and the slight uptick in crude oil markets.

These gains were echoed in the UK market with delivered rapeseed (Feb, Erith) quoted at £396.50/t, up £12.50/t from the Friday before. Gains were tempered though, as sterling strengthened over the week against the euro by 0.39%, to close on Friday at £1 = €1.1290.

Elsewhere, Stratégie Grains increased its forecast of rapeseed imports into the EU + UK for 2020/21 by 800Kt to a record 6.7Mt.

The upward revision reflects attractive crush margins that fuelled demand in Europe, with the Australian crop offering short-term supply.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.