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Weekly Commodity Report 10th June 2019

Brexit remains in the news, but the focus is on internal British political choices rather than Brexit itself.  This has meant the sterling has continued to weaken against the euro.  November wheat ended the week at £155.40/T down from recent high at end of last week of £159.50/T.  The wheat market may have seen an end to the recent lift in prices. 


The WASDE was expected to show that the US predictions will be cut further the trade waits before its next move.  A key figure to interpret is the estimation of the maize carry out for both the US and the rest of the world.  There are huge differences between trade estimates and the previous USDA figures so how far the USDA prediction will drop towards the trade estimate will be seen as important.  As a result, the volumes traded for both London and French wheat exchanges were low last week. 

UK old crop is still coming forward from farms but the window is shortening.  For new crop; it is believed that the consumers have more to cover. but the market has remained quiet.

US weather remains a big focus.  It is predicted that the heavy rains are coming to the end, but for many US farmers they have already passed the date where crop insurance is reduced if they were to switch to plant corn.  The normal reaction would be to move to plant soya beans, but with African swine fever spreading and no end in sight for the US/China trade dispute US farmers are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Surveys have shown that US farmer confidence is low, not helped by low market prices and few options.  The trade is in a similar position, with net shorts across the board for agricultural commodities and maize in balance at best.  On a positive note, history has shown us that huge amounts of acres can be planted in just a few weeks in situations like this so a positive turn in US weather could still arrive in time for a significant uplift in planting figures.  In Russia the opposite is true with a lack of rain concerning their trade, with expectations that yields will fall back for the world’s top exporter of grain.  However, the Russians have been so successful despite having a relatively small crop, so and expectations still that the new crop year will be positive the Russian story is still looking bright.  The EU crop remains promising in the main with a good balance of rain and sun providing positive reports in most areas. 


After a short period of gains the later parts of May the soya bean market has started to drop back again.  Traded volumes have been higher since the lows reached at the end of April and early May.  The coming USDA report is expected to present a gloomy picture, especially for the US.  The average trade guess for the US 2019 soya bean crop is around 4123Mln Bushels under the last USDA estimate of 4150m bu.  Carry out for the US is estimated at between 854-1069 Mln Bushels, a huge variation that many will be hoping the next report clears up.  Chinas demand for soya has reduced from ASF.  In addition, China has also tried to reduce the quantity of imported soya used in its feeds, including its reliance on other countries’ soya during this extended trade war with the US.  It has already being seen that some of this soya demand has moved to other parts of the world to fill in the gaps in Chinese demand for pork, as there have been increased Chinese pork imports.  Pigs grown in other countries need feeding (with soya) before they reach China, and in addition there has been an increase in poultry fed as people move to an alternative proteins in China. 

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An ancient Bronze Age birdman has been discovered in a 5,000 year old grave.  The man believed to be a shaman may have belonged to the Odinov culture which dominated the region in Western Siberia.  He was found wearing a costume made from beaks at the Ust-Tatas archeological site near Novosibirsk, Russia. 

The beaks were assembled behind the skull and along the neck to form a collar believed to be part of a costume aimed to show the significance of this individual in society and perhaps protect the owner.  They may have formed part of larger costume or headdress or even armour.   

The beaks will take months to separate and study with up to 50 skulls and beaks counted so far.  The beaks will be sent to ornithologists to be analysed fully but are thought to be from cranes or herons.  So far it is not understood how the beaks and skulls were connected together to form the clothing as no mounting holes have been found. Read the full article here.

Brought to you by Melanie Blake and Martin Humphrey.