International grain markets have been largely flat over the past week, within a band of ups and downs.

It seems as though every day brings an up or a down in futures markets, as MATIF moves between €245 and €247/t for December wheat.

Overall market sentiment remains strong across all cereal sectors.

Both Chicago and Paris ended last week on a stronger note.

The influences

There were several influential factors over the past week. Wheat was supported by a significantly reduced output estimate for the Canadian crop, which put wheat at 22.9Mt, 34.8% lower than the previous year.

This is 1.1Mt lower than the latest USDA forecast.

Also significant is the fact that high-quality Canadian spring wheat is down 37.7% to 16.1Mt, which adds to supply concerns for milling wheat.

Maize prices were supported last week by the potential for a second La Niña weather event, which could affect production in South America.

But in the US Midwest, rainfall is said to have improved crop prospects for maize. While the market reacted, some of this rain may be too late to make any tangible different to crop potential.

Markets were also influenced by the storm activity down in the Gulf of Mexico. The fear was that these weather events could disrupt US exports as the storms and hurricanes blew themselves out.

Strong export demand for EU wheat has helped support prices here and September wheat moved higher than the December position on MATIF again this week.

But the €25/t premium it held last week almost vanished overnight at the weekend.

Romania and Ukraine appear to be the cheapest origin wheat at the moment, as Russia remains too expensive.

Maize markets will continue to be influenced by weather, but it is not that likely to make any tangible different to crop output at this stage, unless there is considerable crop loss due to storms, etc.

So, realistically, maize output may be set at this point, but remains uncertain until after harvest, while wheat markets are likely to be supported by the tightening global outlook.

Native prices

Markets here remain similar to last week, despite the oscillations in the futures markets.

For all intents and purposes, September physical prices have become November prices for our wheat and barley. This puts wheat at around €245 to €247/t to year-end, with barley at €235/t.

Oilseed rape is floating at or above €520/t, depending on the day.