MI Northern Ireland Market Report

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06 February 2018

Global grain markets recorded mixed movements last week.

Both UK and Paris old crop wheat futures fell slightly, while the equivalent Chicago maize and wheat futures contracts increased Friday-Friday.

Dry weather in the US and Argentina set a bullish tone early in the week. However, an improved forecast led to prices dipping by Friday (2 Feb).

Dry weather slowed the rate of maize plantings in Argentina over the past week. According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, the intended planted area for the 2017/18 Argentine maize crop is estimated at 5.4Mha, 6% up year on year.

However, only 5.2Mha had been planted as at 31 January. The USDA currently have Argentinian maize output pegged at 42Mt for 2017/18, the highest on record.

The proportion of US winter wheat crops rated as poor or very poor increased in several key growing states, according to condition reports released by the USDA early last week. In Kansas, the largest US wheat planting state, crops rated poor or very poor doubled to 44% from December to January.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, 79% of crops were rated as poor or very poor in January 2018, compared with 17% for the same period last year.

Global oilseed markets recorded mixed price movements last week. Chicago soyabean futures closed lower Friday-Friday, while old crop Paris rapeseed futures reported a marginal increase. South American weather was a focus again last week, with improved conditions in Brazil and forecast rainfall in Argentina weighing on soyabean markets.

Recent wet weather in Brazil provided mixed messages for soyabean markets. The early harvest of soyabeans has benefitted from the dry weather in recent weeks, with the recent rainfall likely to slow harvest progress going forward.

However, this is possibly over shadowed by the benefits that the increased soil moisture will have for the main soyabean crop.

Forecasts of rainfall in Argentina have helped ease some concerns over drought impacting this season’s soyabean crop. However, it remains to be seen if the precipitation will be enough to fully address soil moisture issues.