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Weekly Commodity Report 8th February 2019

The UK May 19 wheat futures have traded sideways this week but ended the week at a marginal high of £171.90.  Sterling weakened slightly in the face of all the Brexit news.


DEFRA released data on the Basic Payment Scheme, which indicated that bigger than expected changes to wheat plantings in England compared to previous estimates.  The UK supply and demand balance appears to have become tighter than previous estimates.  Traded volumes of wheat were slightly higher this week.  Currency remains a key driver in the UK wheat market and as the Brexit deadlines drift ever closer the volatility may grow in the coming weeks.

There are positive indications for the European wheat market due to Russian exports declining.  The French office AgriMer forecast an increase in exports to 8.85 Mln T for non- European destinations, but reduced overall European exports by a similar figure, so there is little change in the EU Supply and Demand.  France did benefit from the US/China trade dispute with nearly 10% of its December exports going to China.  Add to this a reduction in the domestic feeding estimate and end stocks were seen to increase by 0.1 Mln T to 2.9 Mln T.  The long wait for US WASDE report (following the government shut down) provided less shocks than it might have given the delay.  The main issue was the drop in US maize use and US winter wheat plantings, which are expected to be lower than in over 100 years.  The current talks on Trade between the US and China are again providing support on the expectation that China will purchase larger quantities of agricultural commodities from the US soon. 


The USDA report also offered news that surprised few when it came to the soya bean market.  Oilseed production in the US was reduced, as Soyabean yields were also reduced.  Production figures were lowered to 56 Mln bushels to 4.56 Bln and harvested acres were slightly reduced.  Soyabean production in Brazil and Argentina show a combined reduction in production by 8.2 Mln T causing a reduction in end stocks for 2018-19 of 8.6 Mln T. 

The saying goes an Englishman’s home is his castle.  Well it turns out in Turkey there is a $200 million village of castles sitting abandoned. 

Burl Al Babas is between Istanbul and Ankara and was built to provide a luxury location for anyone wanting to feel like royalty and live the fairy tail life.  With each dwelling for sale for $400,000-$500,000 350 of the properties sold before the development completed, mostly to owners in the middle east. 

But as recession hit and the currency devalued the inflation rate was raised to 25%.  Buyers backed out and the company building this unique site had to file for bankruptcy leaving 587 of the 732 buildings originally planned completed, but empty. 

But if you are looking at this and thinking `I need one of these’, you may still be in luck.  The architect remains hopeful the development will open by October this year.  Get saving!

Alternatively, if you think that this is just a repeat of the clone homes epitomised by the song `Little boxes’, take a look at Walk off the earth’s version of the song:

Brought to you by Paul Poornan, Melanie Blake and Martin Humphrey.