News of the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant put downward pressure on grain markets early last week.

Despite wheat markets regaining ground on Thursday, supported by tight supply and strong demand, global wheat contracts ended the week lower, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Last week, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) raised its 2021 wheat forecast to a record 34.4 million tonne (Mt). Higher than expected yields rose production estimates 3% higher than last season.

This said, quality concerns remain. November has been the wettest on record for most regions within New South Wales, causing flooding.

Competitive pricing

Statistics Canada wheat estimate for harvest 2021 decreased slightly, but remained rounded at 21.7Mt (down 38.5% from last year). The market expected a fall to 21.2Mt, though the durum wheat forecast was cut 0.8Mt to 2.7Mt.

Strong demand may have capped further wheat losses last week, with tenders from the Middle East and north African countries.

With pricing competitive in global tenders, EU exports remain strong, especially given Russian export prices continue to rise.

Russia is considering a wheat export quota between 15 February and 30 June 2022 at 9.0Mt, to tackle domestic inflation. This figure is larger than trade expectations, but no final decision has been made.


Chicago maize futures (May 22) also eased back last week, closing on Friday at $230.81/t. This is down $3.64/t from the previous Friday.

News is expected on US renewable fuel mandates and eligibility for credits in the coming days. Recent ethanol production has been strong, supporting maize prices.

2021/22 Argentinian maize planting estimates are up 0.2Mha to 7.3Mha, according to the Bolsa de Cereales. Crops are in good condition from recent rainfall. Production is forecast at a record 57Mt.

Oilseed rape

After a €29.75/t dip in the market (Friday to Tuesday), Paris rapeseed futures (May 22) closed just €0.50/t down Friday to Friday at €648.00/t.

On Friday, Statistics Canada released revised estimates for its 2021 harvest, which trimmed the country's canola production by 0.19Mt. Now pegged at 12.59Mt, it is the smallest crop since 2007. This adds further concerns for the current marketing year, already anticipated to be very tight.

Looking ahead to harvest 2022, Stratégie Grains has revised down (from the previous report) the EU rapeseed area by 30,000ha, to 5.6Mha. 2021/22 production is forecast up 6% from harvest 2021, to 17.98Mt.