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Weekly Commodity Report 30th March 2019

Currency has been volatile this week on Brexit news as the deadline that never happened approached.


It should be noted despite some big variations in each day’s trading, some very high and low values achieved, the overall picture is less clear with a; ‘generally no change’, which is in line with ‘no firm news’ on Brexit other than that the deadline has been pushed back. 

The upward move of two weeks ago, calmed this week with low traded quantities.  May wheat futures are trading at £164/T, unchanged from the price reported last week.  The price differential between old and new crop remains unchanged also with November wheat futures trading at £148/T, again unchanged.  Arable farmers seem to maintain their hopes that the recent high prices will return, but with projected new crop numbers higher than the 5 and 10 year averages and record corn imports, alongside poor barley demand - this could be the year where the £20 plus discount to new crop holds firm.  The UK continues to react to global news, especially the French Matif wheat futures, which also dropped throughout the week. 

With no other news the trade turned to the USDA report.  The maize price declined on the release of the report and wheat followed maize’s direction.  Despite the wheat stock estimate being as expected, because US farmers are expected to plant the lowest number of wheat acres in 110 years, the USDA figures gave estimates for maize stocks and planting well above trade estimates.  The estimated US maize production for 2019 are estimated to be 92.8 Mln T, up from 91.3 Mln T - much higher than last year’s 89.1 Mln T.  This put pressure on cereal markets globally, especially wheat.  It is worth noting that the report did not include updates arising from the recent flood damage in parts of the Midwest.  The trade seems to be focused more on gloomy news to determine the trend in the world’s economic state, as well as news on the US and China trade deal and its possible effect on the flow of money and commodities from US stock piles.  Current trading patterns indicate it would take either some concrete positive news on the Trade dispute, or a major weather event in the Northern Hemisphere to get a sustained price trend up to the start of the year highs.  The International Grains Council predicts a drop in world grain stocks for the 2019/20 season by 29 Mln T down to 579 Mln T, following the draw on stocks of this current season.  Larger wheat crops in Australia, Russia and the EU are not expected to meet the expected record global demand. 


The soya bean market was also dipped on the new of the USDA figures for corn.  The lack of new US trade, floods and news of progress in the Brazilian and Argentinian harvest have all continued to indicate huge stocks going into the next seasons.  Oilworld reported an estimated US end stock of 26 Mln T, an increase of 118% over the year.  The surge in the Chinese stock market was seen as an indication of growing positive expectation over news on a US and China trade deal.  It was also reported that private buyers in China were active in the export market indicating the rumours of 1.5 to 2 Mln T purchase of beans for shipment from July are more than just state token purchases to demonstrate progress.  In the US it is thought that weather over the next 6 weeks could determine if acreage swaps (corn for beans) are made following the US floods.  Stock figures are still 607 bushels above last year.  Brazilian soya bean figures were raised by Safras from 115.5 Mln T to 116.5 Mln T.

Here at Humphrey feeds we like to ensure we pass on any opportunities we see for those who might be interested, however this one is for the ladies.  How about $18.500 (£14,000) for 60 days in bed?  Sounds good – well the Space Agency are looking for female subjects for a study on how to protect the human body from the effects of micro gravity.  The Bed Rest Study is a partnership between NASA, the German Space agency (DLR) and the European Space Agency (ESA).  There are spaces for volunteers on the second stage which will take place from September to December this year.  In the study, the head of the bed will be 6 degrees lower than the body which over time cause the position of fluids in the body to shift towards the head, similar to the effects astronauts experience in the absence of gravity.  Throughout the study participants will have to remain in bed for all activity from watching TV and eating, to going to the toilet and they will receive a diet designed to prevent weight gain in this low activity period.  But the DLR has reported the meals are not extra healthy, pancakes and sweets will be included. 

Who is free for a long nap followed by pancakes at the end of this year?

Beds in the study are angled so that participants’ heads are lower than their bodies by 6 degrees. Credit DLR

Beds in the study are angled so that participants’ heads are lower than their bodies by 6 degrees. Credit DLR

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Brought to you by Melanie Blake and Martin Humphrey.