MI Northern Ireland Market Report

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Global grain markets have seen another mixed week of trading (Friday 9 March – Friday 16 March).

Weather has been the main driver behind global grain markets this week.

Dry weather in Argentina has helped support maize prices. Meanwhile the arrival of rain on the US plains and favourable conditions in the Black Sea region have pressured global wheat markets. Domestic wheat markets have continued to be tight and Scottish planting data confirmed a wheat area decline for 2018/19.

Favourable weather ahead of spring planting in Black Sea producers Russia and Ukraine is bolstering the chances of another large harvest due to good levels of soil moisture. According to UkrAgoConsult, the condition of winter grains in Ukraine is the best in four years. Farmers in Russia plan to sow spring grains on 31.0 million hectares in 2018, down 0.4% from a year earlier. Should favourable conditions continue, Russia may harvest more than 110Mt of grain in 2018/19, down from 135Mt in 2017/18.

The continued drought in Argentina has led to the Rosario Grain Exchange cutting its 2017/18 maize production forecast to 40Mt, down 6.5Mt from its February estimate. With Brazilian and Argentinian maize supplies looking tighter, importers are buying US maize at the fastest pace since the mid-1990s, according to US government data.

Global oilseeds prices rose last week as the continued dry weather in Argentina led to the Rosario Grain Exchange cutting its production forecast. However, gains in the domestic rapeseed market were muted due in part to an increase in the strength of the pound against the euro and US dollar.

The Rosario Grain Exchange now estimates that the 2017/18 soyabean crop will only reach 40Mt. This is a 6.5Mt cut to its February estimate and 17Mt below last year’s record crop. This follows the USDA report last week, which cut its estimate for the Argentinian soyabean crop 7Mt to 47Mt.