Highlights from the global grains market – October 2021

Read our report on the newest developments in the global grains market. Take a look at the shrinking corn supplies in Ukraine, record wheat shipments from Russia to Algeria, poor weather conditions for corn harvest in China, and concerns over declining crop production in the EU.

Ukraine: higher wheat export cap, corn prices rising as stocks fall

The 2021/2022 wheat export cap for Ukraine has been elevated from last year’s numbers to 25.3 million tonnes, as agreed by the agricultural ministry and the exporters. In the previous season, the cap was decided at 17.5 million tonnes, while the actual exports were reported below this mark. Despite the higher export limit, Ukrainian spot prices for wheat are rising, with recent numbers at $313 per tonne of wheat FOB 11.5%. October’s wheat stocks in the country were reported at 14.46 million tonnes, up by 4.65 million tonnes from last year’s numbers in the same period. The prices are also rising for corn on delayed harvest, plunging stocks, and higher drying costs.

Wet weather conditions led to the postponement of harvest and a record-low supply of 1.88 million tonnes – down by 819,000 tonnes from last year. Another price-boosting factor was the increases in gas prices, propelling the cost of grain drying. Therefore, recent corn prices in Ukraine were noted at $274.50 per tonnes of corn fob. On the global scale, the prices for feed-grade wheat were much higher than those of corn for feed use, presumably increasing the demand for the latter in the upcoming weeks.

Brazil: high liquidity in the soybean market, low competitively of corn suppliers

The Paranagua paper market reports increased movement in October, with more and more deals closing. In September, the buyers were turning to Brazil for soybean purchases despite the higher prices as concerns over delays for shipments from the U.S. prevail. The terminals at the U.S. Gulf Coast in Louisiana sustained severe damages during Hurricane Ida at the end of August, and the damages were limiting the operational capacity of the port. In October, the soybean contracts fell recently due to the forecasts of rain in South America including Brazil and Argentina, expected to be beneficial for soybean crops. On the corn market, Brazil is observing a lack of buyers. Corn prices are too high to compete with suppliers from the Black Sea region and South Africa.

Russia: a seized opportunity for wheat shipments to Algeria

Global wheat stocks are shrinking and therefore opening export opportunities for Ukraine and other Black Sea markets. International buyers turned to suppliers such as Romania and Russia due to the limited availability of the EU milling-grade wheat and the narrowing exchange rate for the euro-dollar. The Algerian wheat import market is restricted by quality specifications that were not met by its usual supplier, France, this year. Therefore, Russia stepped in at the opportunity and secured the largest single shipment of wheat to Algeria since 2016. The record delivery was provided by Demetra Trading company, supplying 60,000 tonnes of 12.5 protein grade milling wheat. Another significant export to Algeria was made by Viterra company at 88,200 tonnes bringing Russian shipments of wheat to Algeria to a total of 144,200 tonnes.

China: corn yields steady despite delayed harvest in the north

Heavy rain in the northern regions of China has been recently, slowing down the corn harvests and planting for winter. Autumn harvest of corn and paddy was completed at 75%, 4% below the period average. The rainfall has also caused a decreased quality of corn and resulted in lower yields, currently estimated at 270.96 million tonnes. However, China’s northeast region is expected to note a record production, thus offsetting the lowered projections in rain-affected areas. The projections for China’s corn output in 2021/2022 are steady despite the weather disruptions and are expected to reach 273 million tonnes.

EU: grain production to fall by 2030 under F2F strategy

The EU Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy is a part of the European Green Deal aimed at making agriculture more sustainable, ensuring food safety, and reducing the environmental impact. It enforces the limitations of fertilizers and pesticides usage, as well as reductions in crop acreages. However, according to the experts, the full implementation of the F2F’s objectives may cause a significant decline in the EU’s crop output. By 2030, the production of soft wheat could decrease by 15%, corn output by 1%, barley by 16%, and oil seed by 17%.

News 07.11.2021