International grain prices picked up slightly over the past week, but volatility remains high. Having closed last Friday at €325.75/t, the MATIF December wheat price rose again on Monday of this week when it settled at €330.75/t, having traded as high as €335.75/t during the day.

On Tuesday, this contract traded as high as €341.25/t, but settled at €333.50/t that day.

The renewal of the Black Sea export corridor altered sentiment on wheat for a while, but strong global demand precipitated a rise in European prices.

The UN-brokered deal is to last for another 120 days from 18 November rather than the 240 the UN had targeted.

For its part, Russia demanded progress in the removal of obstacles to its grain and fertiliser exports. These included freeing up some banking restrictions to allow it trade.

It is reported that Russia donated 260,000t of fertiliser to developing countries.

European wheat demand

This week’s AHDB report indicates strong demand for European wheat, despite the price pressure from the Black Sea corridor.

Morocco and China showed demand for French wheat. The Chinese tender was originally thought to be for two ships (approximately 60,000t each), but traders now suspect that this deal may be for four or more cargoes.

The AHDB also reports that the US is rumoured to want high-protein north European wheat.

The market also saw a big tender from a government agency in Pakistan for 500,000t of wheat, with a further tender from Jordan for 120,000t of milling wheat.

Export sales of US wheat show slow demand by comparison.

That said, Chicago maize prices increased last week, but they have eased back again in the early days of this week.

It seems that there are fears that significant areas of maize in Ukraine may not be harvested due to fuel shortages and other difficulties in harvesting.

Argentina maize planting

The AHDB report indicated that only 23.6% of the Argentinian maize crop had been planted as of 16 November. This compares with the five-year average at 35.8%.

The slow progress is a result of dryness, but there has been more rain there recently, which will aid progress.

Native prices

Nearby prices are weaker again this week, despite slightly stronger futures prices.

Volatility remains high, with nearby wheat trading either side of €330/t and barley running either side of €320/t.

New-crop price sentiment is also lower, with wheat around €300/t and barley around €290/t.