International grain markets generally weakened again in the second half of last week but despite being up and down a little since then, they seem to be holding somewhat flat.
It is important to state that price levels in all markets are much higher than they were this time last year.
In July 2020, November dry wheat was priced at €190/t. In the same month this year, the November price is holding around €220/t.
Reflecting the weakening, November MATIF dropped back from €216/t last Friday week to €214.25/t last Friday. However, it closed broadly similar to this at €214.75/t on Tuesday of this week.
Chicago wheat also bounced about over the past seven days or so, but maize was somewhat stronger this week.
Uncertainty still prevails
Arguably, not much changed relative to last week other than the rain in the US settled market nerves for the time being.
The US soft red winter wheat harvest is now almost complete, with production up on last year.
However, spring wheat crops in the US and Canada continue to give cause for concern. Recent reports indicate a further deterioration in the average condition of these crops.
These concerns for milling-quality wheats are added to by the fears that recent heavy rain in France and Germany, which is delaying harvest there, could result in the loss of quality wheat to the feed market.
While recent rain in the US appears to have improved the prospects for maize there, some suggest that the market will still carry a risk premium due to the low stock levels.
This is likely to continue until there is a clearer picture regarding US maize production.
Barley has come back into focus because of concerns around the Canadian crop and the prospects for significant yield loss due to the dry conditions.
As always, barley will be most influenced by total feed grain supply, which is influenced by maize production and the possible loss of milling wheat to the feed market in Europe.
Wet weather continues to delay wheat harvesting in parts of Europe and this is affecting new-crop supply. This, in turn, is acting to stave off immediate harvest pressure.
Nearby barley remains around €210 to €215/t, with wheat holding up around €250/t.
For the moment, lack of new-crop supply pressure is helping to keep prices solid.
As of now, November wheat appears to be holding at €220/t, with barley in the €210 to €212/t range.