Grain prices once again strengthened last week after taking a slight dip.

This was largely due to the news that more dry weather in US spring wheat areas is putting crops under pressure and confirmation of big US maize export sales.

The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report was published last week and shows that maize crops in the US are considered to be in a very strong position, with 76% rated “good” or “excellent”.

This is the strongest position for maize crops in week 21 (week ending 30 May 2021) since 2018 according to the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Chinese demand

However, demand from China remains high and with the news that the International Grains Council (IGC) cut 6.3 million tonnes (Mt) from the Brazilian maize crop to 98.5Mt, this has once again strengthened markets.

The IGC's estimates are 3.5Mt below the most recent USDA estimate.

The IGC estimate is still higher than private forecaster Safras and Mercado of 95.2Mt.

Wheat stocks

This reduced the global maize end-of-season stock forecast, while higher animal feed demand, especially in China, led to cuts in global wheat stocks.

Conditions in Europe continue to look mostly positive. However, more rain is needed in Russia to maintain crop potential.

SovEcon trimmed its forecast for the 2021 Russian wheat crop from 81.7Mt to 80.9Mt. In 2020, Russia harvested 85.9Mt (including Crimea).

Soya beans

There has been pressure on soya bean markets over the past couple of weeks, as positive conditions in the US have allowed plantings to continue at a strong pace.

The latest ICG supply and demand estimates pegged global soya bean stocks in 2021/22 at 50.6Mt, up 125,000t on the previous report.

One key point to watch for oilseeds is the impact of coronavirus on palm oil processing in Malaysia. The country has seen cases spike in recent weeks, the AHDB reports.