Grains, Seeds, Vegoils, Meals, Softs, Agri News

Jun 07 - Australia sees wheat, barley output dropping by a third next year
Australia's production of winter crops is set to fall from record highs, with wheat output seen declining more than 30%, the country's agricultural department said, as forecasters predict dryness due to the El Nino weather pattern. Australia is the world's second largest wheat exporter, supplying mainly to buyers in Asia, including China, Indonesia and Japan. 

Jun 07 - Global coffee market to clock 7.3 mln bag deficit in 2022/23, ICO says
The global coffee market will record a 7.3 million bag deficit in the 2022/23 (October-September) season as increased global fertiliser costs and adverse weather last year hurt crops, the International Coffee Association (ICO) said on Tuesday. This follows a deficit of 7.1 million bags in the 2021/22 season when coffee consumption bounced back and economic growth improved as the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICO said in a monthly report.

Jun 06 - Turkey’s TMO ramps up wheat intervention price 28%, barley 23% ( AgriCensus)

- The Turkish grains board (TMO) has published new domestic intervention prices for the purchase of wheat and barley on Tuesday, revealing another substantial hike of 28% and 23% respectively, trade sources have told Agricensus. The announcement had been expected and usually comes in late May or early June to coincide with the start of the new marketing year.

- Turkish authorities have set the wheat intervention price at TRY8,250/mt, up from TRY6,450/mt, and barley at TRY7,000/mt, up from TRY5,000/mt. On top of that, there would be a TRY1,000/mt premium for anyone selling wheat in the first three months of the marketing year, and a TRY500/mt premium for barley.

- Collectively, it equated to $430/mt for wheat and $348.50/mt for barley, according to current currency conversions.

The moves are likely to reflect the continuing slide of the domestic currency on international markets, with the lira again taking a battering after the re-election of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to plumb new depths against the US dollar. Currently, one US dollar buys around TRY21.5, up from TRY16.6 at the same point of last year.
However, the increase and the relatively low prices of global wheat could fuel interest in selling into the domestic market and buying on the international market.
“Obviously, the import license values will soar immediately,” a trade source commented as news of the increase circulated.

- Currently, the only people able to import wheat are millers who would only be able to secure permission if they have exported the flour before.  For anyone else looking to import wheat, market participants would need to buy a license – a measure that now looks attractive given the high setting of the intervention price.

Jun 06 - India's palm oil imports hit 27-month low, buyers pick cheaper soft oils
India's palm oil imports sank to a 27-month low in May as buyers cancelled expensive cargoes of the edible oil and replaced them with cheaper soyoil and sunflower oil, six dealers told Reuters on Tuesday.Palm oil imports by India fell to 441,000 tonnes last month, down 14% from 510,094 tonnes in April, according to average estimates from the dealers.  

Jun 06 - U.S. corn conditions suffer worst tumble since 2020 as dryness expands -Braun
Parts of the U.S. Corn Belt have been historically dry over the last month, pressuring both corn and soybean health and offering an early challenge to the government's record yield forecasts. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday afternoon showed 64% of the U.S. corn crop in good or excellent (GE) condition, down from 69% a week earlier and below the lowest trade guess of 65%.

Jun 06 - Brazil set to export larger-than-usual soybean volumes to the US (AgriCensus)

- Brazil is set to export at least 200,000 mt of soybeans to the US between the last weeks of May and the beginning of June, line-up data analysed by Agricensus showed. Brazil typically ships some soybean volumes to the US, especially during the northern hemisphere’s summer months, but this bilateral trade is set to be larger than usual this year as the bumper soybean crop in Brazil has been underpinning very competitive prices in the South American country.

- Line-up data from shipping company Williams shows two vessels chartered by Perdue have left the northern river port of Itacoatiara on May 21 and 25 carrying about 30,000 mt of soybeans to the US each. Williams’ data also showed that three other vessels, two chartered by Perdue and one by ADM, were scheduled to set sail in the first week of June from the northern ports of Santarem and Barcarena with a joint cargo of about 120,000 mt of soybeans destined to the US.

- Shipping company Cargonave has reported these same five soybean vessels bound to the US in its line-up data and spotted a sixth vessel chartered by Viterra that left Barcarena on May 23 carrying just under 30,000 mt of beans to the US.

If all these cargoes and volumes are confirmed, this will bring total Brazilian soybean exports to the US between the last weeks of May and the beginning of June to over 200,000 mt, which comes on top of the 46,153 mt shipped to the US between January and April, according to Brazil’s customs data. This already places this year’s soybean trade between the two countries as the largest since 2014 when Brazil exported the largest yearly soybean volume to the US on record at just over one million mt.

Jun 05 - Mexico to fight US dispute over GM corn after formal consultations fail
Mexico said on Friday it would counter U.S. arguments over agriculture biotech measures, including plans to limit its use of genetically modified (GM) corn, in trade dispute settlement consultations requested by Washington earlier in the day.The consultation request comes as the North American neighbors inch toward a full-blown trade dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) over Mexico's policies to limit the use of GM corn, which it imports from the U.S.  

Jun 05 - Indonesia aims to raise 2023 white sugar output 8.3% y/y
Indonesia wants to raise its white sugar output to 2.6 million tonnes this year, the country's National Food Agency (Bapanas) said in a statement late on Sunday. The Southeast Asian country produced 2.4 million tonnes in 2022, and consumes 3.4 million tonnes annually, the agency said.

Jun 02 - Palm oil dispute won't have bearing on Indonesia, Malaysia EU trade talks, minister says
A dispute between the European Union and major palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia over a new deforestation law will have no bearing on the two countries' stalled negotiations with the bloc on free trade agreements, a Malaysian minister said on Thursday. Responding to a Financial Times report which said the talks could be delayed over the palm oil issue, commodities minister Fadillah Yusof said Malaysia's negotiations with the EU on a trade deal, which have been on hold since 2012, could be resumed if the EU would treat Malaysia with fairness and as a partner. 

Jun 02 - Ukraine grain and oilseed crop expected to fall by 7.9%, traders union says
Ukraine's combined grain and oilseed crop harvest is set to fall to 68 million tonnes in 2023, from 73.8 million tonnes in 2022, Ukrainian grain traders union UGA said on Thursday. The grain harvest could include 17.9 million tonnes of wheat and 23.3 million tonnes of corn, the union said. Ukraine harvested 20.2 million tonnes of wheat and 27.3 million tonnes of corn in 2022.

Jun 02 - Ukrainian grain and oilseeds export in 2023/24 can drop to 43.9 mmt: UGA

- The Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) has issued new estimates for the country's 2023/24 marketing year exports, forecasting a reduction in the potential grain and oilseeds exports to 43.9 million mt, in data released Thursday.  The move comes because of an expected drop in production, but the figure would only be realistic if the work of the Black Sea grains corridor continues to operate and is not distracted by further suspensions or interruptions. The forecast is 22% below the estimate for the current 2022/23 marketing year, which has started with very high stocks amid the war and a total figure of 56.4 million mt.
“A sharp drop for the future crop is expected due to the occupation of Ukrainian territories, mined territories, and continued hostilities, as well as the lack of funds and other resources for farmers for a full-fledged sowing campaign and crop cultivation,” the UGA said.

Grains
- The potential wheat export figure is assessed at 15 million mt, given an expected 11% drop in production to 17.9 million mt amid a smaller planted area, but ending stocks could reach 5.3 million by the start of the 2023/24 season. The association expects barley exports could reach 2 million mt in 2023/24 with a drop in production of 1.4 million mt to 4.4 million mt.

Corn exports are projected at 19 million mt for the upcoming season, again on the back of a fall in planted area as the size of the fields sown with corn were reduced by 800,000 ha.
As such, the expected output was also expected to fall by 14% to 23.3 million mt.

Oilseeds

- Sunflower production is forecast to increase by 14% to 12.7 million mt amid an increase in planted areas of 800,000 ha, in a move that could allow an increase in the exports to 1.2 million mt and domestic sunflower processing to 11.5 million mt.

- Rapeseed output is only projected to grow by 3% to 3.8 million mt, which could allow exports at 3.5 million mt.

- Finally, UGA estimated soybean production would reach 4.4 million mt, almost 19% higher year-on-year, with the estimated export potential rising to 3 million mt.

Jun 01 - India’s rice exports rise in April (IHSmarkit)

- Indian rice exports up 8% y/y but down 16% m/m
- Non-Basmati exports rise 5% y/y
- African countries were key export destinations for Indian non-Basmati exports

India’s rice exports in April totaled 1.8 million metric tons, down 16% month on month, but up 7.8% year on year, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Non-Basmati exports rose 5.2% year on year to 1.4 million metric tons, as India continues to offer lower prices than its competitors, according to an analysis of S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

African countries were key export destinations for Indian non-Basmati exports in April. Kenya was the largest buyer at 167,805 metric tons, followed by Benin at 136,458 metric tons and Togo at 122,066 metric tons. Mozambique, Guinea, Senegal, and Vietnam also received significant volumes in April.

Basmati exports were also up, with April exports totaling 424,650 metric tons, up 33% year on year. Iran took over 20% of the Basmati exported in April at 86,727 metric tons, followed by Saudi Arabia at 69,937 metric tons and Iraq at 57,129 metric tons.

Indian exports over January-April totaled 7.8 million metric tons, up 2.6% year on year.

Jun 01 - EC proposes extending ban on Ukrainian imports until at least October (AgriCensus)

- European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski is proposing to extend a temporary import ban on key agricultural products from Ukraine into five member states until the end of October "at the very minimum," after the European Council last week approved an extension of the duty-free import regime for Ukrainian products for another year. Speaking at a press conference following an Agri and Fisheries Council meeting late Tuesday, the Commissioner stressed he could not make any binding declarations as member states were still in discussions. However, he said that there was now more grain in reserves in the five neighboring member states than in Ukraine itself, which was why he was calling for restrictions to be extended until after the harvest, at least until October and ideally until the end of the year.

- Several of the member states are facing general elections in the coming months and the issue of Ukrainian imports has become a political one. In addition, not all member states support the ban, and earlier this month, several member states wrote to the Commission stressing the importance of common trade policies for the whole bloc. The Commissioner said other European member states had questioned the criteria behind the decision, why the ban applied to only these five member states, and the consequences for the common food market.
“Liberalization of trade was the European Union support for Ukraine, but the cost of the support was paid mainly by the farmers in these five member states,” he said.

- As a result of the increase in overland exports from Ukraine following the Russian invasion last February, imports to EU neighbors had increased by about €5 billion compared with the previous year, he said.
“You can imagine that with €5 billion more input, it was a shock for the market in these five member states, that we why we propose special measures for these member states,” he said.

- According to the Commission, Ukrainian exports via the so-called Solidarity Lanes are mainly going to Romania, which has handled roughly 7 million mt of Ukrainian grain exported by transit. Poland has taken 700,000 mt, Hungary 300,000 mt, Slovakia 200,000 mt, and Bulgaria less than 100,000 mt. In response to the concerns raised by farmers regarding the adverse impact of imports on local markets, and unilateral bans attempted by member states, the European Commission introduced a temporary ban on imports of Ukrainian corn, wheat, rapeseed and sunseed into Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania in early May, a ban which was set to end on June 5.

- The European Commission came to this agreement provided that the five EU states did not prevent transit to other countries. When he announced the ban on May 3, the Commissioner indicated that it might be extended if the European Parliament and Council approved extending the duty-free import scheme for an additional year.

- At the same time, the Commission proposed freeing up €100 million from Common Agricultural Policy crisis funds to assist farmers in the five member states. The Ukraine Agricultural Ministry meanwhile Wednesday criticized the proposed extension of the ban as showing a lack of solidarity with Ukraine and playing into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands.
"Continuation of restrictions means putting additional weapons in Putin's hands against unity in Europe. Current restrictions must be canceled," the ministry said in a tweet.

- While transit is technically still possible through countries bordering on Ukraine, traders still face challenges as new terms and stricter conditions subject to changes have caused queues at the border, making it increasingly difficult to plan logistics.  
“This is something that needs to be discussed among the Commissioners because we need to take very seriously what was expressed today by the Ukrainian side," Commissioner Wojciechowski said.

Jun 01 - 'Granary of China' braces for more wheat-damaging rain
China's largest wheat-growing province of Henan is expected to be hit by more rain in the coming days, state weather forecasters said on Thursday, complicating efforts to harvest grain damaged by abnormally heavy precipitation in late May.Known as the "granary of China", the south of Henan had been struck by higher-than-normal rainfall in the last week of May days ahead of the harvest of wheat planted in the last winter.

May 31 - Wheat tumbles, dipping below corn for first time since 2013 on stock hangover (AgriCensus)

- US wheat futures have tumbled, falling below corn prices briefly Tuesday for the first time since 2013, as the combination of lack of demand by cash-strapped buyers and ample stockpiles put downward pressure on prices. There are massive stockpiles in major producing countries as the harvest of winter wheat approaches in Russia, the EU and the US, which should only increase excess supply in the months ahead.  
“With Russia and EU both trying to sell old crop hangover and new crop harvests of wheat, world values are under pressure,” Jeff McPike of Waseda Commodities told Agricensus.
“The US still commands a massive premium to world wheat values, so I'm not surprised to see some of that huge premium being released as the harvest nears,” McPike added.

- By 1225 Eastern time, the Kansas HRW July contract was down 37 c/bu at $7.82/bu with September down 35 c/bu at $7.79/bu. The Chicago SRW July and September contracts were down 23 c/bu at $5.93/bu and $6.07/bu, respectively.

- July corn futures were down 12 c/bu at $5.92/bu in Chicago, just a shade lower than SRW wheat.
“This just goes to show the trade looks for USDA to report a high SRW wheat yield when updated next month,” senior grain and oilseed commodity analyst at Futures International Terry Reilly told Agricensus.
“Demand is just plain awful,” Charlie Sernatinger of Marex Capital told Agricensus.

- Many of the biggest wheat importers are short the hard currency they need to purchase wheat because rising US interest rates have left them spending scarce dollars to pay for interest on loans instead of imports, Sernatinger said.
“The Egyptians are deferring payment on wheat on grains, the Tunisians don’t have dollars, the Pakistanis are a mess, the Turks are seeing the lira crash and burn again after Erdogan won reelection, the Iranians are in no danger of finding hard currency between the sofa cushions, and Bangladesh is begging India for wheat since they don’t have dollars to buy the stuff,” Sernatinger said.
"We continue to hear the “no demand” refrain from so many buyers as they try to find demand for the stocks already in hand and decline to try and catch the falling knife," McPike said.

May 31 - Hungary asks EU to extend import curbs on grains from Ukraine at least until end-2023
Hungary has asked the EU to extend import curbs on Ukraine grains and oilseed crops for five Eastern European states at least until the end of 2023, Ministry of Agriculture State Secretary Zsolt Feldman said. Feldman told state news agency MTI late on Tuesday that Hungary also asked Brussels to grant financial support to local farmers to facilitate the transport of grain stocks stuck in domestic storage before this year's harvest.  

May 31 - EU raises wheat and rapeseed crop forecasts, trims barley and maize
The European Commission has increased its monthly forecasts for this year's European Union soft wheat and rapeseed harvests, while lowering its outlook for barley and maize, data posted by the EU's executive showed. For soft wheat, the EU's main cereal crop, usable production in 2023/24 is now expected at 131.5 million tonnes, up from 130.2 million projected in late April and well above 125.7 million harvested last year, the Commission's data showed.

May 30 - Heavy rain floods China's top wheat province ahead of harvest
Heavy rain has flooded wheat fields in China's central Henan province, just days ahead of the harvest, pushing up prices and raising concerns about the quality of this year's crop in the world's top consumer of the grain. The rain, which started in the middle of last week in the southern half of Henan, is causing some of the wheat to sprout or become affected by blight, according to videos posted on social media and a local grain dealer. 

May 30 - Export prices of Russian wheat pushed lower by new crop, low demand
Export prices of Russian wheat are softening further in anticipation of a new harvest and amid low demand from global importers, analysts said. A deal to allow Ukraine to export its grain safely across the Black Sea was extended last week for two months.

May 29 - Vietnam to cut annual rice exports by 44% to 4 mln tonnes by 2030
Vietnam aims to cut its rice exports to 4 million tonnes a year by 2030, the government said in a document detailing its rice export strategy, down from 7.1 million tonnes last year. Vietnam is the world's third-largest rice exporter, after India and Thailand.

May 29 - French soft wheat crop rating steady at decade high

The condition of French soft wheat was stable in the week to May 22, holding at its best level in at least a decade, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday. An estimated 93% of soft wheat was in good or excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week, the office said in a weekly cereal report.

May 29 - Black Sea grain deal slow to get moving after extension
A deal allowing the safe wartime export of grain and fertilizer from Ukrainian Black Sea ports has not yet resumed full operations, the United Nations said on Friday, having come to a halt before Russia's decision last week to extend it. The pact called the Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July with Russia and Ukraine to try to ease a global food crisis aggravated by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, covers three ports, but no ships have been authorized to travel to Pivdennyi (Yuzhny) port since April 29, the U.N. said.

May 27 - EC mulls extending temporary import ban from Ukraine to 5 states (AgriCensus)

- The European Commission is considering extending a temporary ban on imports of key agricultural products from Ukraine into five member states following the European Council's decision Thursday to extend the duty-free import regime for Ukraine for another year.  Imports of corn, wheat, rapeseed, and sunseed were temporarily banned into Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania in early May, following pressure from farmers who claimed the imports had put extensive pressure on local markets, with the ban due to come to an end on June 5.

- Meanwhile, transit via these countries and imports to other EU member states remains possible.
“With Ukraine, the adoption of the new autonomous trade measures for another year, we have a legal basis indeed for a possible extension of exceptional safeguards,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European and Commissioner for Trade said at a press conference late Thursday following the extension of the duty-free regime.
“We have signaled the Commission's readiness to make an extension with the five state members concerned, and we are in discussion with those member states and Ukraine on this topic,” Dombrovskis said.

- Ukraine, however, remains hopeful that the ban will not continue, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine following Thursday's announcement.
“We expect that these restrictions, which are in effect until June 5 of this year, will not be extended beyond that date and will be lifted in full," the statement said.
"Otherwise, we will consider the continuation of trade restrictions as an example of double standards, which will only undermine the solidarity of the EU with Ukraine.”

- When the import ban was initially announced on May 3, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said it could be extended for as long as until the end of the year if the European Parliament and Council extended the duty-free import scheme for another year.  Other EU member states have meanwhile spoken out against the special measures put in place for the five member states.

- Earlier this month, several member states wrote to the Commission stressing the importance of common trade policies for the whole bloc.

May 26 - Malaysia's palm oil production seen falling in 2024 due to El Niño - MPOB
Malaysia's crude palm oil production could drop between 1 and 3 million tonnes next year due to the El Niño weather pattern, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said on Thursday. El Niño was unlikely to affect production this year as it takes about 15 to 18 months for the impact on production to show, the regulator's director-general Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir told reporters.

May 26 - Egypt defers payments for wheat imports amid dollar crunch
Egypt has deferred payments for its large wheat purchases, in some cases by months, according to a government official and traders, as the country grapples with a shortage of hard currency. Egypt is one of the world's biggest wheat importers and uses the purchases to make heavily subsidised bread, a politically sensitive benefit available to tens of millions of people.

May 26 - Black Sea grain deal uncertainties stall Ukraine shipments
Dozens of ships are unable to reach Ukraine, days after a Black Sea grain deal was extended and the pace of shipments is unlikely to pick up because of slow inspections and other uncertainties, according to data and three sources. Nearly 40 dry bulk vessels were stationary around Istanbul in areas that have been used for inspections by a joint inspection team representing Russia, Ukraine and Turkey as well as the UN, analysis from global trade analytics platform Kpler showed.

May 25 - What stops China from buying significantly more Russian wheat, barley? (AgriCensus)

- Chinese and Russian officials held talks in Beijing this week, where they discussed relations between the two countries and signed a number of phytosanitary documents, however, there remain some obstacles to Russia exporting significantly more grain to China, according to trade sources. Representatives of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on deepening investment cooperation in the field of service trade, according to a statement from the Chinese side. The statement also said a protocol on grain requirements had been signed by the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service of the Russian Federation and the General Administration of Customs of China, while another protocol was signed on inspection and quarantine requirements for the import of Chinese medicinal plant materials into Russia, although no further details were given.

- Back in early February 2022, the two countries already signed a document that expanded the origination options for wheat and barley imported into China, allowing those commodities to be sourced from all over Russia, which was expected to allow Russian trade to use Black Sea ports to increase shipments. However, more than a year has passed, and while wheat and barley trade between the two countries has increased compared with the previous year, it has not reached significant levels, with wheat exports pegged at 14,000 mt and barley at 78,827 mt for the whole of 2022.

- The main obstacle Russian traders face to increasing wheat exports to China is the phytosanitary requirements, as China only allows imports of wheat free from dwarf black ears disease, which suggests only spring wheat can be imported. Winter wheat is not allowed, and moreover, Chinese regulations stipulate wheat in China cannot be mixed with winter wheat or wheat from areas infected with dwarf black sheaf disease.

- Trade sources said while it is fairly easy to guarantee the absence of dwarf black sheaf disease for Siberian regions, from which deliveries are already being made by rail, it is hard to do the same for other parts of Russia. Spring wheat’s share in the country’s harvest amounts to about 45% of the total area sown, with the rest being planted with winter wheat. Sources also said that to be able to export to China, the whole logistics chain has to be authorized, including the production farm, the silo, the trader and the port used. Trade sources said that part of that work had been done already, and therefore they expect some further movements soon.
“Accreditation is going slowly. I think it will go eventually soon, not millions, of course, but at least hundreds of thousands should come out,” a local source said.

- Market sources said Novorossiysk and Taman ports had already been approved for Chinese exports. But at the same time, sources said that even if those were approved, the Chinese documents were very strict and companies needed to have the right papers to export.
"You don’t want the vessel to arrive at a Chinese port and [find you] can’t get clearance," a Chinese source said.

He also said the approval might also be seen as purely a political “gesture,” as “customs never give official clearance to Russian wheat.”
There are usually four major steps needed before a new origin can enter the Chinese market, which includes establishing phytosanitary standards, registering companies with the General Administration of Chinese Customs (GACC), Chinese state company Cofco importing the first cargo to see how the clearing process goes, and only then private traders stepping into trade, according to the sources.

- Russia has not yet reached the third step.
Currently, China allows the import of wheat from Australia, France, the US, South Africa, Turkey, Sweden, Russia, Mexico, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Italy, Hungary, the UK, Spain, Denmark and Canada.
Barley can be imported from the US, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Japan, France, Denmark, Canada, Argentina and Uruguay, while the market expects that Australian imports will be also allowed back soon following talks earlier this year

May 25 - India could consider broken rice shipments through diplomatic deals
India could consider supplying broken rice to other countries only through diplomatic channels, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, an arm of the trade ministry, said in an order on Wednesday. India banned overseas shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other grades in September 2022 amid concern over production because of below-average monsoon rainfall in key growing states.

May 25 - UN, Africa bank work to ease Russian grain, fertilizer exports
- UN official
The United Nations is working with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to create a platform to help process transactions for Russian exports of grain and fertilizer to Africa, the top U.N. trade official told Reuters on Wednesday. An agreement struck in July last year requires the U.N. to help Russia overcome any obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports for three years.

May 25 - Taiwan’s MFIG buys about 65,000 tonnes corn from Brazil

Taiwan's MFIG purchasing group bought about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to expected to be sourced from Brazil in an international tender on Wednesday, European traders said. It was believed to have been sold by trading house Amaggi.

May 24 - Russia's Uralchem readies alternative to Ukraine route for ammonia
Uralchem, Russia's biggest potash and ammonium nitrate producer, expects the opening of an ammonia export terminal near the Black Sea to make a pipeline across Ukraine much less important. Russia, the world's biggest fertiliser exporter, has repeatedly warned that Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine have hindered its global grain and fertiliser exports.

May 24 - Top palm oil buyer India's May imports set to fall to 27-month low

India's palm oil imports in May are set to fall to their lowest in 27 months as its rare premium over other edible oils prompted buyers to cancel cargoes and replace them with soyoil and sunflower oil, dealers and cargo surveyors said on Tuesday. The surprising drop in palm oil imports by India, the world's biggest importer of vegetable oils, could bring down palm oil prices.

May 24 - Ukraine says Russia prevents Black Sea grain deal port operating
Ukraine accused Russia on Tuesday of effectively cutting the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi out of a deal allowing safe Black Sea grain exports as Russia complained that it had been unable to export ammonia via a pipeline to Pivdennyi under the pact. The Black Sea deal - brokered last July by the United Nations and Turkey and extended last week for two months - covers the wartime export of food and fertiliser from the Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

May 24 - Iran's SLAL said to buy about 260,000 tonnes soymeal in tender
- traders
Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL is believed to have purchased about 260,000 tonnes of soymeal in an international tender which closed on Monday, European traders said on Tuesday. It was expected to be sourced from Argentina and Brazil for June and July shipment in four consignments, with a mix of international trading houses and local traders making sales.

May 23 - Brazil's soybean exports surge 37% on year (IHSmarkit)

- Domestic supply sufficient, overseas demand steady
- May exports set to surpass year-ago volume
- Brazil is forecast to produce a record volume in 2022-23

Brazil’s soybean exports surged 37% year on year to 9.74 million metric tons over May 1-21, data from foreign trade department Secex showed May 22, signaling higher domestic supplies of the oilseed and steady overseas demand.

Soybeans from Brazil, the world’s top supplier, have been selling at a steep discount of $40-$70 per metric tons to volumes from its biggest competitor the US in recent weeks, benefiting Brazilian farmers, commodity analysts said.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed SOYBEX FOB Santos for July deliveries at $481.46/t and SOYBEX FOB New Orleans at $519.65/t May 22.
Soybean exports surge

After a slow start to the year, Brazilian soybean exports have accelerated since March following harvest progress that was completed by late April in the key regions of the country.

Brazil exported 6 million metric tons of soybeans in January and February, down 31% on the year, Secex data showed. In March, exports rose 9% year on year to 13.3 million metric tons, while April shipments jumped 25% on the year to 14.34 million metric tons, due mainly to competitive pricing. The country is forecast to export 15.7 million metric tons of soybeans in May, up 48% on the year, Brazil’s grain exporters association Anec said May 16. The pace of Brazilian soybean exports is expected to maintain momentum over the coming weeks, market analysts said, with nearly 70% of the outflow heading for China, the world’s top importer of the oilseed.

Supply woes in drought-hit Argentina and stable demand from China indicate that Brazil is on course to register hefty exports in the 2022-23 marketing year (January-December 2023).

However, S&P Global Commodity Insights analysts are viewing the current pace of Brazilian exports with caution.
”Despite the higher pace of exports, to me, shipments out of Brazil are lower than expected given the massive crop,” said Emerson Wohlenberg, research and analysis associate director at S&P Global.

Brazil is forecast to produce a record high 154.81 million metric tons of soybeans in MY 2022-23 and export an all-time high volume of 95.07 million metric tons in the period, up 21% on the year, according national supply company CONAB.

May 23 - Some Russian wheat vessels successfully discharge in Iran, others remain stuck (AgriCensus)

- At least six wheat cargos loaded from Russia in late March-April have reached Iranian ports and were successfully discharged, while at least five vessels with Russian wheat and barley loaded between September-October 2022 are still in the Persian Gulf, line-up data shows. Russian traders sold wheat within an Iranian state tender held by the Government Trading Corporation (GTC) on March 2, where up to 700,000 mt were secured, and the line-up data available showed around 731,000 mt were loaded in Russian ports in March-early May, confirming the sale. While the vessels loaded in late April and May are still on their way to Iranian ports, the first to leave have already reached their destination and some have even moved on to new destinations.

- At the time the tender was held, trade sources were cautious about the sales, as there were up to ten vessels with Russian wheat and barley stuck in Iranian ports. But for now, the number of vessels that are still waiting has decreased to five, which are still waiting for payment and discharge. At the time the most recent tender was held, Russian wheat offers on an FOB NTTK basis were at $298/mt compared with around $350/mt FOB for the same grade back in August 2022, when the cargoes that are now stuck were reportedly traded.

Market sources said traders cannot cancel these older deals without incurring large losses since prices were significantly higher at the time the contracts were signed.

May 23 - US based Ardent Mills buys European wheat amid supply concerns (AgriCensus)

- Supply issues and high inland logistics costs have pushed the US-based flour miller Ardent Mills to turn to Europe for wheat, with up to seven cargoes of Polish and German wheat sold for deliveries in 2023, trade sources told Agricensus Monday.

- Trading giant Viterra sold some volumes of Polish wheat for May shipment, while at least two vessels of German wheat were also heard to have been purchased, but the seller’s name was not available at the time of publication, sources reported.
“It is cheaper to ship to the East Coast [from Europe] rather than bring it from Kansas,” a Europe-based trader said.
“European wheat is $100/mt cheaper; not a big deal as last week it was $130/mt, but still we can sell to any USA consumer,” another source said, referring to the price difference, as Polish 12.5% wheat was heard offered at a €9/mt premium to the September Euronext wheat futures, equating to around $250.50/mt FOB Poland for spot loading.

- Trade sources estimated freight for a handy-size vessel at around $20-30/mt to ship from northern Europe to Tampa, Florida, one of the Ardent Mills locations. On the other side, hard red winter (HRW) wheat is priced at around $359/mt FOB US Gulf, with additional railway transportation cost assessed at around $20/mt, making it uncompetitive compared to European origins. Another Ardent Mill located in Albany, New York was also said to have covered their wheat needs till the end of 2023 by shipments from Europe.

- According to the Agricensus Export Dashboard, 32,700 mt of Polish wheat sailed for the US in January 2023, while no other shipments were reported in the last ten years. Trade sources expect European wheat shipment to the US East Coast to increase as Kansas is facing the worst wheat crop since 1957 amid a severe drought and is projected to harvest just 4.84 million mt in 2023.

May 23 - Kansas farmers abandon wheat fields after extreme drought
Farmers in Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer of wheat used to make bread, are abandoning their crops after a severe drought and damaging cold ravaged farms.They are intentionally spraying wheat fields with crop-killing chemicals and claiming insurance payouts more than normal, betting the grain is not worth harvesting, Reuters found on a three-day tour of the state.

May 23 - India's wheat procurement set to fall below estimate by 20%
India's wheat procurement in 2023 could fall by a fifth from the initial estimate as government purchases have slowed down in the last few days after local prices jumped, government officials and traders told Reuters. Lower than expected purchases by the world's second biggest wheat producer could limit New Delhi's ability to intervene in the market to calm prices, which hit a record high earlier this year.

May 23 - UN concerned by lack of grain ships going to one Ukrainian port
The United Nations expressed concern on Monday that Ukraine's Black Sea port of Pivdennyi (Yuzhny) has not received any ships since May 2 under a deal allowing the safe wartime export of grain and fertilizer.  U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not say who was to blame for the lack of ships traveling to the port, near Odesa, which is also where Russia used to pump up to 2.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually for export via a pipeline from Togliati.

May 23 - Export prices for Russian wheat continue to decline after grain deal extension

Export prices of Russian wheat fell again last week as the world market eased due to good supply and an extension of the Black Sea grain deal, as well as local expectations of a cut in export duty, analysts said. The deal to allow Ukraine to export its grain safely across the Black Sea was extended last week for two months.

May 22 - Ukraine would only allow Russian ammonia exports if gets expanded grain deal
Kyiv would consider allowing Russian ammonia to transit its territory for export on condition the newly-renewed Black Sea grain deal is expanded to include more Ukrainian ports and a wider range of commodities, a government source told Reuters. The comments are the first time Kyiv has publicly laid out its stance on Russian ammonia, which Moscow wants shipped via the Black Sea under the agreement.

May 22 - Russia targets 55 mln tonnes of grain exports annually - minister
Russia plans to harvest on average around 130 million tonnes of grain a year and export up to 55 million tonnes, Russian First Deputy Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut said. She added that Moscow had managed to increase its grain exports despite some countries rejecting Russian grain because of the conflict in Ukraine, which Russia calls its "special military operation".

May 22 - China's soybean imports from Brazil fall further in April
China's soybean imports from Brazil fell 16% in April compared with the same month a year ago, data showed on Saturday, keeping supplies from the South American nation well behind last year's level after delays to its harvest. The world's top buyer of soybeans imported 5.3 million tonnes of the oilseed from Brazil, its largest supplier, versus 6.3 million tonnes a year earlier, General Administration of Customs data showed.

May 22 - South Korea’s KFA bought about 65,000 tonnes corn
- traders
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) in South Korea purchased about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from either South America or South Africa on Thursday, European traders said on Friday. It was purchased from trading house Cofco at an estimated $248.76 a tonne c&f for arrival in South Korea around Oct. 20.

May 20 - Indonesia to launch CPO trade on local exchange by end 2023 (AgriCensus)

- Indonesia's plans to launch crude palm oil trade (CPO) on a local futures exchange are expected to come to fruition by the end of the year, Didid Noordiatmoko, the country’s commodity futures regulator (Bappebti), told local news outlets Friday. Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of CPO, also said it would issue a new rule in June that would require exporters to trade CPO on local exchanges before shipping their products overseas.

- Earlier this year Bappebti announced plans to require exporters to trade CPO with overseas buyers on a local exchange before exporting it out of the country, while exporters of refined palm products were also expected to purchase their feedstock via the exchange. These measures are intended to not only make export data more transparent but also to create a CPO benchmark price traded in the Indonesian rupiah currency.  Having its own CPO benchmark pricing by the end of the year would enable the government to use local pricing as its only reference for setting export duties.

At present most Indonesian exporters conduct physical trades with buyers without an exchange, while tenders held by state trading company KPB Nusantara (KPBN) only offer spot physical palm oil volumes and not futures contracts. For the near term, Bappebti intends the exchange only to handle CPO spot trading, with futures contracts to be launched further down the road.

Indonesia’s production for 2023 is expected to slip by 1% from 2022 to 50.82 million mt, according to earlier GAPKI estimates.

Consumption is expected to slow by around 2.3% from 2022 to 50.76 million mt – 24.342 million mt to cover domestic demand and the rest for export.

May 19 - Three new ships approved for Black Sea grain deal after Russia renewal
Three new ships were authorized on Thursday to take part in a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, said the United Nations as global wheat prices fell further a day after Russia agreed to extend the pact for 60 more days. The Kremlin said on Thursday it had extended the agreement because some results from talks had given it "certain hopes", but more progress needed to be made.

 

 

May 19 - Tour estimates lowest Kansas winter wheat yield in over two decades
Wheat yield potential in Kansas was estimated at 30.0 bushels per acre (bpa) by crop scouts on an annual Wheat Quality Council tour, the lowest since at least 2000. The figure in the biggest U.S. winter wheat producer is below the five-year crop tour average of 45.62 bushels per acre from 2017-2022, reflecting the impact of months of drought. No tour was held in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May 19 - Japan buys 113,555 tonnes of food wheat via tender
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 113,555 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that closed on Thursday.  Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of its second-most important staple behind rice, buying the majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

May 19 - Ukraine reports first inbound vessels scheduled for inspections (AgriCensus)

- Ukrainian port agents reported three inbound vessels scheduled for May 19 inspections in Istanbul, signaling a resumption of inbound inspections that stopped on May 7, sources told Agricensus Thursday.

No new outbound vessels were reported scheduled for inspections by the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC).

According to the Ukrainian ports administration, a total of 69 vessels are currently waiting for inbound inspections after the market welcomed an export corridor agreement extension for another 60 days, which expires July 18.

Agricensus understands that up to ten Turkish commercial vessels, which have been stuck in the Mykolaiv and Olvia ports in Ukraine since February of 2022, will be able to finally leave, while trade sources hope the ports will be included in the agreement together with Pivdennyi, Odesa and Chornomorsk.

A total of 30.28 million mt of goods were exported from Ukraine since the export corridor was established in July 2022, United Nations (UN) data showed.

China (7 million mt), Spain (5.4 million mt), Turkey (3.1 million mt) and Italy (2 million mt) were the top destinations for Ukrainian cargoes.

May 18 - French wheat export forecasts cut further, stocks raised again
Farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday lowered its outlook for 2022/23 French soft wheat exports for the second month in a row, leading it to again increase its forecast for end-of-season stocks. In a monthly supply and demand outlook for major cereal crops, FranceAgriMer pegged soft wheat exports outside the European Union in the 2022/23 season at 10.30 million tonnes, down from 10.40 million projected in April.

May 18 - Indonesia urges importers to back sustainable palm oil, not boycotts
Indonesia, the world's largest palm oil exporter, on Wednesday urged importing countries to recognise and pay the premium for sustainably produced palm oil rather than boycotting the widely-used oil, whose production critics say has been linked to deforestation. The European Union in April approved a deforestation law to block imports of palm oil, beef, soy and other commodities if they are linked to recent destruction of the world's forests.

May 18 - South Korea’s KFA bought about 68,000 tonnes corn in private deal

The Korea Feed Association (KFA) in South Korea purchased about 68,000 tonnes of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from either South America or South Africa in a private deal on Tuesday without issuing an international tender, European traders said on Wednesday. It was purchased by the KFA’s Busan section from trading house Viterra at an estimated $258.75 a tonne c&f plus a $1.25 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading for arrival in South Korea around Oct. 20.

May 17 - Turkish president says Black Sea grain deal extended for 60 days (AgriCensus)

- An agreement has finally been reached to extend the Black Sea grain deal and allow Turkish ships stuck in the Ukrainian ports of Mykolaiv and Olvia to leave, Turkish president Recep Erdogan said on his official Twitter account Wednesday.
“Through the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends and the contribution of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to extend the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Corridor for another two months,” the statement said.

This comes just a day before the Russian deadline for renewing the previous agreement on May 18. Erdogan also said the parties involved in the deal – Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN – would continue to work to ensure all the terms of the agreement were met and the deal would be extended further.
“In addition, our Russian friends have stated that they will not interfere with the exit of Turkish ships from the ports of Mykolaiv and Olvia,” Erdogan said.
"We are grateful to them for this."

- Agricensus understands that this means Turkish vessels that have been stuck in the Ukrainian ports since the war started on February 24, 2022, will finally be allowed to leave the ports. According to trade sources, there are up to ten Turkish vessels stuck. Market sources were expecting the extension to be announced at least for another 60 days, as the belief was also that Russia would agree on this to support Erdogan’s presidential candidature, as the grain deal has been billed as one of his “achievements.”

- Maria Zakharova, the official Russian representative of the ministry of foreign affairs, confirmed the deal was extended for 60 days, but also stated that the Russian position on the deal had not changed, meaning the country would continue to demand the relaxation of a list of the current restrictions.
- Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Ukrainian infrastructure minister, also confirmed the extension of the deal until July 18 but cautioned that the Russian side had been blocking the inspection of the vessels willing to enter the black sea since April, which has hampered corridor operations.
"We welcome the continuation of the Initiative, but emphasize that it must work effectively. For this, it is necessary to eliminate the problems that Russia has been creating for several months in a row by sabotaging inspections and registering a new fleet," Kubrakov said.
"We hope that our partners will make every effort to ensure that the grain agreement starts working fully for the food security of the world and that Russia will eventually stop using food as a weapon and for blackmail."

May 17 - Subdued lead-up to the British milk production flush (IHSmarkit)

- In April deliveries totaled an estimated 1,098 million litres
- Y/y growth slowed to 0.4%
- Flush is expected to be delayed and/or subdued

- GB milk production was estimated at 1,098 million liters in April, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). This is 0.2% below what AHDB had forecast and just 0.4% higher y/y. British milk production had been in growth since September 2022, however, this latest figure shows a marked slowing.
Soumya Behera Senior Analyst at AHDB says: “Falling farmgate prices have contributed to the relatively flat volumes this month. In April, monthly daily deliveries were recorded at 0.2% (2 million liters) less than the 5-year average for April.”

The cool and wet conditions through April will have negatively impacted production, contributing to the suppressed growth. On-going pressure on farmgate prices will also be limiting production growth.

Combined these two factors will contribute to a flush that is delayed and/or below average.

May 17 - Last ship to leave Ukraine as fate of Black Sea grain deal in Russia's hands
The last ship is due to leave a port in Ukraine under a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, said a U.N. spokesperson, a day before Russia could quit the pact over obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports. The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea deal for an initial 120 days in July last year to help tackle a global food crisis that has been aggravated by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, one of the world's leading grain exporters.

May 17 - EU 2022/23 soft wheat exports at 27.17 million tonnes, up 12%
Soft wheat exports from the European Union in the 2022/23 season that started last July reached 27.17 million tonnes by May 14, up 12% compared with 24.33 million a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. EU barley exports so far in 2022/23 totalled 5.80 million tonnes, down 14% from 6.73 million a year ago.

May 17 - Tour finds wheat badly damaged by drought, cold in Kansas

Crop scouts on the first day of an annual three-day tour of Kansas projected an average yield for hard red winter wheat in the northern part of the drought-hit state at 29.8 bushels per acre, the worst for the tour's first day since at least 2003. A historically poor crop from the United States, the no. 5 wheat exporter, leaves the world more vulnerable to shortages, with the future uncertain for a deal allowing the Black Sea export of Ukraine's grain.

May 17 - In recurring fashion, wheat supplies in major exporters to hit 16-year low - Braun
Relative to demand, global wheat supplies among major exporters in 2023-24 are seen at the lightest levels since 2007-08, nearly identical to the year-ago outlook that contributed to high wheat prices.  Global wheat prices are around 45% lower now versus mid-May 2022, perhaps somewhat justified by a looser-than-expected conclusion to 2022-23.

May 16 - Ukraine official sees two possible scenarios for future Black Sea grain deal (AgriCensus)

- While there has been no official agreement yet on the future of the Black Sea grain corridor, in the worst-case scenario whereby Russia does not agree to extend the deal beyond May 18, there are two possible scenarios, Olha Trofimtseva, Ukrainian foreign ministry ambassador at large said during a media briefing Monday. There are only two days left until the 60-day period agreed by the Russian side for the current extension comes to an end on May 18, and despite much talk and speculation, there is still no official comment on what will happen after that.

- Trofimtseva said she was almost confident that Russia would extend the grain corridor agreement for at least another 60 days and would use that time to negotiate with the UN the list of demands it has put forward in return for its agreement to extend the deal. But given the “illogical” movements seen previously from Russian authorities, Trofimtseva said one cannot rule out the worst-case scenario whereby Russia will not agree to extend the deal on time, and will retreat for a few days before returning to the table, as happened back in November 2022. However, if Russia does decide to withdraw from the deal, it would mean they do not officially guarantee the safety of commercial vessels entering the Ukrainian Black Sea.

- This could mean some provocative shelling of port infrastructure, which was also seen just a day after the initial agreement was signed on July 22, 2022, which could of course affect operations and increase the tensions. Trofimtseva said she did not think Russia would be ready to attack the commercial fleet itself, however, as “most of the fleet is not Ukrainian, but international, including Turkish, Chinese, and it can be a very serious precedent that can close a lot of diplomatic talks for the country.”

- Meanwhile, the foreign ministry ambassador also indicated that the current presidential elections in Turkey could be aligned with the grain deal and prove particularly important for current President Tayyip Erdogan.
“The grain deal was shown as an achievement of the current president of Turkey on the domestic market, thus for him, it would be very important to get the deal extension, especially just prior to the second round of the elections [on May 28],” she said.

- Russia understands this and does not hide the fact it would prefer Erdogan to stay in power seeing him as a better candidate to continue relations as they are now. There is an understanding that Russia has already put a lot into supporting the current ruling political party. Meanwhile, as the talks to extend the deal re-started last week, mixed signs began to appear, with the Turkish foreign ministry saying there was a high chance the deal would be extended, while at the same time, the Russian side said it was not going to extend until their demands were met.

- At the same time, corridor operations have slowed considerably, and since May 7 no inbound vessels have been inspected by the Joint Coordination Centre nor planned for inspection, while just 29 outbound vessels were inspected out of a total 52 planned.

May 16 - Export prices for Russian wheat continue to decline on sluggish demand - IKAR
Export prices for Russian wheat continued to decline last week amid low demand and weakening global markets, and stormy weather affected volumes, analysts said. Prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content, delivered free on board (FOB) from the Black Sea in June, were $248 a tonne, down $6 from last week, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said.

May 15 - US corn, soy supplies to balloon on record harvest view - government
U.S. corn and soybean supplies were expected to rise sharply in the coming year due to forecasts for a record harvest for both crops, the government said on Friday, raising the potential for further price declines for both commodities. But wheat supplies were seen falling to their lowest in 16 years, as a severe drought in the U.S. Plains wrecked the robust harvest potential from increased acreage.

May 15 - India's April palm oil imports slump 30% to 14-month low
India's palm oil imports in April slumped 30% from a month earlier to hit a 14-month low, as the premium over rival soft oils prompted buyers to shift to sunflower oil and soyoil, a trade body said on Friday. The big drop in palm oil imports by India, the world's biggest importer of vegetable oils, could weigh on palm oil prices, which are trading near a seven-month low.

May 15 - China steps up sampling of soy cargoes, adding to costly delays, traders say
China is significantly increasing the rate of inspections on imported soybean cargoes, three soybean traders told Reuters on Friday, lengthening already slow and costly clearing times in the world's top buyer of beans. China last month introduced new procedures at customs for discharging soybeans, which had already delayed clearing times and pushed up costs for buyers of the world's most-traded protein source.

May 15 - South Korea’s NOFI buys estimated 132,000 tonnes corn in tender
Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has bought an estimated 132,000 tonnes of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America in an international tender for up to 138,000 tonnes on Friday, European traders said. The corn was bought in two consignments of 66,000 tonnes with trading house Cargill believed to be the seller of both, they said.

May 13 - Trade braces as fears Turkish sunseed import duties could rise to 27%, sunoil to 36% (AgriCensus)

Trade sources spoken to by Agricensus have said they expect the Turkish government will increase import duties on both sunflower seeds and sunflower oil to 27% and 36% respectively from June 1, after the current zeroed rate expires on May 31.
"This is the market expectation but it's not officially announced yet," a Turkey-based source told Agricensus.

Despite the fact that there has been no official notification of what the import duties will be as of June 1, 2023, Turkish sources expect that any increase in duties will slow down the pace of imports, which was expected and provided by the market.
"The market has been expecting this and the increase in duties, whatever they are, is not a surprise to us, even if a preferential rate is applied," a Turkey-based broker told Agricensus.
"The duties, which are scheduled to be introduced on June 1, should have already been taken into account by the market. With the tariffs coming into effect soon and a new harvest season starting in Turkey, it is reasonable to expect a noticable slowdown in import demand from Turkey," Yılmaz Cakabey Aytug from Naragro said.

However, that will have a significant impact on the Ukrainian sunflower oil market, as Turkey is one of the key buyers of Ukrainian flows, as well as an important link in redirecting Ukrainian sunflower oils in the Black Sea grain corridor.
“Imports will stop. Only re-exporters and transit sellers will continue buying, with 50% pace of the first five months,” Onat Angi, Chairman of Solventum AS told Agricensus.

In addition, expectations of a good sunflower harvest in Turkey this season will not influence the formation of consumer interest.
“It means Turkey would only buy if the price is competitive. On the other hand Ukraine can’t afford to lose its key buyer and thus will have to adjust the pricing lower,” Anilkumar Bagani, head of research at Mumbai-based vegetable oil broker Sunvin Group told Agricensus.

At the same time, the presence of Russian sunflower oil on the market and the willingness of Russian sellers to significantly lower prices will put pressure on prices for Ukrainian sunflower oil. According to USDA expectations, Turkey's sunflower crop this season could reach 1.9 million tons, up 8.6% from last year and one of the largest crops in at least 10 seasons. Ukrainian deliveries to Turkey from September to April of the 2022/23 season increased to 757,943 mt against 56,845 mt for the same period in the 2021/22 season.

Early January 2023 the Turkish government zeroed import duties on sunflower seeds and sunflower oil despite a record 2022/23 sunflower crop, while also prolonging the zero import taxes for grains in an effort to bring down inflation, local sources said Tuesday.

May 12 - Strategie Grains raises EU wheat crop forecast, cuts barley and maize
Strategie Grains has raised its forecast for 2023/24 soft wheat production in the European Union on favourable conditions in most of the bloc but reduced its outlook for barley and maize crops, partly due to drought in Spain. The consultancy said it now expects EU soft wheat output of 130.0 million tonnes in the 2023/24 season, up from 128.9 million forecast in April and nearly 4% above 2022/23 production.

May 12 - Brazil's Conab confirms record soybean, corn crops in May report

Conab, Brazil's food supply and statistics agency, has raised its forecast for Brazilian soybean and corn production, citing favorable conditions in spite of the effects of the La Niña weather pattern, which caused drought in the south of the country early in the season. In its May forecast report released on Thursday, Conab predicted Brazilian farmers will harvest a record 154.8 million tonnes of soybeans, 23.3% more than in the previous season, and a record 125.5 million tonnes of corn, 11% above last year.

May 12 - South Korea’s MFG buys 133,000 tonnes of corn in tender
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group has purchased an estimated 133,000 tonnes of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said. The first consignment of some 67,000 tonnes was bought at an estimated $264.27 a tonne c&f plus an additional $1.25 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading with trading house CJ International believed to be the seller.

May 11 - India’s rice exports likely to reach record in 2022-23 (IHSmarkit-USDA)

- India MY 2023-24 rice exports seen falling 6.7% on year to 21 million metric tons
- Indian milled rice production in MY 2023-24 seen at 127 million metric tons
- Prices are expected to remain steady through the third quarter of 2022-23

The Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has forecast that exports from India will reach a new record of 22.5 million metric tons in the marketing year 2022-23 (October-September). The report also gave the USDA’s forecast for 2023-24 exports, which are expected to decrease 6.7% on the year to 21 million metric tons.

India exported 9.03 million metric tons of rice during October 2022-February 2023 compared with 8.86 million metric tons during the same period of 2021-22, according to preliminary official statistics. The agency has estimated India’s milled rice production at 128 million metric tons in MY 2022-23, down by 1.1% year on year.

The USDA also forecast Indian milled rice production in MY 2023-24 at 127 million metric tons.

The USDA’s projection of rice output is slightly lower than that of government, which has pegged rice output at 130.8 million metric tons in its second advance estimates released in February.

The production estimate by USDA's India office considers the country's relatively tight rice supplies this season, which is supported by the government’s slowed MSP procurement and the rise in domestic rice prices, USDA said in the report published May 5, referring to the minimum support price in place. In MY 2022-23, India government’s rice procurement as of April 22 stood at 49.7 million metric tons, slightly lower compared to 49.9 million metric tons procured last year during the corresponding period.

The major rice producing states are reporting steady procurement, with slight declines in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab, according to USDA.

The USDA in its report has stated that despite additional procurement of rabi and summer rice in India’s eastern and southern states, government’s rice procurement in 2022-23 is likely to be estimated at 58-59 million metric tons, slightly below last year’s volume. The government-held rice stocks were at 43.4 million metric tons as of April 1, down 21% from a year ago as the government has been offloading a significant volume of its rice stocks through the national food security programs. However, the government’s rice inventories are currently three times higher than the buffer norms of 13.58 million metric tons, despite this year’s decline in stock volume.

Market prices for rice in the second quarter of MY 2022-23 were relatively firm due to strong export demand, though record domestic rice production limited the price increase. Rice prices started easing in April with the impending arrival of the rabi season rice, the report said.

The USDA forecast prices to remain steady through the third quarter of 2022-23. However, prices during the last quarter of 2022-23 will depend on the intensity of 2023 monsoon and international price movements, it said.

Last month, the Indian Meteorological Department forecast that India is likely to receive normal rains during the crucial southwest monsoon season. The IMD forecast that rain during the June-September season is likely to be 96% of the long-term average.

May 11 - Malaysia’s palm oil stocks drop to over 12-month low end-April as production struggles (IHSmarkit)

- Palm oil stocks at 1.49 million metric tons end-April
- Production down 7% on month to 1.19 million metric tons
- Market has priced in supply, stock levels: analysts

-  Malaysia’s palm oil stocks fell to a more-than-12-month low of 1.497 million metric tons in end-April, data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board showed May 10, as production for the month came off steeply and was well below market expectations. Palm oil stocks were 10.5% lower compared with 1.674 million metric tons in end-March and below the industry expectation of 1.51 million metric tons, according to a S&P Global Commodity Insights survey May 8. The last time stocks were lower was in March 2022 at 1.474 million metric tons, MPOB data showed.

Output from the world’s second largest palm oil producer and exporter fell to 1.196 million metric tons in April, the MPOB said, 7.1% lower on the month and sharply below the 1.462 million metric tons produced in April 2022.

April production was also lower than expected with analysts looking at a median output of 1.26 million metric tons, citing fewer working days during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan between March and April.

Nevertheless, the most active July crude palm oil contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives exchange fell 18 points (0.4%) by the close of the morning session at MR3,789 per metric ton ($848.87/t) May 10.

The drop in stocks was already accounted for and current soybean oil prices are bearish and not supportive, Mitesh Saiya, manager at vegetable oil trader Kantilal Laxmichand & Co., told S&P Global.

Palm, soybean, sunflower and rapeseed oils compete for a share of the vegetable oil market globally.

Malaysia’s April palm oil exports slipped 27.78% to 1.074 million metric tons, more than trade estimates of a 20% decline and below March exports of 1.486 million metric tons.
Palm oils’ premium for nearby shipments over sunflower oil and rapeseed oil is still a deal breaker and could see a further switch in flexible demand, said Anilkumar Bagani, head of research at Mumbai-based vegetable oil brokerage Sunvin Group. However, core demand has started to show signs of resumption as stocks levels, especially in India and China, are seen easing, Bagani said.

Platts assessed crude palm oil at $949 per metric ton FOB Indonesia May 9, up 4.2% from the start of the month, according to S&P Global data.

May 11 - Concerns rise over Germany’s 2023 wheat protein content (AgriCensus)

German market sources have raised concerns over the country’s upcoming wheat crop amid heavy rains, which could potentially bring higher yields but lower nitrogen levels resulting in lower protein content, trade sources told Agricensus Thursday.
“Protein in Germany is a big risk indeed, as we already had a way higher share of 11.5% wheat this season versus previous years,” one trader told Agricensus, versus a typical protein content of around 12.5%.

According to trade sources, the approximate ratio of Germany’s wheat crop is typically comprised of up to 80% of production rated at 12.5% wheat and the remaining 20% the lower 11.5% protein wheat. However, the 2022/23 season delivered around 40% and 60% respectively, resulting in Germany losing destination market share to other origins.
“Buyers like Saudi Arabia shipped from the Baltics/Poland instead [of Germany] this year,” the trader added.

With the new crop approaching, all eyes are on how the protein content will line up, with crop uncertainty keeping traders out of the market and away from active trading for July-September dates across Europe. That in itself is quite unusual for this time of the year, with sources saying German wheat is currently too expensively priced to attract any demand.

Latest selling indications for a handysize vessel of German 11.5% wheat were heard at either parity to or a slight €1/mt premium to the December Euronext wheat contract, equating to around $258-259/mt FOB Hamburg/Rostock. That makes the country uncompetitive in the destination market at the moment, as the latest tender from Algeria’s OAIC illustrates, with trades closing at $275-276.50/mt CFR for July shipment.

In the meantime, a panamax of 12.5% wheat was priced at a €7.50-8/mt premium or $266-267/mt FOB.

In its latest report, Germany’s Deutschen Raiffeisenverband (DRV) has cut the country’s wheat production forecast to 22.15 million mt, down 1.6% from last year’s 22.52 million mt, based on lower planted areas of 2.89 million ha.

May 11 - Argentina's agriculture to recover slowly despite El Niño
The El Niño weather phenomenon is unlikely to bring heavy rains to Argentina's agricultural area before September, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Wednesday, meaning the drought-hit soil will likely see a slow recovery. Argentina is one of the world's top food producers, but dry conditions over much of the past year have taken a toll on its key agricultural regions, delaying its soy and corn crops and halving last season's wheat output. 

May 11 - Turkish minister says Black Sea grain deal could be extended for two months
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday he thought the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal could be extended for at least two more months, as officials from the parties involved held the first day of talks on an extension in Istanbul. Russia has said it would not extend the pact beyond May 18 unless a list of demands is met to remove obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports.

May 10 - Trump abuse ( Bloomberg )
- Former President Donald Trump has been found liable for sexual abuse and forcible touching of author E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of attacking her in the dressing room of a Fifth Avenue department store in the 1990s and then harming her reputation by saying she’d fabricated the story when she went public with her account in 2019.
- Trump has been mandated to pay her $5 million in damages, $3 million of which for defamation. The trial brings fresh attention on Trump’s fraught history with women as he embarks on another run for the White House.

May 10 - Outbound inspections resume under Black Sea grain deal
The United Nations said inspections resumed on Tuesday of outbound vessels under a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, which Moscow has threatened to quit on May 18 over obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports. There were no inbound or outbound inspections of ships on Sunday or Monday.  

May 10 - Ukraine sunoil output could rise to 6 mln T in 2023/24
Ukraine's sunflower oil output could total 4.5-4.7 million tonnes in the 2022/23 September-August season and up to 6 million tonnes in 2023/24 as farmers plan to increase the crop area, the sunoil producers' association said on Tuesday. A major global sunoil producer and exporter before the Russian invasion, Ukraine could export 4.4-4.5 million tonnes of sunoil in 2022/23, the association said.

May 09 - European Parliament votes to support Ukraine trade into 2024 (AgriCensus)

The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to approve extending the suspension of EU import duties on Ukrainian exports of agricultural products for another year. MEPs approved the Commission’s proposal to renew Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs) for another year by a large majority.

The ATMs suspend import duties, anti-dumping duties, quotas and safeguards on Ukrainian imports and have been in force since June 2022.
The suspension of tariffs applies to fruits and vegetables subject to the entry price system, as well as agricultural products and processed agricultural products subject to tariff-rate quotas. The measures will now need to be approved also by the EU Council.
“I strongly support renewing the trade-liberalization measures that currently help ensure Ukrainian trade can continue amidst the brutal war caused by Russia,” European Parliamentary rapporteur Sandra Kalniete said in a statement.

There have been tensions recently around Ukrainian agricultural imports, with the “frontline” EU member states (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) seeking to restrict Ukrainian imports due to complaints from local farmers. The EU Commission agreed with the member states and the Ukrainian government to “propose emergency safeguard measures for the four most sensitive products - wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed.” The Commission then temporarily banned the import of these products from Ukraine to the five “frontline” EU members from May 2 to June 5, while maintaining transit of Ukrainian products via these countries. The Commission said it would reimpose preventive measures after June 5 if the “exceptional” situation continued.

A debate in the European Parliament on these measures should take place Wednesday, May 10.

May 09 - China April soy imports down 10% y/y on stricter customs checks
China's imports of soybeans fell 10% in April compared to a year ago, customs data showed, after a stricter clearance process at customs delayed processing of cargoes. The world's top soybean buyer brought in 7.26 million tonnes of the oilseed last month, significantly less than the 9 million tonnes expected by traders, based on vessel line-ups. 

May 09 - Moldovan farmers fear grain storage shortage due to Ukrainian imports
Moldova will face a shortage of storage capacity for its 2023 grain harvest if it doesn't ban imports of Ukrainian grain and oilseeds, the Moldovan farmers' union said on Monday. Moldova said late last week that it might ban imports of Ukrainian grains as local farmers were facing losses due to a drop in global prices.

May 09 - Why eastern Europe's grain producers face a perfect storm
Farmers in Poland and other eastern European countries who held out for higher prices have been hit by a perfect storm. A jump in exports from Brazil and Russia helped to drive global grain prices lower while the EU opened its borders to tariff-free Ukrainian grain imports in a show of solidarity after Russia blocked the country's Black Sea ports.

May 09 - Asia rice output turns corner as farmers expand planting
Asia's rice output is set to climb this year as higher prices spur farmers to expand acreage and use more fertilizer, easing supply concerns after production suffered its first decline in seven years in 2022. Production from recently harvested off-season rice crops in India and Thailand, the world's top two exporters, has exceeded last year's levels, and farmers are gearing up for main crops to be planted in coming months, with prices hovering near two-year highs.

May 08 - Algeria issues tender for 50,000 mt wheat for July shipment (AgriCensus)

- Algeria’s state grain importer launched a fresh tender for milling wheat for July shipment on Monday. The Office Algerien Interprofessional des Cereales (OAIC) issued the tender and invited offers for a nominal 50,000 mt of optional origin milling wheat for shipment during the July 1-15 and July 16-31 periods. If the wheat is coming from South America, India, or Australia the date will be advanced by a month.

- OAIC requested US hard red winter wheat #2, Canadian western red spring #2, or similar grades from other exporters. The tender is set to close on Wednesday, May 10, and typically the agency purchases substantially more than 50,000 mt. At its latest tender, which was for small ports, OAIC booked an unspecified amount of wheat for May 16-July 31 delivery and paid in the range of $295-296/mt CFR, with the expected source being EU members along the Black Sea.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Algeria is expected to import around 8.2 million mt in the 2022/23 marketing year, the highest level since 2016/17

May 08 - Increase in Thai rice prices despite weak demand (IHSmarkit)

- Demand for Thai rice was reported lower due to high prices
- Exporters were reluctant to lower their prices despite sufficient supplies
- Platts Thai 5% broken white rice ended the week up $6

Despite a quieter market due to the public holiday on May 4, Thai white rice prices closed higher in the week to May 5.
Demand remained low as prices given by exporters were too high. A trader said that they had “no demand” for 5% broken white rice.
However, most exporters were reluctant to lower their prices as the baht was strong against the dollar and as the local market remained firm.

Rice supply in Thailand was reported sufficient but millers continued to keep their offer prices at high levels while covering shipments to Indonesia, Iraq and South Africa.
Platts Thai 5% broken white rice closed the week assessed at $490 per metric ton FOB, up $6 from the previous week.

Hom Mali prices were supported by an increase in local prices. Platts Hom Mali 100% Grade B closed the week assessed unchanged at $819/t FOB FCL.

May 08 - Shipments from Ukraine slowing as Black Sea grain deal deadline nears
The pace of shipments from Ukraine under a U.N.-backed initiative has slowed as concerns grow over ships getting stuck if a deal is not renewed later this month, according to sources and data. Russia, which is one of the key parties involved, said it will keep talking although Moscow has threatened to quit on May 18, which has created more uncertainty for traders and shipping companies trying to plan ahead.

Ukraine 2022/23 grain exports at 42.5 mln T as of May 5
- ministry
Ukraine's grain exports for the 2022/23 season stood at 42.5 million tonnes by Friday, Agriculture Ministry data showed. The volume in the July-to-June season so far included about 14.6 million tonnes of wheat, 25.1 million tonnes of corn and about 2.5 million tonnes of barley.

May 08 - Tunisia buys about 100,000 T durum and 75,000 T barley
– traders
Tunisia's state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 100,000 tonnes of durum wheat and around 75,000 tonnes of animal feed barley in an international tender on Friday, European traders said. The durum was said to have been bought in four consignments of 25,000 tonnes.

May 05 - Argentina's corn crop forecast may face fresh cut on drought impact
The forecast for Argentina's current corn crop could face yet another reduction, below the 36 million tonnes seen in a recent estimate, due to lingering impacts from a devastating drought, a key grains exchange said in a weekly report on Thursday. The South American agricultural powerhouse is the world's third-largest corn exporter. 

May 05 - Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and UN to discuss grain deal on Friday
Technical personnel from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations will meet on Friday to discuss a deal that allows the exports of Ukrainian grains on the Black Sea, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said. The evacuation of Turkish-flagged ships and grain shipments from Black Sea ports as part of the deal will be discussed, Akar said.

May 05 - Rare 55k mt South African corn cargo arrives to China (AgriCensus)

A rare South African corn cargo has arrived at a Chinese port containing more than all the previous volume China has imported of that origin in total, trade sources said on Thursday.

A cargo of 55,000 mt South African corn was delivered to Machong port on Thursday, with trade sources saying that state company Cofco even held a ceremony to mark the occasion.
Trade sources said that the cargo was booked a month or two ago, and at that time South African origin was calculated to be the most attractive for the current shipment dates, while for now, it is again South American one that wins the competition.

South African corn was approved for import into China some years ago, but the total amount imported during the last ten years was only 37,800 mt.
“Cofco has signed a yearly committed volume with South Africa to get the best price from this origin. Maybe it helps them to get the cheap price,” a trader said.
Thus, possibly, more such shipments can be expected.

- South Africa expects to have a bumper corn crop in 2023/24 MY at 15.89 million mt, which is slightly higher than last year’s and 12% higher than the five-year average result.
- Meanwhile, China has been widening the list of approved import origins. After months of talks the country finally approved Brazil origin for import last year, with the first 3.8 million mt of corn already imported between November 2022 and February 2023.

May 04 - Hemp legalization revives the Italian industry (IHSmarkit)

- Planted area: 4,000 hectares
- Main origins: Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, Puglia and Sicily
- Main varieties: Antal, Carmagnola, Carmagnola Selezionata, Dioica 88, Eletta Campana, Fedora 17, Felina 32, Fibranova, Finola, Futura 75, Kompolti, Tiborszallasi, Tisza and Uso 31

Italy’s hemp planted area has reached 4,000 hectares and 800 farms since the government legalized the cultivation in 2017, according to the USDA in a production report.
The average yield ranges from 350-650 kg/hectare.

Italy became one of the largest European hemp producers in the 1940s with 100,000 hectares, focused on producing textiles and ropes for the naval industry. The combination of the irruption emergence of synthetic fibers and the Italian ratification of international agreements about narcotics since the 1950s reduced the planted area to 400 hectares.

Currently, the main origins are Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, Puglia and Sicily. The main hemp varieties cultivated in Italy are Antal, Carmagnola, Carmagnola Selezionata, Dioica 88, Eletta Campana, Fedora 17, Felina 32, Fibranova, Finola, Futura 75, Kompolti, Tiborszallasi, Tisza and Uso 31.

The law allows growers to plant only hemp varieties registered in the EU’s “Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species”, following article 17 of the European Council Directive number. 2002/53. The Italian Ministry of Health does not require any authorization to cultivate hemp plants containing a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content ranging from 0.2-0.6%.

Growers are required to keep the seed tags and related invoices for at least twelve 12 months. The Forestry department oversees checking compliance with the current legal framework.

The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) annulled a national decree of January 2022 that limited hemp production to the use of seeds and seeds derivatives on 14 February 2023. The January 2022 decree aimed to place the cultivation, processing, and marketing of ‘non-narcotic’ hemp leaves and inflorescences under the umbrella of narcotics, meaning operators would be required to seek authorization from the Ministry of Health, or face penalties.

TAR’s ruling authorized the use of the whole hemp plant in Italy (including leaves and inflorescences), bringing the country in line with EU regulations.

Hemp-derived products include food, cosmetics, semi-finished products (such as fibers, powders, wood chips, oils or fuels), organic material for bioengineering and green building works, green manure, ornamental plants and crops used for research and educational activities.

Italy has approximately 2,000 hemp shops, delivery services and vending machines, selling hemp inflorescences and leaves as ‘collectors’ items’.

Trade regulation
Hemp imports are subject to an import license requirement, following article 189 of the EU Regulation No. 1308/2013. In addition:
- Hemp seeds for planting (HS code 12079920) must be accompanied by proof that the THC content of the variety concerned does not exceed 0.3%;
- Hemp seeds other than for planting (HS code 12079991) may be imported only by authorized importers who must submit proof that the seeds have been placed in a condition that excludes use for planting;
- Raw true hemp (HS code 53021000) must have a THC content not exceeding 0.3%;
- Delegated regulation number 2016/1237 requires that the release for free circulation of hemp products with HS codes 12079920, 53021000 and 12079991 shall be subject to an import license.

May 04 - Bunge quarterly profit tops estimates on strong demand; 2023 outlook unchanged
Agricultural commodities trader Bunge Ltd beat Wall Street estimates for first-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by strong crush margins in North America and Brazil as well as high demand for food, feed and biofuels. But earnings were down from a record first quarter last year due to weaker oilseed processing results in Asia, Europe and drought-hit Argentina and disruptions to grain flows caused by the war in Ukraine. 

May 04 - Agritel ups Ukraine wheat crop forecast on higher area estimate
French consultancy Agritel raised its forecast for this year's Ukrainian wheat crop to 16.34 million tonnes, from 15.04 million pegged in November, to take account of a higher-than-expected area to be harvested, it said on Wednesday. The estimate, which only includes regions that are controlled by war-hit Ukraine, compares to 20.5 million tonnes harvested in 2022, Agritel, Argus Media's agriculture analytics arm, said.

May 03 - Spanish drought could drive higher grain imports (AgriCensus)

- Unseasonal heat and drought in Spain have driven concern about this year's crop production and a potential increased need for imports, at a time when there is also growing concern about the Ukrainian grain corridor. The April EU Monitoring Agricultural Resources report (MARS) said no meaningful rainfall had occurred in Spain's main cropland area since January.
Soil moisture is now critically low for winter crops and spring barley with negative impacts on growth and development, the Mars report said.
“The drought is already suffocating 60% of the Spanish countryside and has caused irreversible losses to more than 3.5 million ha of non-irrigated cereal crops," the Spanish agricultural union COAG warned last week.
"Weather is dry and untypically hot in Spain, we might see a really bad crop this year," a Europe-based broker meanwhile told Agricensus.

- The European Commission April crop forecasts call for soft wheat production in Spain to fall to 4,952,000 mt in 2023 from 5,388,000 mt in 2022, itself a sharp fall from 7,455,000 mt in 2021. There has also been concern that production of other crops could be affected. MARS already warned of "an impact on areas and type of spring sowing in the southern provinces of Spain, where maize and rice will partly be replaced by sunflowers and other water stress resistant crops and part of the land might not be sown at all.” The Spanish government has requested that farmers get support from the crisis reserve fund of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) because of the exceptional circumstances.

Trade expects increased imports
- Trade sources have suggested that lower production may cause an increase in feed grain imports, including those from Ukraine, but also from Brazil which is expecting a large corn harvest.
“Spain experienced a dramatic drought that sharply reduced grain crops, increasing the country’s grain shortfall,” the US Department of Agriculture’s Grain and Feed Annual noted, adding that this, in turn, drove Ukrainian imports.

- Fastmarkets data shows that in 2022 Ukrainian wheat exports to Spain grew 627% to 1,154,273 mt from 158,681 mt in 2021.
- The USDA also said Spain had benefitted from the implementation of the Black Sea grain corridor, which came in time to help it during last year’s drought.
- Spain has been the second biggest beneficiary of the grain corridor after China, with official data showing it has imported 5.1 million mt of products under the corridor since it opened last August, of which 1.9 million mt was wheat.

Trade sources have expressed their concern to Agricensus about the current uncertainty around the grain corridor in the Black Sea, with Spanish buyers looking to Ukraine as a backup in the likely event that Spanish production is again affected by drought.

May 02 - Strategie Grains raises EU rapeseed crop forecast to 20 mln T
Consultancy Strategie Grains raised its forecast for 2023 European Union rapeseed production this year to 20.0 million tonnes from 19.5 million a month earlier, citing favourable crop conditions in much of Europe. The revised forecast was also above estimated 2022 output, which Strategie Grains put at 19.4 million tonnes. 

May 02 - US wheat ratings inch higher; corn and soy planting progress
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday rated 28% of U.S. winter wheat in good to excellent condition, up 2 percentage points from last week following much-needed rains in the Plains, but still among the lowest on record for this time of year. The wheat ratings matched the average expectation in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

May 01 - Deal reached in principle to resume Ukraine grain transit with 5 EU countries
The European Commission said on Friday it had reached a deal in principle to allow the transit of Ukrainian grain to resume through five European Union countries that had imposed restrictions. Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia cited concerns that grain from Ukraine meant to be exported to other countries had ended up in their local markets, which was pushing down prices for local farmers. 

May 01 - Funds restore bearish views in CBOT corn, ease bullishness in beans, meal - Braun
Speculators’ views in Chicago-traded soybeans and soybean meal last week fell to the least bullish levels since November, while funds cranked up bearish bets in CBOT wheat and returned to the short side in corn. Money managers’ net longs in beans, meal and Kansas City wheat as of April 25 still outweighed the net shorts in CBOT and Minneapolis wheat, corn and soybean oil, but the combined net long dipped below 30,000 futures and options contracts for the first time since August 2020.

Apr 28 - Soybean premiums rebound on lower farmer selling in Brazil (AgriCensus)

Spot basis premiums for Brazilian soybeans on a CFR China and FOB Santos basis have rallied sharply over the last couple of days rising to levels 30-50 c/bu higher than at the start of the week on slower farmer selling and collapsing underlying futures prices, market sources said on Friday.

June cargoes were heard traded up from a 30 c/bu discount to a 10 c/bu discount to July futures CFR China overnight Wednesday to Thursday, with bids seen Friday at a 5 c/bu discount against offers at a 2 c/bu premium.

On an FOB Santos basis, trade was heard Thursday at 150 c/bu under July futures for May/June and at 130 under July futures for June, up about 30 c/bu.

Market sources said less aggressive selling by farmers and traders this week was one reason for the recovery in premiums.

Apr 28 - Russia demands full implementation of Black Sea grain deal
Only its full implementation can save the Black Sea grain deal from collapse, Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday, reaffirming Moscow's dissatisfaction with an accord that aims to prevent a global food crisis. The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, allows Ukrainian grain trapped by the conflict to be safely exported from the country's Black Sea ports. 

Apr 28 - More US corn sales to China canceled as Brazil harvest nears
Chinese importers have scrapped more U.S. corn purchases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed on Thursday, the latest in a series of cancellations as the major feed grain buyer awaits newly harvested grain from Brazil. The USDA, in a daily "flash sales" announcement, said sales of 233,000 tonnes of corn slated for export to China in the 2022/23 marketing year were canceled.

Apr 28 - Proposed EU Ukraine import bans could push crush to northwest Europe (AgriCensus)

- Import bans on key agricultural products sought by EU countries bordering on Ukraine could push cheaper oilseed supply to northwest Europe, giving them an advantage in terms of crush margins, sources told Agricensus on Thursday. Several member states have taken steps to curb imports, mostly while maintaining transit options, and these measures could potentially be formalized if the EU approves a temporary, limited ban proposed this week by the European Commission. After a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, during which measures were discussed, Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said that the current European Commission proposal on the table was for a temporary import ban on five products – wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seed, and sunflower oilseeds – into the five member states most affected by imports – Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland.

- These products account for about 90% of all imports from Ukraine into the EU.
“If the ban really comes in place, the crushing margins will move to Rotterdam and Germany,” a Bulgarian trader said. Bulgarian crushers, who have benefitted from cheap imports from Ukraine, are particularly concerned. The import flow slowed down earlier this month, when Bulgaria’s government introduced additional quality inspections to be carried on the border as the trucks arrived, followed by a complete ban implemented on April 25, with around 300 Ukrainian trucks expecting quality test results now.
"We will be monitoring the situation, expecting some changes in the sunflower seeds imports policy within the next couple of weeks,” another Bulgaria-based trader told Agricensus.
"We have seen farmers protesting; maybe crushers will do the same," he added.

- Crushers boosted processing and increased margins in sunflower oil sales after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, leading Ukraine to export more sunflower seed and less sunflower oil, with almost 1 million mt of seeds imported throughout the year. Bulgaria’s crushing capacity is around 2.5-3 million mt of sunflower seeds annually, with stocks estimated at around 1.2-1.3 million mt now, while just 300,000-400,000 mt of seeds are in crushers’ hands, sources said.
“Some big [crushing] plants will go into maintenance from next week, leaving the market with no buyers for about three-four weeks, as they will try to punish the farmers in some way [for not selling the seeds],” a source said.
“Buyers do not want to overpay due to this forced ban only because of some farmers' protests, what is happening here is not market-oriented, it is not right at all,” they added.

- Both inland and waterway logistics are other key factors for grain and oilseed supplies to Europe, with market participants foreseeing a pessimistic future for Ukraine’s export corridor, amid unstable vessel inspections in Istanbul and an unclear extension situation after May 18.
“Let’s see how flexible the guys at the Polish border will be,” a Germany-based crusher told Agricensus, commenting on an unclear transit agreement between Poland and Ukraine in case of an import ban to Poland.

- Some doubt over whether the import ban will be approved by the EU remains meanwhile, as it could suggest a weakening of support for Ukraine at a crucial time for the country.
Moreover, there are other proposals on the table, including activating Common Agricultural Policy crisis funds to provide further financial support for farmers affected by Ukrainian imports.
“For early crop barley, rapeseed, and wheat, they will need the green border trade if the [Black Sea grain initiative] export corridor is closed,” the Germany-based crusher added.

- The Black Sea grain corridor is currently at a virtual standstill, with Russia threatening to pull the plug after mid-May, leaving Ukraine once more reliant on shallow water ports and overland routes.

Apr 27 - US allowed JPMorgan payment route for Russian grain export
The United States gave JPMorgan permission to process payments for agricultural exports via the Russian Agricultural Bank, but the arrangement was no substitute for reconnecting the bank to the SWIFT system, two Russian sources told Reuters. Access to the SWIFT payment system for the Russian Agricultural Bank is one of Moscow's main demands in negotiations over the future of the Black Sea grain export deal, which the United Nations says helps to tackle a global food crisis that has been aggravated by the Ukraine war. 

Apr 27 - Big Brazilian crop may lure bears back to the US soybean market -Braun
Commodity funds have been bullish in Chicago soybeans for three consecutive years now, and despite a rout in futures last month, funds’ soy views as of last week were essentially unchanged from mid-March. As of Wednesday, CBOT soy futures had closed lower for six consecutive sessions, losing a total of 5%. That is similar in strength to the late-March downturn, but both nearby and deferred contracts remain above their March 24 lows.

Apr 27 - EU could introduce limited, temporary ban on Ukraine grain imports (AgriCensus)

- The European Union could be close to implementing a temporary, limited ban on agricultural imports from Ukraine in a bid to placate farmers in several member states bordering on Ukraine who say imports have depressed the local market and caused them losses, Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski indicated late Tuesday. Wojciechowski said following a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, at which measures were discussed, that the current European Commission proposal on the table was for a temporary import ban on five products – wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seed, and sunflower oilseeds – into the five member states most affected by imports – Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland.

- These products account for about 90% of all imports from Ukraine into the EU. Imports into other member states would not be affected under the current proposal and it is understood transit via EU member states to third countries would still be allowed. The Commissioner said that a few ministers from these five countries were pushing to add other products, such as sugar, honey, milk products, and poultry meat to the list of banned imports, but he did not consider this to be necessary. Wojciechowski expects that the EU will approve the ban, possibly as early as next week. If approved, it is likely to take effect from June 5 and could run until the end of 2023.
"Everything shows that this decision will be approved by member states," he said.

- The Commission has also proposed additional financial aid for farmers of around €100 million ($110.5 million), to be taken out of Common Agricultural Policy crisis funds. Before this meeting, the leaders of the five EU member states called on the European Commission last week to take action against the duty-free imports of Ukrainian grain into Europe. The leaders argued that an influx of grain was causing financial harm to local farmers. All five countries said they felt the proposed support of €100 million would be insufficient.

Proposal follows unilateral bans
- Before the appeal, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Bulgaria had already imposed a unilateral ban on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine.
"We don't have time to react because the new crop will be harvested very soon. We already know that corridors of solidarity do not work as they were intended," Bulgarian Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev told the meeting.
"New measures are needed. We should also think about funds that would guarantee the markets of Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary," Gechev said.

- The Bulgarian minister also explained that while the market disruptions are currently experienced primarily by the countries directly bordering Ukraine, the situation could spread to other parts of the European Union in the future.

- According to Hungarian Minister of Agriculture István Nagy, while no formal EU solution has been reached, Hungary intends to uphold its ban on importing grain from Ukraine. Nagy said of the meeting that the direction of the negotiations was promising, stating that the EU has acknowledged the unilateral bans imposed by member states on Ukrainian agricultural imports and accepts the coercive measures taken.
"The EU has recognized the seriousness of the situation, understands the member state's decision, and is looking for solutions that allow the measures to be maintained," he told Hungarian journalists in Luxembourg.
"We are together, and the most important thing is that we talk together. We are fighting in solidarity for our cause," Polish Minister Ryszard Telus said ahead of the Tuesday meeting.
"The European Union has already agreed to some of our proposals," he said, adding that "although some products have already been included in the list for discussion, we still have others we want to fight for together."

- Commissioner Wojciechowski and ministers from several member states reiterated their solidarity with Ukraine, meanwhile. In a statement released ahead of the meeting German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir said solidarity with Ukraine remained the top priority and a coordinated and rule-based European approach was needed.
"There must be no slacking off in the development of solidarity lanes, and I would appreciate it if the Commission coordinated this more closely," he said.

- The Czech minister expressed similar support.
"Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the Czech Republic has supported Ukraine and we will continue to do so,” Minister of Agriculture Zdeněk Nekula said.
“Trade liberalization and the so-called solidarity route are essential tools for global food security. But there is a need for the routes to serve the transit of agricultural products to countries that urgently need Ukrainian production."
Nekula said clear rules needed to be set for the EU as a whole.
“The debate on this topic was very comprehensive and I expect the Commission to come up with a pan-European solution that will work in the long term," said Nekula.
It is important to note that any proposals and any EU solution would need to be approved by the ministers of the EU member states.

Market skeptical
- Many market sources said they doubted it would come to a ban, meanwhile.
“We sent weapons to Ukraine, insist on export corridors to feed the world and we ban imports? It makes zero sense,” one German broker said.
“It seems strange that in a common market, some member states can decide themself what they prefer to do,” another said.
Others pointed out that transit was the key, as it would allow Ukraine to continue exporting via the EU without affecting the flow of local agricultural products out of the bloc.
At the time of publication, Euronext milling wheat was trading only slightly firmer, with May up €1.25/mt at €244/mt and September up €0.25/mt at €243/mt.

- Euronext rapeseed was much higher, but this followed a sharp fall in prices just before the close Tuesday. The May rapeseed contract was trading at €458.25/mt at the time of publication, up €16/mt on the previous settlement, while August was at €447/mt, up €10/mt.

Apr 26 - US corn growers face multiple woes amid China cancellation, Brazil threat (AgriCensus)

The cancellation of a US corn sale to China could be the first in a series of hits that US corn exporters may face in the months ahead, as surging Brazilian production eats into market share and adds to downward pressure on prices, market participants told Agricensus. Private exporters reported the cancelation of sales of 327,000 mt of corn for China during the 2022/23 crop year, with confirmation coming through a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) update on Monday. The cancelation came just weeks after Chinese sources had booked millions of tonnes of US corn in a move that renewed signs of demand and provided support to Chicago futures.
“The China corn cancellations are a big deal. While it wasn't a huge amount the concern is that there could be more cancellations coming,” Ted Seifried of Zaner Ag Hedge told Agricensus.

Corn futures dropped in Chicago on Monday after the Chinese announcement, with the May contract falling 12 cents per bushel (c/bu) to settle at just above $6.51/bu, while July futures declined by nearly 8 c/bu to settle at more than $6.07/bu. Corn prices have been supported by a wave of Chinese purchases that began March 14 and have totaled 3.53 million mt (140 million bushels) for delivery during the 2022/23 marketing year, sources said.
“We think more China corn cancellations are coming, but not for a while as this was a big cancellation. Just 10 days ago they bought a little more than what was canceled this morning,” Terry Reilly, senior grain and oilseed commodity analyst at Futures International, told Agricensus.

US growers will soon be facing what’s expected to be a record Brazilian corn crop this marketing year, and feel the impact of record soybean production, which is leading to a shortage of storage capacity in the South American country.
“The economics of those purchases seemed to be a little suspect for US origin versus cheaper Brazil supplies in the first place with the justification being a Brazilian production hedge or perhaps a lifting/capacity question from Brazil,” Kelly Herrick of Advance Trading said in an interview with Agricensus.   Some analysts and brokers suspect that the Chinese purchases were a hedge against concerns about infrastructure and weather in South American exporters.
“China had been on a streak of buying US corn, presumably to get them by until the second season Brazilian crop was available. It is a possibility, however, that some or a good amount of the purchases could have been a hedge for them against any weather issues in Brazil,” Seifried said.

The harvest of Brazil’s second corn crop, the safrinha, which begins in June and will gather steam in July is expected to rise to an all-time high of 95.3 million mt, according to the country’s food agency Conab.
“Seems like they have been able to secure 5-10 million bushels per week [127,000-254,000 mt] from Ukraine of late so between that and what they have on the books with the US it may be enough to tie them over until the Brazil safrinha harvest gets into the pipeline,” Advance Trading's Larry Shonkwiler told Agricensus. In Brazil, the FOB Santos corn market has tumbled over the past two weeks, with July offers reported at a 5 c/bu premium to the July CME futures contract Monday, down from an 80 c/bu premium on April 13.

July is trading at a 25 c/bu discount to the same underlying contract.

“Part of the collapsing Brazilian FOB premium is linked to persistent strength in US futures. US ending stocks are forecast at multi-year lows in 2022/23, so prices are keeping exports uncompetitive to preserve domestic supply," senior commodity analyst at Oldendorff, told Agricensus.
“Hearing Brazil is becoming aggressive in marketing of corn with 100 c/bu cheaper values offered. Brazil’s crop will be large enough to continue to be offered into the world export market and will limit US exports in the near term.,” Brian Hoops, president at Midwest Market Solutions, told Agricensus.
“So, at the very least it probably puts a halt to discussion of any additional US corn sales to China which suddenly makes the USDA export target look more unlikely with other Asian sales lagging so much,” Herrick said.

The Chinese cancellation also added to speculation that the USDA will have to lower its 2022/23 corn marketing year export forecast of 48.9 million mt when the projection is revisited in the next World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (Wasde) report on May 12.  
“This could pave the way for USDA to lower their crop year corn export projection next month. Inspections still show shipments running 50 percent below USDA’s export projection,” Reilly said, in a move that would likely boost ending stocks and weigh on sentiment.

Accumulated exports for the current marketing year stood at 22.6 million mt in the week ending April 13, down by 38% from 36.6 million mt at the same point of last year, according to USDA data released April 20.

Apr 26 - ADM profit tops forecasts, shares drop as outlook disappoints
Archer-Daniels-Midland beat Wall Street expectations on Tuesday with a record first-quarter profit but its shares fell as it forecast full-year earnings below some analyst estimates and investors focused on thinner oilseed crush margins. A record-large Brazilian soybean crop and strong exports lifted earnings in the grain merchant's Ag Services and Oilseeds segment, its largest by revenue and volumes, more than offsetting weaker results in its ethanol and nutrition businesses.

Apr 26 - Russia's Lavrov blames West for deadlock over future of Black Sea grain deal
Moscow has seen "practically no results" from a pact with the United Nations that aimed to help Russia's grain and fertilizer exports and blamed Western countries for creating a deadlock, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. Russia has signaled that unless a list of demands is met to remove obstacles to those exports, it will not agree to extend a related deal beyond May 18 that allows the safe wartime export of grain from Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

Apr 26 - Turkey imposed a 130% import tariff of some grain imports
including wheat and corn, according to a presidential decision published on Tuesday in the Official Gazette. The import duty comes after some European Union countries announced bans on grain imports from Ukraine last week. But some traders said Turkey's move is largely to protect its local agricultural sectors ahead of landmark May 14 elections.

Apr 26 - Ukraine 2023/24 wheat exports seen falling 37% to 8.8 mln T - APK Inform
Ukraine's wheat exports are likely to fall 37% to 8.8 million tonnes in the 2023/24 July-June season due to an expected drop in the harvest and ending stocks, APK-Inform consultancy said on Tuesday. In its first forecast for the 2023/24 season, the consultancy said Ukraine's overall grain harvest could fall by 13% to 45.6 million tonnes from the previous season, including 16.2 million tonnes of wheat, 5.2 million tonnes of barley and 22.9 million tonnes of corn.

Apr 25 - Corn, soybeans target longs as China buys US and wheat diverges (AgriCensus)

- A burst of Chinese buying of US corn and the release of the April update to the USDA’s influential supply and demand report was enough to support investors holding long positions for corn and soybeans in the week to April 18, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. The commitment of traders data, released late Friday, also showed a continuing divergence in wheat outlooks, as Chicago soft red wheat futures sank deeper into net short, Kansas hard red winter moved further into net long and Minneapolis was held in near-perfect balance.

- Starting with corn, the recent burst of buying from China alongside the paring back of Argentinian production estimates that fed into reduced ending stock estimates lured managed money investors into adding 7,225 new long contracts over the week. However, the move was underpinned by the loss of 15,097 short positions in the same week, enough to take total longs to 220,716 – an eight-week high – and reduce shorts to 171,282. That took the net long to 49,434 over the week – up 22,322 on the previous week and marking the third straight week back in an overall net long stance.

- Soybeans reported a similar dynamic – again, also largely reflected revised outlooks for Argentinian soybean output – but investors added both long and short positions over the week, the data showed. A slim 1,561 new short positions were added to take the total to 19,191 lots – but were comprehensively overwhelmed by the addition of 11,321 new long positions that took the total to 153,973. That delivered a 9,760 increase to the net long which rose to 134,782,

- Finally, the three US-based wheat contracts delivered three different paths over the week, as fear of Black Sea oversupply, increased ending stocks and drought conditions in parts of the US pulled investors expectations. Starting with Chicago, investors were again divided and added both long and short positions over the week – although a slight preference for longs ensured that the prevailing net short position was marginally reduced. Some 4,239 new long contracts were added to take the total to 60,545 lots, while 2,975 new short positions ensured the total shorts remained well ahead as the total topped 163,528. That left the net short at 102,983 – down just 1,264 on the previous week.

- Moves on both Kansas and Minneapolis were relatively light over the week, as investors added longs and closed shorts on Kansas, and closed out both long and short positions in Minneapolis. Investors added 827 new long positions to take the Kansas total to 38,168, while 535 short positions were closed out over the week to reduce the total to 27,577 lots, boosting the net long to 10,591. Finally, Minneapolis investors reduced long positions by 437 to 9,040, and short positions by 230 to 9,002 to leave the balance evenly poised with a net long of just 38.

Apr 25 - U.S. winter wheat ratings decline to worst since 1989
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday rated 26% of U.S. winter wheat in good to excellent condition, the lowest for this time of year since 1989, due to prolonged drought. The wheat ratings, which reflected dry and windy conditions in key portions of the Plains wheat belt, were down 1 percentage point from a week ago and matched the average expectation among 11 analysts polled by Reuters.

Apr 25 - Rain helps EU crops but Spain and north Italy stay dry - monitor
Rainfall in the past month has benefitted cropland in much of the European Union but Spain and northern Italy remain affected by drought that could lead farmers to rethink spring planting plans, the EU's crop monitoring service said on Monday. Substantial precipitation since March has boosted soil moisture in much of the continent after a dry end to winter, though wet conditions coupled with cool temperatures have slowed spring sowing, the MARS service said in a monthly report.

Apr 25 - Russian wheat export prices extended fall last week on low demand, analysts say
Export prices of Russian wheat continued to decline last week as low demand outweighed the impact on the market of uncertainty over whether the Black Sea grain deal will be extended, analysts said. Prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content, delivered free on board (FOB) from Black Sea ports, were $265 a tonne, down $6 from last week, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said.

Apr 24 - Russia's Medvedev warns Moscow will scrap grain deal if G7 bans exports
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that if the G7 moved to ban exports to Russia, Moscow would respond by terminating the Black Sea Grain deal that enables vital exports of grain from Ukraine. The Group of Seven (G7) countries are considering a near-total ban on exports to Russia, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported last week, citing Japanese government sources. Russia has repeatedly threatened to scrap its participation in the grain deal, which is due to expire on May 18. 

Apr 24 - Argentina's wheat planted area seen growing to 6.7 million hectares in 2023/24 season
Argentina is expected to plant 6.7 million hectares of wheat in the 2023/24 season, above the 6.1 million hectares planted in the previous season, the Buenos Aires grain exchange said in a report on Friday. Farmers in Argentina, a key global supplier of wheat, will begin planting their first lots of the new crop in the second half of May, following a historic drought that devastated the sector and practically cut the 2022/23 season's wheat harvest in half to 12.4 million tons.

Apr 21 - Brazil soy premiums nosedive amid super crop, weaker Chinese demand
Brazilian soybean port premiums have fallen to historical lows in recent days amid lukewarm Chinese demand while the country reaps a record crop, analysts and traders said. The premiums fell to their lowest point in 19 years, according to data from Cepea/Esalq, a research center at the University of Sao Paulo, going as low as -200 basis points per bushel this week in ports like Paranagua for May shipments, surprising some by the magnitude of the decline.

Apr 21 - Hungary calls for EU aid to help Ukrainian grain transit
Hungary called on Thursday for "progressive" aid from the EU to help move Ukraine's grain through central European countries whose farmers are having to compete with its cheaper imports. Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy met his Ukrainian counterpart after Hungary banned imports of honey and certain meat products from Ukraine, in addition to grains, until June 30, adding to pressure to broaden proposed EU-wide measures.

Apr 20 - Platts Brazilian SOYBEX FOB prices lower on weakening cash premiums

- SOYBEX FOB prices in Brazil were lower on 18 April 2023, on continuously weakening cash premiums, with losses partially capped by rising CBOT futures
- Platts assessed the SOYBEX FOB Santos soybean contract for June loading on 19 April 2023 at USD487.89/mt, down USD8.54/mt from the previous assessment

- SOYBEX FOB prices in Brazil were lower on 18 April 2023, on continuously weakening cash premiums, with losses partially capped by rising Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures. Trading activity at the FOB Paranaguá paper market was mainly over July dates. Some deals for the period were heard at successively higher levels throughout 19 April 2023, but still below 17 April 2023 values.

- The FOB Santos cargo market, in turn, posted slowness, with no deals heard by Platts.The pressure over prompt premiums followed soybean farmer sales of around 500,000 metric tons (mt) on 19 April 2023, lower than on 17 April 2023 volumes but still considered representative, according to sources. In the meantime, Brazil is on track to export 15.15 million mt of soybeans in April, from 11.36 million mt by this time in 2022, the country’s grains exporters association Anec has predicted. If accurate, the accumulated for January - April would reach 38.07 million mt, or 9% higher on the year.

- Platts assessed the SOYBEX FOB Santos soybean contract for June loading on 19 April 2023 at USD 487.89/mt, down USD 8.54/mt from the previous assessment. The FOB Santos basis for June loading was assessed down 11 cents/bu at minus 151 cents/bu to the CBOT July contract. The assessment considered an FOB Santos port spread heard at plus 10 cents/bu to the FOB Paranaguá paper market. Neither offers nor bids were heard for FOB Santos June loading throughout 19 April 2023.

- The FOB Paranaguá basis for June loading was assessed 11 cents/bu lower at minus 161 cents/bu to the CBOT July contract, taking into consideration a trade heard at minus 160 cents/bu earlier on 19 April 2023, followed by offers at minus 160 cents/bu and lower bids at minus 170 cents/bu to the CBOT July contract at the US market close.

Apr 20 - EU plans farmer support, import curbs on Ukraine grain
The European Union is preparing 100 million euros ($109.32 million) in compensation for farmers in five countries bordering Ukraine and plans to introduce restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grains. Pressure has mounted on Brussels to work out a European Union-wide solution after Poland and Hungary banned some imports from Ukraine last weekend and other eastern European countries said they were considering similar action. 

Apr 20 - Russian grain harvest seen at 123 million tonnes in 2023
Russia will have a good grain harvest this year of about 123 million tonnes, including 78 million tonnes of wheat, its agriculture minister said on Wednesday, indicating the harvest will be about a fifth less than the record achieved last year. Russia had a record grain harvest of 153.8 million tonnes in 2022, including over 100 million tonnes of wheat, due to higher yields and an increase in the area sown.

Apr 19 - Poland to allow controlled transit of Ukrainian farm goods (IHSmarkit)

- Deal allows Ukrainian grains and poultrymeat to pass through Polish territory to other export destinations
- Products will have to be escorted in sealed containers to ensure they do not end up on Polish market
- Ukrainian farmers had stressed the need to maintain ‘solidarity lanes’ as Russia continues to hinder Black Sea exports

- Ukraine and Poland have reached an agreement that will allow the transit of Ukrainian grains, poultrymeat and other farm goods through Polish territory, so long as they are destined for other international destinations. Under the terms of deal, Ukrainian farm goods will once again be allowed to move through Poland, beginning on the night of 20-21 April. The agreement was struck just days after Poland, Hungary and Slovakia said they were temporarily banning the entry of various Ukrainian farm goods, including grains, poultry and dairy products. Of the three, Poland was the only one to also ban the transit of cargoes through its territory to other countries.

- Ukrainian farmers had slammed the move, stressing that so-called ‘solidarity lanes’ remain “crucial” as Russia continues to hinder Black Sea exports. EU lawmakers have also criticized the import bans imposed by Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, warning that these unilateral measures infringe EU law and play into the hands of Russia.

Balancing act for lawmakers
- Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian poultrymeat exporters have had to adjust the way they move products out of the country, for the most part switching to overland routes through neighboring countries.
- By making this switch, MHP, Ukraine’s largest poultry processor, has managed to restore export volumes to pre-invasion levels. This has led to resentment among farmers in some nearby countries, who say their own market position has been undermined by the influx of low-cost products from Ukraine.
- Polish politicians now face the challenge of placating local farming representatives while at the same time trying to minimize criticism from Kiev and Brussels. Announcing yesterday’s agreement, Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus stressed that the deal would ensure that no Ukrainian farm goods would be sold within Poland. Instead, the deal allows products to be transported in sealed containers under convoy to ensure that they continue their onward journey.
- Products must either be transported to one of four ports in Poland or go overland to other countries. Buda said licenses would be revoked for exporters who fail to comply with the agreed procedures.

- Poland’s ban on Ukrainian farm goods covers 18 different items including grains, oilseeds, poultrymeat, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables and honey.

Hungary urges ‘rethink’ of EU measures
- Meanwhile, Hungarian Agriculture Minister István Nagy this week confirmed that Hungary is banning imports of various Ukrainian farm products until June 30 to allow time for a “rethink” of EU measures.
- Nagy said exemptions for Ukrainian farm products from customs duties and quotas have flooded neighboring countries with cheap grains and oilseed, as well as large volumes of poultry, eggs and honey, making it ‘impossible’ for farmers in Hungary and other Central European countries to sell their products.
- Nagy met his peers in countries neighboring Ukraine on Friday and said that they were in “full agreement” on maintaining a united front to press for limits to exemptions from customs duties on the imports of agricultural products from Ukraine. Nagy called for quotas to be reintroduced for wheat, maize, sunflower, rapeseed and soybeans. The ministers are also asking the European Commission to buy unsold grain grown and stored in member states bordering Ukraine for humanitarian purposes, he added. The ministers will send a joint letter with their latest recommendations to the European Commission and discuss them at the next meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Nagy said.

Apr 19 - Ukraine agrees with Poland on grain transit, but Black Sea deal in doubt
Poland agreed on Tuesday to lift a ban on the transit of Ukrainian grain and food products, but Ukraine said a wartime deal allowing it to safely ship grain from Black Sea ports was still under threat. Failure to resume exports into eastern European countries or secure an extension of the Black Sea grain deal would trap large amounts of grain in Ukraine, hitting its exports and causing further economic problems for Kyiv as it battles Russian troops. 

Apr 19 - Crop Watch: Producers ease planting amid cold spell; soil conditions good -Braun
U.S. farmers got a good head start on corn and soybean planting last week amid unseasonably warm weather, but cooler temperatures along with some rains have slowed efforts this week. So far, the Crop Watch producers are on pace to plant their corn and soybeans at a faster rate than last year, and many hope to resume next week after pausing or reducing activity this week.

Apr 18 - Free-range eggs return to stores as UK and Ireland ease HPAI restrictions (IHSmarkit)

- Poultry owners across the UK and Ireland are now free to let their flocks back outside
- Change made possible by recent reduction in new cases of avian flu
- Free-range labels can now be used for eggs from birds with outdoor access

- Free-range poultry have been let outdoors for the first time in five months as avian flu restrictions are eased across Ireland and most of the UK. The change took effect today (18 April) in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where a mandatory housing order has been in place since November last year. The rule change does not apply to Scotland, where birds have not been subject to a mandatory housing order. Removing the requirement to confine birds means that all poultry and bird owners may allow their birds access to open areas. This means eggs and other products can once again be labelled as ‘free-range’ if coming from birds with access to outdoor areas.

- Since late February, free-range eggs have had to be relabeled as barn eggs following the end of a 16-week grace period for poultry housed indoors due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI). Although millions of birds have been lost to HPAI over the past year, the situation has improved significantly in recent months. Northern Ireland has had just one instance of the disease in the past six months, and none in a commercial setting since December 2021.

- South of the border, the Irish government said the decision to allow birds back outside in the Republic of Ireland was based on a number of parameters that indicate a reducing risk of HPAI incursion. These include a drop in numbers of migratory waterfowl and the absence of confirmed HPAI cases in wild birds over the past five weeks.

- The number of new cases in commercial poultry in England and Wales has also fallen sharply in recent months – with just three in March and none in the first 12 days of April.

- On 13 April however, authorities in Wales confirmed a case of HPAI on a free-range egg farm near Newtown, Powys. The farm was home to 32,000 layer hens, all of which will now be destroyed. On the same day, the disease found on a duck farm near Leven, East Yorkshire.

Apr 18 - Istanbul vessel inspections suspended for second day in a row (AgriCensus)

- Inspections of vessels waiting to exit or enter the Ukrainian Black Sea were suspended for a second day in a row, while no further information was available for April 19, trade sources told Agricensus on Tuesday. On April 17, the Ukrainian port administration confirmed that Russia had once again blocked inspections. While some trade sources said that the delay could have been classified as a day off following the Orthodox Easter celebration, inspections did not resume the day after.
"They are playing around at corridor inspections and delaying on purpose again," a trader said.

- The UN was unable to comment on the situation before publication. The delays followed another stoppage on April 11, which the UN said had occurred to give all parties time to reach an agreement on operational priorities. Since April 10, the Russian side of the Joint Coordination Center (SCC) in Istanbul has unilaterally stopped registering vessels that Ukrainian ports submit to form an inspection plan.

- Meanwhile, Russia continues to form its own inspection plan by choosing vessels from the queue at their discretion, Agricensus understands. This, according to the Ukrainian port administration, "completely contradicts" the terms of the initiative and is unacceptable for Ukraine. Russia last week made a statement blaming the Ukrainian side of the Black Sea for the delays in inspections, stating that: “Ukrainian trades for selfish purposes, drove ships into Turkish waters, regardless of either the order of their inclusion in the initiative prescribed in the rules of procedure or the requirements for screening.”

Currently, around 50 vessels are waiting for inspection, including 45 inbound vessels.

Apr 18 - Ukraine grain import bans mount as Kyiv seeks transit deal
Slovakia on Monday joined Poland and Hungary in banning grain imports from Ukraine as even Kyiv's staunchest allies come under domestic pressure to shield their agriculture markets.The heat is mounting on Brussels to work out a European Union wide solution after Warsaw and Budapest announced bans on some imports from Ukraine at the weekend, with other countries in eastern Europe saying they are also considering action. 

Apr 18 - NOPA March soybean crush at 185.810 million bushels, second highest ever
The U.S. soybean crush jumped to a 15-month high and the second highest level for any month on record in March, according to National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) data released on Monday. NOPA members, which account for around 95% of soybeans crushed in the United States, processed 185.810 million bushels of soybeans last month, up 12.3% from the 165.414 million bushels processed in February.

Apr 17 - EU warns against unilateral steps after Poland, Hungary ban Ukrainian grain Unilateral action on trade by European Union member states is unacceptable, the bloc's executive said on Sunday, after Poland and Hungary announced bans on grain and other food imports from Ukraine to protect their local agricultural sectors. After Russia's invasion blocked some Black Sea ports, large quantities of Ukrainian grain, which is cheaper than that produced in the European Union, ended up staying in Central European states due to logistical bottlenecks, hitting prices and sales for local farmers.

Apr 17 - Drought curtails Argentina's latest 'soy dollar' scheme
Farmers participating in Argentina's "soy dollar" plan to boost exports have traded less than half of the soybeans they had traded at the same point during the previous plan, due to the impact of a drought, the Rosario grains exchange said on Friday. The Argentina government launched its latest "soy dollar" plan on Monday to boost dollar inflows from soybean exports and replenish dwindling foreign exchange reserves, in a delicate economic context with annual inflation over 100%.

Apr 14 - Russia says Black Sea grain deal may be nearly over
Russia on Thursday said there would be no extension of the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal beyond May 18 unless the West removed a series of obstacles to the export of Russian grain and fertiliser. The Ukraine grain Black Sea export deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July last year to help alleviate a global food crisis worsened by conflict disrupting exports from two of the world's leading grain suppliers.

Apr 14 - Food security drives China to cut soymeal use in animal feed
China's agriculture ministry issued a three-year action plan on Friday to reduce soymeal use in animal feed as it continues to try to reduce its heavy reliance on soybean imports. The new plan proposes that soymeal ratios in animal feed should be reduced to under 13% by 2025, down from 14.5% in 2022.

Apr 14 - Russia restates its demands for grain deal extension after April 11 inspection stoppage (AgriCensus)

- The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially commented on the one-day stoppage of inspections for vessels using the grain corridor, and used the opportunity to lay out conditions for Russia's ongoing continuation of the agreement, according to an official letter released Thursday.
- All inspections were suspended for 24-hours on April 11, with Russian authorities blaming their Ukrainian counterparts and representatives of the United Nations for allegedly failing to register vessels correctly.   
- Mostly, the Russian government used the statement as an opportunity to restate the conditions it says must be met if it is to agree to extend the grain corridor deal beyond late May after a 60-day deadline that it has imposed on the deal has lapsed.

- The ministry set out the five points it wants to see fulfilled, with the main demand being to reconnect the national agriculture bank, Rosselkhozbank, to the Swift electronic payment system. That was followed by a request to

- restart the supply of machinery, details and services;

- the abolition of the insurance and re-insurance restrictions along with reopening of port access;

- restoration of work to allow ammonia to flow through the "Togliatti-Odessa" pipeline;

- and finally the unblocking of foreign assets and accounts of Russian companies related to the production and transportation of food and fertilizers.

While the trade of grains is not affected by international sanctions, many of the above restrictions were imposed in the immediate aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, while the port of Odesa - at one end of the fertilizer pipeline - has been subjected to missile and drone strikes from Russian forces.  

- The statement also repeated accusations that the grain deal was not working in the way it should, stating that “the 'Black Sea Initiative' served and continues to serve exclusively commercial exports of Kyiv in the interests of Western countries”. The note also said that the grain supply under the World Food Program initiative is “ridiculously” low compared to the total amount of agriculture products exported, and called the 'Grain from Ukraine' initiative, also arranged under the UN's approval “pseudo humanitarian”. The statement also took aim at the UN's own food and agriculture indices, claiming that they overstated price falls and wheat prices remained ‘elevated’.

- The biggest destinations for Ukrainian agriculture exports via the grain deal agreement are EU, China, Turkey and Egypt, while 2.5 million mt of grains has moved towards the poorest developing countries. Meanwhile, the opening of the Ukrainian ports has pushed both world grain and oil prices down, the main aim of the deal along with helping Ukrainian farmers who have suffered from the impact of the ongoing war.

. The blockade of and Ukrainian ports led to a build up in stock - particularly after Ukraine had wrapped up its biggest ever corn crop in the previous season - forcing farmers to discount as they attempted to stay competitive while also factoring in increased freight costs.

. With most of Ukraine's biggest ports closed, exporters had to rely on smaller ports close to the border with Romania, or use road and rail freight to move volume across the borders into the EU. Those options carried increased costs and piled additional pressure on Ukraine's producers as they tried to compensate for the increased costs.

Apr 13 - China March soybean imports rise 8% on year
China's soybean imports in March rose 7.9% from the same month a year earlier, data showed on Thursday, as buyers in China stocked up ahead of expected strong demand. Total imports for the month came to 6.85 million tonnes, according to the General Administration of Customs, down 2.7% from February's 7.04 million tonnes.  

Apr 13 - Kremlin warns outlook for Black Sea grain deal is 'not so great'
The Kremlin warned on Wednesday that the outlook for extending a deal beyond May 18 that allows the safe wartime export of grain and fertilizer from several Ukrainian Black Sea ports was not great as Russia's own such exports still faced obstacles. The Ukraine grain Black Sea export deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July last year to help tackle a global food crisis that U.N. officials said had been worsened by the most deadly war in Europe since World War Two.

Apr 12 - Brazil to export a record 93.7m mt of soybeans; 21m mt of soymeal ( Abiove )

- The Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries, Abiove, increased its estimate for Brazil’s 2022/23 soybean exports to 93.7 million mt from 92.3 million mt, the association said Wednesday. The figure is a record volume and is 19% higher than last year’s 78.7 million mt.

- According to Abiove, higher demand from China and other Asian countries is responsible for the boost in exports.
The association also increased its estimates for soymeal 2023 shipments to 21 million mt from the previous 20.7 million mt, following the lower availability of Argentina’s soymeal.
The figure is 3.4% higher than last year’s 20.3 million mt shipments.
Abiove kept all other projections unchanged.

- Brazil’s soybean production was pegged at 153.6 million mt, an 18.2% increase from the last crop's 129.9 million mt and an all-time high.
The soybean crushing is expected at a record 52.5 million mt, up from the previous year’s 50.8 million mt.
Soymeal production remains projected at 40.2 million mt in 2023, up 4.1% from last year’s 39 million mt.

- Brazil’s 2023 soyoil output forecast continues at 10.7 million mt, up from 9.9 million mt last year.
Domestic soyoil demand is expected at 8.9 million mt in 2023, above the previous year’s 7.1 million mt.
Soyoil shipment estimates for 2023 remain at 2.1 million mt, down from last year’s 2.5 million mt.

Apr 12 - Argentina lets soy exporters delay shipments, clarifies FX scheme
Argentina has authorized exporters to delay soy shipments for up to 60 days, the government said in a resolution on Tuesday, as the country battles a historic drought that has hobbled grains production and trimmed inflows of critical foreign currency. The announcement follows a decision by the government in March to delay shipments of corn by up to 180 days and after it rolled out similar measures for wheat late last year. It gives exporters more time to physically ship previously agreed sales. 

Apr 12 - No ships inspected on Tuesday under Ukraine Black Sea grain deal, UN says
No ships were inspected on Tuesday under the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal "as the parties needed more time to reach an agreement on operational priorities," the United Nations said, adding that routine inspections were due to resume on Wednesday. "We urge all involved to meet their responsibilities to ensure that vessels continue to move smoothly and safely in the interest of global food security," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, adding that there are currently 50 vessels waiting to move to the Ukrainian ports.

Apr 11 - USDA cuts Argentina's soybean output to 27mmt, below projections ( Wasde )

- The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s April update to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (Wasde) cut Argentina’s soybean output by 2 million mt from the previous estimate to 27 million mt, landing well below market expectations. In the report, released on Tuesday, Argentina's production was cut from the previous 33 million mt, while an Agricensus pre-release poll showed participants expected it to be cut to 29 million mt.

The country is facing a hash drought and is set to harvest its smallest bean crop in 23 years. Soybean CBOT futures slightly declined after the release, with the May contract down 6 c/bu a few minutes after. Argentina’s domestic crush projection also declined to 32 million mt from the previous 35.2 million mt forecasts. The country’s export estimates remained unchanged at 3.4 million mt, while imports are now projected at 8.3 million mt, from last month’s 7.2 million mt. Argentina's ending stocks are now seen at 18.1 million mt from the previous 19.8 million mt projection. The country's domestic demand dropped to 37.7 million mt from the prior month's report 49.95 million mt outlook.

- Confirming market estimates, the USDA increased Brazil’s soybean output by 1 million mt to 154 million mt. The US agency also increased global ending stocks projection to 100.2 million mt from the previous 100 million mt forecast, while the average market estimate was a 1 million mt decline to 99 million mt. Global soybean output dropped from March’s 375.15 million mt to 369.64 million mt, a 5.5 million mt decrease on the month, as lower crops for Argentina and Uruguay were only partly offset by higher production for Brazil. Global beginning stocks slightly increased from 99 million mt in the previous report to 99.7 million mt, while the global soybean crush declined to 515.2 million mt from the previous 320 million mt projection on reduced supplies and the slow pace for Argentina, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt. Crush for Argentina was pegged at 32 million mt, down 3.3 million mt from the previous report.

- Brazil, on the other hand, is projected to be 53.2 million mt, up from the previous 52.7 million mt projection. The USDA also slightly decreased global soybean exports to 168 million mt from the previous 168.4 million mt estimates. Global domestic use declined to 365.8 million mt from the previous 371.1 million mt, while global soybean imports declined to 164.7 million mt from the prior report’s 165.3 million mt.

- US soybean data was broadly unchanged from the previous report, holding 2022/23 ending stocks at 210 million bushels (5.7 million mt), above market expectations. On average, an Agricensus poll showed participants expected US soybean ending stocks at 202 million bushels (5.4 million mt). US production figures remained unchanged at 116.3 million, while exports were unchanged at 58.8 million mt.

Apr 11 - Malaysia’s March palm oil stocks fall 21% as exports outpace supply (IHSmarkit)

- Stocks fall 21% to 1.67 mil mt; exports surge 30%
- March palm oil output 1.29 mil mt, rises 2% on month
- Prices fall as demand outlook fragile: traders

Malaysia’s palm oil stocks fell 21% by end-March compared with the previous month, well below market expectations as exports surged while production grew at a slower rate, data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board showed April 10.

End stocks at the world’s second largest palm oil producer and exporter fell to 1.673 million mt, much lower than the 1.795 million mt expected by the market, according to a S&P Global Commodity Insights survey.

Stocks were higher on year-on-year basis from the 1.474 million mt seen at the end of March 2022, according to the MPOB data.

Exports surged in March to 1.486 million mt, up 31% on the month and better than market expectations of 1.325 million mt, the MPOB said.

Crude palm oil production in March rose to 1.288 million mt, up 2.8% from February but lower than the 1.411 million mt output in March 2022.

Malaysia’s benchmark June palm oil contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives exchange opened lower at MR 3,765/mt ($854.13) and fell to MR3,754/mt during afternoon trade with traders pointing to a lack of fresh destination buying.

Demand outlook “fragile”
“The MPOB report is bullish for the market owing to the huge drawdown in inventories along with the high demand. Yet palm oil demand for April is expected to be flattish given the relative value of edible oils and the likelihood of production picking up moving forward,” Marcello Cultrera director at commodities consultancy Apricus 8 Pte Ltd in Singapore said.

Concerns over demand outlook were shared by other trade sources who spoke of high stock buildups at largest buyers India and China as well as palm oil’s falling cost advantage compared with soybean and sunflower oils.

Destination demand is very “fragile” right now, Anilkumar Bagani, head of research at Mumbai-based vegetable oil brokerage Sunvin Group said, citing high stocks as well as lower sunflower oil prices which would shift demand away from palm oil.

Argentina’s third soy dollar program and Brazil’s record soybean output in Latin America, along with strong rapeseed supplies in EU and higher than expected sunflower seed stocks in Russia and Ukraine may cap the tight supply-related bullishness in palm oil, Bagani said in an April 10 note.

Data from cargo surveyor Intertek showed a sharp decline in Malaysian palm oil exports during the April 1-10 period with exports falling 35% compared with the February 1-10 period.

Apr 11 - Argentina's agri dollar to include wide list of products (AgriCensus)

- Argentina’s government published a decree on Monday that officially confirmed the new agri dollar scheme - the third such iteration - and announced a preferential exchange of 300 pesos per dollar for soybeans, soymeal, soyoil, and biodiesel. The decree includes over 50 products in the regional products list that are also able to be traded within the scheme. Despite the mention of cereals in the list of regional products, wheat, and corn are not included in the program, market participants said, although sorghum and barley is, alongside sunseeds.
“However, the government needs dollars urgently so it is possible they will include these products in the program later on,” Paulina Lescano, agricultural engineer, and specialist in agricultural markets told Agricensus.

- Argentina has already launched two soybean dollar regimes in 2022, setting a preferential exchange rate from US dollars to pesos for soybean sales to encourage farmers to sell their crops and increase revenues for the state amid a shortage of US dollars. For soybean and byproducts, the program will be valid until May 31, and for regional products, until August 31. Soybean exports from the new agri-dollar scheme will bring $ 5 billion in revenue, the country’s Agriculture secretary, Juan José Bahillo, projected last week. Revenue from the regional products is expected at $ 4 billion.
"The bulk of it will come from soybeans" Javier Preciado Patiño, former Undersecretary of Agricultural Markets at Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, MAGyP, told Agricensus.

- Despite the wide list of products, seen as too ample by market participants, the secretary of agriculture has broad freedom to decide who can access this special dollar, according to the decree. The document also says only producers who have exported in the past 18 months will be able to use the differential exchange rate.
“The selection will certainly be very rigorous, and the revenue can be reduced," Patiño added.
"Giving the exporter a 300 pesos per dollar exchange rate means issuing money and this generates inflation, depreciating currency even more," he said.

Apr 11 - Argentina's latest 'soy dollar' scheme sees few takers on first day
The latest government incentive to grow Argentina's processed soybean exports recorded few takers on Monday, according to traders and analysts, on the first day for the scheme that offers farmers and shippers a preferential exchange rate. Would-be participants in the "soy dollar" program need more details, several told Reuters. 

Apr 11 - Dismal Kansas wheat health, plentiful CBOT bears push K.C. premium to record -Braun
Potential U.S. winter wheat troubles have been in focus since the crop was planted in dry soils last fall, but the situation has become more urgent as wheat has emerged from dormancy and the forecast for the moisture-starved Plains still lacks substantial rainfall. The success of the overall U.S. winter wheat crop is heavily tied to the results from Kansas, which grows 25% of the nation’s winter wheat and 17% of the total U.S. wheat crop.

Apr 10 - World food prices fall for 12th month running in March - FAO
The United Nations food agency's world price index fell in March for a 12th consecutive month, and is now down 20.5% from a record high hit one year ago following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 126.9 points last month against 129.7 for February, the agency said on Friday. It was the lowest reading since July 2021.

Apr 10 - Funds pile back into CBOT soybeans after supportive US data - Braun
Speculators spent the second half of March reducing long positions in Chicago-traded soybeans after having established bearish corn views for the first time since 2020. But they were big buyers of beans in the latest week as bullish U.S. data followed shortly after the recent sell-off. Funds also ventured back into bull territory on corn.

Apr 10 - Russia threatens West as Turkey seeks grain deal extension
Russia on Friday threatened to bypass the UN-brokered grain deal unless obstacles to its agricultural exports were removed, while talks in Turkey agreed removing barriers was a necessary condition to extending the agreement beyond next month. The Black Sea grain deal, first signed last July and twice renewed, is an attempt by the United Nations to ease a food crisis that predated the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but has been made worse by the most deadly war in Europe since World War Two.

Apr 10 - Egypt's GASC buys 600,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in tender

Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said on Thursday it bought 600,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in an international tender. The purchase comprised of 300,000 tonnes for shipment between May 10-20 and 300,000 tonnes for shipment between May 21-31, GASC said.

Apr 06 - Argentina to offer preferential 'soy dollar' for exports at 300 pesos per dollar
Argentina's government on Wednesday announced a new plan setting a special exchange rate of 300 pesos per dollar to encourage soybean exports amid severe financial difficulties and foreign exchange shortages. The program, known locally as the "soy dollar," aims to increase sales and exports of soybeans and their derivatives by offering producers a higher exchange rate than the official rate. 

Apr 06 - Warm weather may boost US planting; N. Dakota hopes to avoid 2022 repeat -Braun
Although spring planting has begun in the United States, it will be a couple of weeks before farmers across the country are in full swing. Warm weather expected for mid-month should be friendly to their efforts. However, some of the most trying U.S. planting seasons have occurred recently, mostly because of excessive rainfall and/or overly cool temperatures. The Northern Plains in particular have had difficulty lately, and that is not off the table for this year given the heavy snowpack.

Apr 06 - Argentina’s milk production is back in the red, with butter exports to Russia down for a 12th month (IHSmarkit)

- During February Argentina produced 805.21 million liters of milk a 1.3% y/y decline
- This is a return to being in a y/y deficit
- For a twelfth month exports of butter to Russia were lackluster

- Following a y/y rise in production in January, during February Argentine milk production fell back below a year ago levels. Production consistently trended below year-ago levels through Q4 2022. During February, Argentina produced 805.21 million liters of milk, a 1.3% y/y contraction. Compared to the five-year average this was a 6.4% improvement.

- Overall in 2023, Argentina’s milk production is forecast to decline . The Argentine Dairy Chain Observatory (OCLA) forecasts that production could fall by as much as 4.7% y/y in 2023. This pegs annual production at 11.02 billion liters for the year.

- The weather forecast is for the dairy-producing regions of Argentina to have higher than average precipitation and for temperatures to be higher than usual too, according to the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional Argentina’s quarterly weather forecast produced on March 30. This weather outlook supports the OCLA’s forecast for production to decline.

Exports contract
- During February export volumes fell according to data from the National Institute of Statistics & Census (INDEC). This reflected the trend recorded in January.
- Milk powder and concentrate exports fell 16.4% y/y to 10,300 metric tons. Volumes to Brazil surged upwards by 689.9% y/y to 6,800t. Meanwhile, this was offset by a 66.8% collapse in volumes to Algeria, which totaled 3,400t.
- Cheese and curd exports were up 56.9% y/y to 4,900t. A rise in shipments to Brazil drove the overall increase- up 83.3% y/y to 2,200t. Slightly offsetting the rise in volumes to Brazil, was a 12.7% y/y fall in volumes to Chile.
- Shipments of whey rose 13.0% y/y to 3,200t. Volumes to both Brazil and China rose.

Russia is the main market for Argentine butter exports. In February volumes continued on the trend from the past year and for a twelfth month volumes to Russia recorded a sharp y/y contraction. Total butter exports fell 66.2% y/y to 650t. Volumes to Russia were back 76.8% y/y to 400t.

Apr 05 - Polish ag minister resigns over EC policy on duty-free imports Ukraine (AgriCensus)

- Polish Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk resigned Wednesday, after criticizing the European Commission’s proposal to extend duty-free imports of grain from Ukraine. Kowalczyk said that one point of the Polish government’s agreement with Polish farmers was to trigger the safeguard clause on duty-free and quota-free imports from Ukraine.

- The Polish government brought this request to the Commission at a meeting on March 31, however the Commission has proposed to renew the duty-free and quota-free cereal imports for another year.
“Since it is very clear that the basic demand of farmers will not be met by the European Commission, I have made a decision and submitted my resignation from the post of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,” Kowalczyk said in a public statement.

- Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 closed many Black Sea ports, prompting the EU to remove the duty on grain imports from Ukraine temporarily and to initiate “solidarity lanes” for the transport of grain from Ukraine via overland routes from May 2022.

The duty-free period was set to end at the beginning of June. Poland is set to hold elections later this year.

Apr 05 - Argentina to lose soy meal export crown to Brazil as drought bites
Argentina is set to lose its status as the world's top exporter of processed soy meal due to the toll of historic drought on the country's main cash crop, a major exchange said on Tuesday. The Rosario stock exchange (BCR) predicted in a report that Argentina's soy meal shipments will likely be overtaken by neighbor Brazil for the first time in a quarter century during the current harvest. The 2022/2023 national soy meal output is expected to plummet 36% from the previous season to total just 27 million tonnes. 

Apr 05 - Brazil sugar output seen at over 40 mln tns, 2nd highest on record
Brazil is expected to produce 40.3 million tonnes of sugar in the new season that started in April, the second highest amount on record, as the climate has been positive and mills are well capitalized to provide crops with adequate care. According to a report published on Tuesday by local consultancy Job Economia, mills are expected to have a strong focus on sugar production, at the expense of ethanol, as the price for the sweetener hovers around the highest in more than six years.

Apr 04 - Brazil could become world's largest soymeal exporter amid Argentina losses (AgriCensus)

- Argentina’s soymeal exports are expected to amount to 20 million mt in 2022/23, the lowest level since 2003, which could allow Brazil to become the world’s biggest exporter, according to data from the Rosario Grains Exchange BCR. Argentina has been the most important soymeal exporter in global the market since 1998 and soymeal is the main export product of the country. However, given the severe drought and lower expected soybean output this year, BCR expects Argentina’s soymeal production to amount to just 20.9 million mt.

- The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a bit more optimistic, putting soymeal production at 27.5 million mt and exports at 24.9 million mt. The agency projects Brazil’s soymeal production, on the other hand, at 40.8 million mt, while it says exports could reach 21.1 million mt in 2022/23. Brazilian food agency Conab expects a 40.3 million mt soymeal production and estimates exports at 20 million mt. If BCR's projections are realized, it would put Brazil ahead of Argentina in terms of soymeal exports.

- This season Argentina has faced the worst drought in the past 60 years, leading to an estimated soybean crop of 25 million mt or lower, the lowest in the past 23 years. At the same time, the country's soybean crush is expected to amount to just 28 million mt in 2022/23, the smallest volume since 2004 and below the levels of 2008/09, 2011/12 and 2017/18, when Argentina also faced severe drought. Brazil is meanwhile expected to harvest its biggest soybean crop in history this season, with the USDA estimating production at 153 million mt and Conab putting the figure at 151.4 million mt.

- USDA projects Brazil's soybean crush to reach 52.7 million mt in 2022/33, the same level as Conab.

Apr 04 - Brazil’s soybean exports rise 9% on year in March (IHSmarkit)

- 13.3 million mt of soybeans exported in March
- 1.34 million mt corn shipped

- Brazil’s soybean exports jumped during March 1-31 from a year ago, according to the country’s foreign trade department Secex, likely signaling higher supplies of the oilseed. The world’s top soybeans supplier was able to ship out 13.3 million mt of oilseeds in March, 9% higher on the year, the Secex data showed April 3.

- Brazil’s corn exports have also seen a massive boost after China’s agreement to import the coarse grain from the South American country. Corn exports in March was estimated at 1.34 million mt, compared with a meagre 14,278 mt last year, the data showed.

Soybeans exports likely to gain pace

- After a slow start to the year, the Brazilian soybean exports are likely to gain pace in the coming months. The pace of soybeans export in Brazil is expected to accelerate in April and peak in May-June, analysts said. The South American country shipped out 6 million mt of soybeans in January and February, down 31% on the year, the Secex data showed. However, with steady demand from China coupled with supply woes in drought-hit Argentina, Brazil is on course for a sharply higher exports volume in the marketing year 2022-23 (January-December 2023).

- According to the national supply company CONAB, the country is forecast to produce record 151.42 million mt and export an all-time high of 93 million mt in MY 2022-23, up 15 million mt on the year. With a bumper Brazilian crop forecast, soybean basis prices have been under pressure in recent weeks.

- Platts assessed SOYBEX FOB Santos for May deliveries at $536.48/mt on April 3, down $106/mt on the year, S&P Global Commodity Insights data showed.

Apr 04 - India plans to relax wheat procurement norms to replenish stocks
India has been planning to relax norms to procure wheat from farmers amid untimely rainfall and hail which damaged the crop just before harvesting in key producing central and northern states, government officials and traders told Reuters. The world's second biggest wheat producer plans to buy 34.15 million tonnes of new-season wheat from local farmers to shore up state reserves after purchases dropped 53% last year to 18.8 million tonnes because of a poor harvest. 

Apr 04 - Louis Dreyfus joins global grain merchants' exodus from Russia
Louis Dreyfus Company will stop exporting Russian grain from July 1, the group said on Monday, joining other global merchants in dropping activities in the world's biggest wheat-exporting country. Most international grain traders have stopped new investment in Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year but continued shipping Russian wheat.

Apr 03 - US non-fat dried milk prices hit lowest level in more than 2 years
- Although CME spot NDM has hit the lowest level in more than 2 years, demand is subdued as some buyers are waiting to see if the price will fall further before stepping in and increasing their purchases.
- Prices are expected to drop through June, and we should see a rebound during the second half of 2023. Despite the bearish tones dominating the NDM market, the spot price managed to eke out a penny gain at the CME during the week ending 31 March. A quarter of a cent loss on Wednesday was countered by a 1.25 cents increase on Friday. The price closed at $1.16/lb. with four loads changing hands.
- As cream heads to churns, there has been plenty of condensed skim milk available for dryers to turn into NDM. Manufacturing complications are preventing dryers from running as hard as they might like. Nonetheless, NDM remains plentiful.

Apr 03 - Argentina to launch 'soy dollar' on Monday to aid agriculture sector
Argentina's government will launch a new "soy dollar" preferential exchange rate for farm exports on Monday, a spokesperson from the economy ministry said, to boost agricultural shipments and increase the depleted foreign reserves in the central bank (BCRA). The government of President Alberto Fernandez hopes the plan - to be announced by Economy Minister Sergio Massa - will lead agro-export companies to bring in some $15 billion between the second and third quarters of 2023, including to regional economies. 

Apr 03 - EU may need to reintroduce tariffs on Ukrainian grain, PMs say
Tariffs on Ukrainian agricultural imports may need to be reintroduced if an influx of products that is pushing down prices in European Union markets cannot be stopped by other means, the prime ministers of five eastern states said on Friday. In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen published on a Polish government website, the prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia said that the scale of the increase of products including grains oilseeds, eggs, poultry and sugar had been "unprecedented".

Mar 31 - French barley prices drop on upcoming China-Australia talks (AgriCensus)

- The basis for French barley against Euronext milling wheat futures has fallen sharply as Chinese buying took a step back ahead of the upcoming World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting that could potentially bring Australian barley back into the game, traders said Friday. Market sources reported deals at a €14-15/mt discount to the December Euronext wheat contract on a CPT Rouen basis Friday for new crop deliveries, down marginally from a €2/mt discount trades heard on Monday.
“It has lost €12/mt in a single day,” a France-based trader told Agricensus. “Sellers are nervous because of the next week's China-Australia meeting on trade,” they added.

- Destination trading activity was on hold Friday, with the last trade on a CFR China basis reported at $317/mt for new crop shipment in July-August, as “the Chinese are expecting the price to drop,” a European broker said. Chinese demand had kept prices firm for the last several months, with barley trading in line with 11% milling wheat in France, while the spread with German-origin barley widened as this origin is not approved for exports to China.

- Hopes for restrictions lifting of Australian barley exports to China started to rise in the market back in early January 2023 when the Asian giant importer removed the unofficial ban on Australian coal imports.

- Unlike coal, a ban on barley imports was officially implemented by the government, as China imposed an anti-dumping 73.6% duty and a 6.9% anti-subsidy duty for a period of five years back in May 2020. Australia has applied to the WTO to start an investigation into Chinese restrictions, with meeting on that topic expected to be held next week.  According to Agricensus Export Dashboard, China imported 4.8 million mt of barley in 2022, securing most of the volume from Argentina (2.12 million mt) and France (873,738 mt). Prior to the restrictions, Australia (1.46 million mt) was in the top-five barley exporters to China, alongside Ukraine (2.57 million mt), Europe (1.96 million mt) and Canada (1.95 million mt), with a total of 7.98 million mt of the grain imported in 2020.

Mar 31 - Viterra confirms plans to exit Russian grain export market (AgriCensus)

- Viterra, Glencore's agriculture arm and one of the biggest world traders has followed fellow multinational Cargill and confirmed its plans to cut its presence in the Russian market, it said Thursday.
“Viterra Limited has decided not to continue its origination and export programs out of Russia after July 1, 2023. Following continued monitoring of the situation over the past year, Viterra has concluded that its activities in Russia no longer fit the long-term direction of the company,” a spokesperson told Agricensus.
“We are assessing options to transfer our business and assets in Russia to new owners and will provide further information when and if appropriate,” the spokesperson added.

- Viterra is the fourth biggest Russian grain exporter according to grain quota, with 2.1 million mt approved for export during the February 16-June 30 period this year. Viterra owns a terminal in Rostov-on-Don and a 50% stake in the terminal in the port of Taman, while another 50% is owned by Demetra Holding, which is 45% owned by Russian state bank VTB.

- Demetra Holding is the primary owner of the terminals and port in the biggest Russian Black Sea export facility of Novorossisysk, as well as of the rail operator Rusagrotrans.

- Earlier Thursday, Cargill said it would stop elevating and handling Russian grain for export in July 2023 after the completion of the 2022-2023 season but would continue shipping Russian grain.

The company did not say if the decision to stop handling Russian grain meant it would sell any of its Russian assets.

Mar 31 - Viterra exits Russian grain trade; team to create new Russian exporter
Global grain trader Viterra's management team in Russia plans to create an independent Russian grain exporter once the company ceases export activities in the country, the head of its Russian office, Nikolai Demyanov, told Reuters on Thursday. Viterra, part-owned by Switzerland-based mining and trading giant Glencore, has decided not to continue its origination and export programmes out of Russia after July 1, it said in a statement. 

Mar 31 - EU sugar beet area seen down 3% after court ruling
The European Union sugar beet area for the 2023/24 season is expected to be 3% below the five-year average after a court ruling on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, the European Commission said in a short-term outlook issued on Thursday. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in January that member states cannot offer exemptions to the bloc's ban on crop seeds treated with neonicotinoids, which are considered a threat to bees.

Mar 30 - Cargill to halt grain loadings at its Russian export terminal
Cargill Inc said on Wednesday it would take a further step back from the Russian market by no longer handling the top wheat supplier's grain at its export terminal from July, although its shipping unit will continue to carry grain from the country's ports. The move stoked concerns about global grain supplies disrupted by the 13-month-old war in the Black Sea breadbasket region, lifting benchmark wheat futures prices to multi-week highs. 

Mar 30 - Brazil may supply up to 50% of Argentina's soy imports in 2023, analysts say
Brazil is poised to supply up to half of the soybeans that Argentina will import after the worst drought in 100 years devastated its fields and cut 2023 output nearly in half, analysts said. Argentina, which is expected to reap round 25 million tonnes this season, may have to import up to 10 million tonnes of soy, more than double than in previous years, mainly from Paraguay and Brazil, they said.

Mar 29 - Polish, Romanian PMs ask EU for mechanism to trace Ukraine grain exports
Romania and Poland are in talks with the European Commission over export tracing mechanisms for Ukrainian grains to ensure local farmers are not hurt by a flood of cheap imports, the Polish and Romanian prime ministers said on Tuesday. Ukraine, one of the world's largest grain exporters, has seen its Black Sea ports blocked since Russia invaded more than a year ago and has been forced to find alternative shipping routes through European Union states Poland and Romania. 

Mar 29 - Palm oil's premium to be short lived, to fade with Indonesian supply
Palm oil's rare premium over rival rapeseed oil and sunflower oil is likely to be short-lived and it should start trading at a discount once top producer Indonesia eases export curbs after Ramadan, industry participants told Reuters. The premium has slowed down palm oil purchases for April shipments by key importers in Asia, Africa and Europe as refiners were replacing palm oil with rapeseed and sunoil, they said.

Mar 28 - Russian wheat export prices continue to fall amid growing supply
Export prices for Russian wheat fell again last week after a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain was renewed, which supported the downward trend in world markets, alongside increased export volumes, analysts said. Prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content, delivered free on board (FOB) from Black Sea ports, fell $5 to $272 a tonne last week, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said. 

Mar 28 - India's Maharashtra state to produce less sugar as mills close early
India's top sugar-producing state, Maharashtra, could churn out nearly 16% less sugar than the previously estimated as mills are closing early due to limited availability of sugar cane, a senior state government official told Reuters on Monday. Lower sugar output could prevent the world's second-biggest exporter from allowing additional exports, potentially supporting global prices and allowing rivals Brazil and Thailand to increase exports.

Mar 28 - Indonesia’s end-Jan palm oil stocks dip on lower production, higher exports (AgriCensus)

- Palm oil stock levels in Indonesia fell in January on the back of flat to lower production and firmer exports to 3.099 million mt, data from the Indonesia Palm Oil Association (Gapki) showed Monday. This was 13% lower compared to December, and 34% less compared to levels in January 2022. The fall came following a drop in production, with palm oil (consisting of crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel oil (CPKO)) output in January falling by 11.3% on the month to 4.26 million mt largely due to seasonal factors.

Palm oil production in January last year was 4.23 million mt.

- Meanwhile, a higher export volume also contributed to the drop in inventory levels, with Indonesian palm exports (consisting of CPO, processed CPO, CPKO, processed CPKO, biodiesel and oleochemicals) touching 2.95 million mt, 7% higher compared to December and 35% higher against a year ago. Exports to Egypt, Italy and Singapore showed a strong recovery in January, rising between 53% to over 500% from December, while exports to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam and Russia fell by more than 50% in December, Gapki said in its statement. Domestic consumption on the other hand, fell in January by 7.6% on the month, led largely by the fall in consumption from the food sector. Food sector consumption came to 793,000 mt, 12% lower against December, while consumption for oleochemicals and biodiesel were largely unchanged at 183,000 mt and 810,000 mt, versus 185,000 mt and 850,000 mt in December.

- For February, Indonesian palm oil exports are expected to lower on the back of tightened export restrictions, with cargo surveyor estimates pegging the level at about 1.997 million mt. Earlier this year, the Indonesian government placed further restrictions on its palm oil exports by suspending two-thirds of existing unutilised export permits (which exporters receive upon fulfilling a ‘domestic market obligation’ (DMO) of selling a portion of their products locally) and raised the DMO target from 300,000 mt to 450,000 mt per month from February to April in a bid to raise local cooking oil supply and cool prices. For February, 80.03% of the DMO target was achieved with 360,150 mt of cooking oil distributed.

As of March 26, only 221,659 mt of the 450,000 mt cooking oil target has been distributed for March so far, a trade ministry official said today.

Mar 27 - China gobbles up US corn as prices fall
Falling prices have sparked a flurry of Chinese purchases of U.S. corn, as the world's top buyer of the grain scrambles to make up for a slow start to its import program, traders and analysts said. The latest deal, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday, saw China buying 204,000 tonnes of American corn, its eighth confirmed purchase in the past nine business days.  

Mar 27 - EU wheat exports shift to Morocco in mixed season marked by war
Morocco has emerged as the biggest export outlet for European Union wheat in 2022/23 as sales to other destinations have been curbed by revived Black Sea competition after war disruption eased. In a year marked by Russia's invasion of fellow grain exporter Ukraine, the EU sold heavily at the start of the July-June export campaign as importers sought alternatives to Black Sea grain.

Mar 24 - Agricultural markets jump on short covering, Russia mulling export curbs (AgriCensus)

- Global agricultural futures market arrested steep falls on Friday to post strong gains as comments from Russian authorities over curtailing wheat, sunflower oil and sunflower seed exports mingled with short covering to claw back some of the ground lost.

- Russian authorities said they were considering limiting exports of products after heavy price falls on international markets, while talk also surfaced on extending the fertilizers export ban till November, despite Russian demands last week to boost export rates in return for granting an extension to the Black Sea grain corridor.

- Those fears stoked a wheat market primed to respond after Chicago wheat futures had dumped 7% of their value between Friday and Thursday, and augmented underlying fears over the health of the US wheat crop.

- As of 1000 Eastern Time, the May CME Kansas wheat contract was trading at $8.54/bu, up 4.25% on the previous day’s close, while May SRW wheat was trading at $6.95/bu, up over 5%. In Europe, the May milling wheat contract on the Euronext exchange was up €12.25/mt from yesterday’s settlement level at €257.25/mt at 1551 CET, while the equivalent rapeseed contract was up a whopping €16/mt and recorded at €452.25/mt.

- But wheat wasn't the only grade to postgains, with soybean futures, which had been looking particularly bearish in the face of a bumper crop in Brazil and lukewarm Chinese demand, climbed to $14.24/bu, up nearly 6 cents on overnight settles.

Mar 24 - China agrees to resume imports of Brazilian beef, authorizes four new plants
Efforts by the Brazilian government to lift a month-long ban on beef exports to China paid off on Thursday, as Beijing agreed to resume imports while also approving four new beef-packers based in Brazil, according to authorities in both countries. China's General Administration of Customs approved the resumption of imports of Brazilian beef and authorized the new plants a day after Brazilian Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro arrived in Beijing ahead of a visit by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva next week.  

Mar 24 - Argentina exchange holds soy outlook steady, but early yields disappoint
Argentina's Buenos Aires grains exchange maintained its 2022/2023 production forecasts for both soy and corn on Thursday, but cautioned further cuts were possible with yields on the first batches of soy coming in below expectations. The exchange, which has been forced by a historic drought hitting the country to repeatedly sharply cut soybean and corn harvest forecasts, held its soy estimate at 25 million tonnes and its corn outlook at 36 million tonnes.

Mar 23 - Sunflower seeds export tax is offered to be zeroed in Russia - APK Inform

- In Russia, it is necessary to make zero export duty on sunflower seeds, which is currently 50%, and introduce quotas for its export, offered Mykola Goncharov, the deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Agrarian Affairs, on March 22. The need for this measure, which is supported by the Committee, is due to the current critical situation in the Russian oilseed market.
"The price for sunflower seeds has decreased from 30 to 20 RUR/t in the last 2–3 weeks. This means that taking into account logistics costs, agricultural producers are forced to actually sell the oilseed at its cost (16-17 RUR/t) or even at a loss," the deputy clarified.

- According to him, the failure of farmers to receive income in this connection endangers the carrying out of the spring planting campaign in the southern regions of Russia.
M. Goncharov also said that by the end of the current week, the above-mentioned proposals will be sent to the government for consideration.

Mar 23 - Ukraine may revise 2023 corn crop forecast further - source
Ukraine, which expects a 15.2% decrease in the 2023 corn harvest, may lower its crop forecast further, a senior Ukrainian agriculture official said on Wednesday. Corn is a key Ukrainian export and has accounted for around 58% of its overall grain exports so far in the 2022/23 July-June season.

Mar 23 - Brazil's Abiove raises 2023 soybean crop, export view
Brazil's soybean output and exports in 2023 will be higher than expected, Brazilian oilseed lobby Abiove said on Wednesday, as local farmers harvest a bumper crop, Chinese demand remains strong and Argentine growers grapple with weather issues. Abiove now estimates Brazil's soy production at a record 153.6 million tonnes, 1 million more than the last projection in January.

Mar 23 - Turkey tenders to buy estimated 695,000 T wheat - traders
Turkey's state grain board TMO has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 695,000 tonnes of milling wheat, European traders said on Wednesday. The deadline for submission of price offers is March 28.

Mar 23 - Jordan buys 110,000 tonnes barley in tender, traders say
Jordan's state grain buyer has purchased about 110,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, European traders said. It purchased 50,000 tonnes from trading house Ameropa at $267 a tonne, including cost and freight (c&f), for shipment in the first half of August, and 60,000 tonnes from Viterra at $267 a tonne c&f for shipment in the second half of August, the traders said.

Mar 22 - Euronext rapeseed futures crash through €450/mt, no bottom in sight (AgriCensus)

- European rapeseed futures crashed through the €450/mt level Tuesday, as bearish sentiment continued to overwhelm the market. All three front months were trading below that level by 1730 CET: May was down by €12.25/mt to €441.50/mt, Aug fell €13.25/mt to €444.50/mt and November dipped by €13.25 to €449.25/mt. Market sources said they had expected to see some support for the contracts at the €450/mt level despite the weakness in the market and were uncertain now as to just how low prices could go.
“€450/mt was my bottom and we are past that,” one source told Agricensus, adding it made “no sense to go further from here all things being relative.”
“I honestly think it can go as low as needed. I can't bet on a certain number, but rapeseed oil is quite pressured,” another source said.

- Ample stock levels, high imports, and a good crop expected in Australia have all weighed on rapeseed and rapeseed oil prices in Europe in recent months. In addition, falling biofuel prices have undermined vegetable oil demand as a biofuel feedstock, while concerns in the banking sector have also contributed to the latest move, market sources said. The last time Euronext rapeseed’s front-month contract traded this low was two years ago.

- Prices have fallen by almost 60% from the highs of last spring and summer when the war in Ukraine sparked concern about supplies.

Mar 22 - Unseasonal rains and hail damage crops in India
Unseasonal rains and hailstorms have damaged ripening, winter-planted crops such as wheat in India's fertile northern, central and western plains, exposing thousands of farmers to losses and raising the risk of further food price inflation. Torrential rains on Sunday and Monday lashed Punjab, Haryana parts of Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh state, which account for the bulk of wheat output in India, the world's biggest producer after China, flattening crops and flooding farms. 

Mar 22 - Brazil's JBS Q4 net profit falls almost 64%
JBS, the world's biggest meatpacker, reported a nearly 64% fall in net profits for the fourth quarter, blaming its U.S. beef operations and an oversupplied global market for chicken meat that affected its Pilgrims Pride unit. JBS's U.S. beef operations is its biggest unit by sales, followed by Pilgrims Pride.

Mar 21 - Ukraine's 2023 grain harvest seen falling to 44.3 mln T
Ukraine's 2023 grain harvest is likely to fall to 44.3 million tonnes from 53.1 million in 2022 as less acreage is sown due to the Russian invasion, a forecast by the Ukrainian agriculture ministry showed on Monday. The crop could include 16.6 million tonnes of wheat, 21.7 million tonnes of corn and 4.8 million tonnes of barley, the ministry said. 

Mar 21 - India likely to harvest record 11.5 mln tonnes rapeseed this year
Rapeseed output in India, the world's biggest importer of vegetable oils, is likely to rise 7.5% this year due to a record planting of the winter-sown oilseed, a leading trade body said on Monday. Farmers are likely to harvest a record 11.5 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2023, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) told a news conference in the north-western state of Rajasthan, producer of more than half of India's rapeseed.

Mar 20 - Ukraine Black Sea grain deal extended for at least 60 days
A deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain was renewed on Saturday for at least 60 days - half the intended period - after Russia warned any further extension beyond mid-May would depend on the removal of some Western sanctions. The pact was brokered with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey in July and renewed for a further 120 days in November.  

Mar 20 - Brazil to raise biodiesel mandate to 12% in 2023
Brazil's National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) on Friday raised the country's mandatory blend of biodiesel in diesel to 12% starting in April, Mines and Energy Minister, Alexandre Silveira said. The council, which includes Silveira among other ministers, also proposed a gradual increase in the mixture over the next few years, with the level rising to 13% in 2024, 14% in 2025 and 15% in 2026.

Mar 18 - Ukraine officials claim grain deal extended for 120 days, Russia claims 60 (AgriCensus)

- The Black Sea grain corridor initiative will be extended for another 120 days, Ukrainian officials stated Saturday, although statements from Russian authorities have contradicted the claim, while the United Nations and Turkey have remained non-commital on the key element of the deal. Nevertheless, the anouncements seemingly end a period of weeks of negotiations and a late effort on the part of Russian authorities to cut the agreement's length in half to 60 just days. Market rumours that there would be an agreement had been growing stronger in the last few days, as the deadline for agreeing any extension loomed. Ukrainian authorities confirmed that the Black Sea grain initiative agreement would be extended for another 120 days via a statement on the official website of the Ukrainian ministry of infrustructure, adding that Ukraine is thankful to partners for “sticking to the agreements”.

- However, the announcement was accompanied by confirmation that an agreement had been reached, but the duration was notably absent. Russian media and authorities, including Maria Zakharova the head of information and press department at the Russian foreign affairs ministry, have claimed the agreement has been extended for 60 days. Ukraine has argued that such a change would effectively mean changing a central tenet of the existing deal and would consequently necessitate an entirely new agreement, which all parties would have to agree to. Under the Ukrainian extension, the next deadline for the deal would be set for July 17, right at the beginning of the new Black Sea crop marketing year.

- If confirmed, the extension of the agreement for a second time brings improved clarity to exports of Ukrainian agricultural produce, but the renewed agreement once again focuses minds on challenges caused by slow inspection pace at Istanbul.
“The main challenge is to speed up inspections in Turkey. This will allow the world to get even more Ukrainian agricultural products. We are also continuing our work on adding the Mykolaiv region ports to the Grain Initiative and expanding the cargo nomenclature,” the note said.
“Ukraine was and remains firmly embedded in the world economy and markets. The ability to export more will allow removal of inflationary risks, and as a result, social tension in many countries of the world,” it also said.

- Despite the tone, there was no official note on the topic from the UN at the time of publication, and only limited comment from Turkey and Russia, with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, confirming an agreement had been reached, but skimping on further details. The announcement comes just days after a Russian official has said that the country was prepared to agree an extension of the deal, but only for 60 days. That would have meant a significant change to the initial agreement, with Vasiliy Nebenzya, the permanent representative of Russia in the UN, quoted as saying that the deal was not being fulfilled in the way Russia had expected it to be. He argued that a shorter window would give Western powers 60 days to eliminate all the sanctions related to agriculture exports from Russia, with fertiliser exports one of the Russian's key complaints.

- However, wheat exports have racked up an impressive pace in recent weeks, as the country chows through a huge domestic wheat crop that has been estimated at over 100 million mt. Prior to the announcement, and paradoxically to Russian demands, Ukrainian authorities had been calling for the deal to be extened for a full year or even a termless period, arguing that it would make it easier to plan export bookings and logistics. Ukrainian authorities were also pushing for an increase in the number of inspection teams available in Istanbul, as well as the pushing for the cancellation of the requirement to inspect vessels leaving Ukrainian ports and adding the liberated port of Mykolaiv to the agreement.

- Since the start of the war in February 2022, Ukraine’s monthly agriculture export has recovered and been able to hit up to 6 million mt per month of exports, with the three re-opened deep sea ports (Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdenniy) augmented by flows from shallow water ports along the Danube river. Truck and rail deliveries across the border and into neighbouring EU nations have also increased. However, the addition of Mykolaiv and Ochakiv ports could make it possible to increase Ukraine's monthly export capacity to 8 million mt - although industry representatives were not optimistic about such changes and only expected the usual extension of 120 days. Since the start of the shipments within the agreement, Ukraine has shipped 25 million mt of agriculture products according to UN data, while the biggest receiver so far was China, followed by Spain and Turkey.

Mar 17 - Black Sea sunoil prices fall 15% past two months to 2.5 year lows (AgriCensus)

- Sunflower oil prices in the Black Sea region have fallen by 15% over the past two months, reaching their lowest level in the last two and a half years, as bearish sentiment in the vegetable oil market puts pressure on prices and the crisis in the banking system puts additional pressure. Prices for sunflower oil in the world's largest exporter have dipped on all delivery bases and Thursday, according to Agricensus monitoring data, they crossed the $1,000/mt threshold to stand at $990/mt CIF Turkey and $980/mt CIF Varna, landing in April. Not so long ago, European buyers could not compete on price with Turkish buyers, as Turkish buyers' prices were on average 4.5% higher.

- Spot bids for sunoil in Ukrainian ports fell $125/mt in the last two months to $900/mt CPT . Thursday, its lowest level since end-October 2020. In addition, according to analysts, Black Sea sunflower oil prices were feeling pressure from the fall in soybean oil futures and in European rapeseed oil values across the vegoil complex.

- Regarding future price developments, market sources suggest that the downtrend will continue in the short term, as high stocks of sunflower oil in China and sufficient supply of European buyers, as well as the abolition of export duties in India will continue to put pressure on the market. In addition, the month of Ramadan from March 22 to April 21 will also slow down demand.

- In the long term, market sources suggest a recovery in prices under the influence of bullish factors. A recovery in demand from Chinese and Indian buyers, a decline in soybean crops in Argentina due to drought, and developments in the palm oil market are among the main factors influencing this. In addition, a gradual decrease in the production and supply of sunflower oil from Ukraine, due to the reduction in sunflower stocks, will support prices for sunflower oil in the future.

- At the beginning of the 2022/23 season, Ukraine exported 2.92 million mt of sunflower oil, which is lower than last year's figure for the same period by an average of 13%. Analysts of Ukrainian companies expect a decline in sunflower oil production by an average of 7.5% to 4.15-4.5 million mt, and exports by 5-9% to 4.6-4.8 million mt.

Mar 17 - IGC sees global grains production rising in 2023/24
Global grains production is forecast to rise in the 2023/24 season but not enough to prevent a drawdown in stocks, the International Grains Council (IGC) said on Thursday. The inter-governmental body, issuing its first full set of projections for 2023/24, put grains production at 2.283 billion tonnes, up from 2.250 billion in the prior season. 

Mar 17 - India should keep lid on wheat exports to replenish local stocks
India should extend a ban on wheat exports in place since last year to help ensure lower domestic prices and sufficient stocks for consumers, a flour millers' industry body said on Thursday. Exports of the grain from India, the world's second biggest producer, surged after Russia's invasion of Ukraine boosted global prices, but a sudden rise in temperatures in March 2022 shrivelled the crop and cut yields, pushing local prices higher.

Mar 16 - Asian crops face El Nino threat, deepens food inflation worries
Cereal and oilseed crops across Asia are forecast to face hot, dry weather, with meteorologists expecting the El Nino weather pattern to develop in the second half of the year, threatening supplies and heightening concerns over food inflation. Vast swathes of farmland in Australia, Southeast Asia and India are expected to face higher temperatures, while some growing regions in North and South America are likely to see more crop-friendly weather as there is more than a 50% chance of the El Nino phenomenon occurring, meteorologists said. 

Mar 16 - Argentine soy processing in crisis as drought threatens harvest
Argentina's soybean crushing plants are operating at the lowest capacity in history due to the impact of a ferocious drought, the leader of the country's top grains processing chamber said on Wednesday. Argentina, the world's leading exporter of soymeal and soybean oil, is likely to have soybean production of 27 million tonnes this season, the lowest in nearly a quarter century, as a result of low rainfall and high temperatures, Argentina's Rosario grains exchange has said.

Mar 15 - US February soybean crush, stocks fall below estimates ( NOPA )

- US monthly soybean crushing levels for February came in at 165.4 million bushels, landing slightly below market expectations but still slightly higher year-on-year, according to estimates from the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) released Wednesday. The daily average processing pace for February 2023, however, resulted in the highest on record for the second month of the year. Prior to the report, market analysts estimated soybean crushing levels at 166.1 million bushels, while the January figures were reported at 179 million bushels and February 2022 at 165.1 million bushels.

- Soyoil supplies among NOPA members as of February 28 declined to 1.809 billion pounds (lbs), down 1% from January and 12% from a year-ago.

- Soyoil stocks for the month also landed below market expections set at around 1.886 billion lbs before the report's release.

- NOPA members account for around 95% of soybeans processed in the US.

Mar 15 - Black Sea grain talks continue as Russia seeks 60-day renewal
Talks continue to extend a deal to allow grain shipments from Ukraine's Black Sea ports ahead of a deadline later this week, the United Nations and Turkey said on Tuesday, after Kyiv rejected a Russian push for a reduced 60-day renewal. Since Russia and Ukraine signed the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative in Turkey on July 22, millions of tonnes of grain and other food products have been exported from Ukrainian ports, helping lower global food prices from record highs.  

Mar 15 - US senators seek to expand sales of ethanol-gas blend with support from Big Oil
U.S. senators reintroduced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday that would allow nationwide sales of gasoline with a higher blend of ethanol year-round, as a second heavy-weight oil trade group appeared ready to back the idea. Republican Senator Deb Fischer from Nebraska and Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota - both major corn-producing states - argue that the expanded sales of E15, or fuel containing 15% ethanol, would decrease gasoline prices and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Mar 14 - Dairy Price Update: Strong demand for cheddar drove up CME cheese prices this week (IHSmarkit)

- Spot blocks jumped 7 cents to $1.95 per pound.
- Barrels rallied 3.5 cents to close at $1.575.
- Between December and January US cheese inventories contracted.

US Milk
- Central region spot milk sold for as much as $10/cwt. below the Class III price from late December through February. This week, spot milk sunk to an eight-year low, selling for anywhere between $4 and $12 below Class III. The midpoint of the range, at $8 under, compares to a five-year average discount of around $1.50 in early March.
In the East, mild temperatures have facilitated cow comfort, and, like the Northeast, milk production is nearing spring flush levels. Bottling demand is noted to be strong.
In the Southeast and Florida, farm milk output is level to higher. Soft serve processing is strong, which has kept Class II cream multiples steady.
In California, farm level milk output is strong to steady. Milk production for February has moved up compared to January, but it was still below forecast levels.

US Cheese
- CME blocks finished the week at $1.78/lb., a decline of 17 cents from last Friday and 4.5 cents below the day prior. Barrels followed an inverse pattern and gained 19.5 cents to close the week at $1.77/lb., narrowing the block-barrel spread to one cent.
Cheese exports in January were the highest ever for the month, totaling 75 million pounds, an increase of 15.6% y/y, due especially to increased demand from Mexico, Japan, and Australia. Meanwhile, cheese exports to South Korea, the second largest destination for US cheese, fell by 7.8%.
On the economic front, the Mexican economy grew for five consecutive quarters through the end of 2022, lifting consumer demand. In addition, the peso gained value against the US dollar throughout the year (it reached a nearly six-year high this week), helping to make imports more affordable. In addition, a boom in post-COVID tourism in Mexico helped drive cheese consumption.

US Butter
- CME spot butter followed a downward trend this week and closed at $2.3325/lb. on Friday, a drop of 1.25 cents from last week’s closing.
Cream supplies are ample throughout the country, although contacts in the central regions report volumes being down, slightly, this week. Lighter production of cream cheese in the East has freed up some cream supplies for butter making.
US production for January was close to forecast, up 3.8%, but domestic disappearance remained very weak, down 8.8%. Furthermore, butter exports slipped 3.7% to 7.5 million pounds. Without an improvement in domestic demand, inventories will get heavy, leading to a drop in prices.

US Whey
- CME spot dry prices are steady to higher on slightly better demand. Closing price was $0.4425, up 0.25 cents from the day prior and up by the same amount compared to last Friday.
Whey exports were up 11.9% y/y on strong Chinese demand, but at 94.7 million pounds, whey shipments failed to beat 2021 and 2018's largest volumes. US whey success varied by geography: China bought more low-protein varieties, while high protein varieties found eager buyers in a host of different markets.
Prices for high-protein whey in early 2022 were more than double those in early 2021. It wasn't until Q4 of 2022 that we started to see some meaningful price declines. That prolonged high-price environment burned off demand globally, but the US was able to pull through better than the EU and NZ, which saw declines of 17% and 16%, respectively in 2022.

Non-Fat Dry Milk
- CME spot NDM closed the week at $1.1750/lb., unchanged from the prior day and up slightly from last Friday by 0.25 cents.
NDM/SMP volumes continued to bounce back after being the only major product category to contract in 2022. In January, exports surged 14.8% to 150.4 million pounds year-over-year, thanks to robust demand from Mexico.
Demand for low/medium heat NDM is steady from both domestic and international purchasers in the West. Regional milk output is healthy, and stakeholders anticipate output to increase during spring flush.
Strong production and available spot loads have contributed to lower prices for low/medium heat NDM. Production of high-heat NDM is limited as plant managers are focusing their schedules on the shorter drying times of low-/medium-heat NDM.

US Dairy Herd
- We had 65,300 dairy cows slaughtered in the week ending February 25, only 0.2% above the same week last year. However, year-to-date volume is still larger than year-ago levels by 4.9%.
Surprisingly, enough beef cattle slaughter has been much lower this year, falling by more than 5% below last year’s levels in the last three consecutive weeks. This means that dairy cows are taking up a greater percentage of the beef market share.
Slaughter of dairy cows in the US has become closer to year-ago levels but is still slightly higher. Culling cows appears to be one way dairy producers are dealing with tight margins, which allows them to manage cash flows and pay bills.

Mar 14 - Russia agrees grain deal extension, but pushes for 60 day cap (AgriCensus)

- Representatives of Russia and the United Nations have met in Geneva to discuss the ongoing Black Sea grain corridor agreement, with reports indicating Russia is prepared to greenlight an extension, but only for 60 days. The meeting comes just five days ahead of the current term's expiration date, on March 18, with the agreement operating on a 120-day cycle up to now.  Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Vershinin, said that the country does not mind extending the agreement, but only for 60 days instead of the 120 days agreed earlier in July and then in November. Vershinin said that Russia's agreement depended on concrete measures to normalise Russian agricultural exports, returning to a familiar theme of blaming Western authorities for crimping Russia's export pace amid formal and informal international sanctions.

- The sanctions were imposed after Russia brutally invaded neighbouring Ukraine in February 2022. Most sanctions have targetted financial entities, individuals or Russian businesses with links to the Kremlin, but grains and foodstuffs are not the subject of restrictions. The Russian wishlist was extended to include "our agricultural exports, including bank payments, transport logistics, insurance, 'unfreezing' of financial activities and the supply of ammonia through the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline," Vershinin said, quoted in local media.

Uncertain
- Traders have been split in their reaction, with some arguing that they see this as an effort at deploying additional leverage before agreeing the final extension, while others said that an extension for 60 days is better than no extension at all. But a 60 day extension would not be suitable for Ukraine's grain exports, making it even harder to plan forward shipments as a two month timeframe effectively only allows spot trading. That limited window is further compounded by the fact that ships arriving at Istanbul for inspections have been delayed by 25 days on average, with some vessels waiting up to 50 days - a delay that would be fundamentally incompatible with a 60 day agreement window.

- In response, Ukraine's infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said that the Black Sea Grain initiative agreement involved at least 120 days of extension, therefore Russia's position to extend the deal only by 60 days contradicts the documents signed by Turkey and the UN. As such, Ukraine will wait and see the official position of the agreement's partners, as the guarantors of the initiative. Meanwhile, while Russian grain traders have seen issues amid sanctions imposed on banks that have limited the number of financial entities through which it is able to process payments, grain export have increased during the last few months.

- January's export pace registered 4.7 million mt while February mustered 3.6 million mt, compared to 2 million mt and 2.5 million mt respectively in the same period of 2022, before the full-scale invasion started. However, with Russia hosting a huge 100 million mt plus wheat crop, its logistics have struggled to cope with the pace of exports, while end users have both sought to diversify their supply options and have pared back buying amid high prices - largely sparked by Russia's decision to invade Ukraine.

Mar 14 - Russia says Black Sea grain deal will be extended automatically if no objections
A deal allowing the safe export of grain from Ukraine's Black Sea ports will be extended automatically after it expires on March 18 if there are no objections from the involved parties, Russia's TASS state news agency reported on Tuesday. Citing an unnamed source familiar with the details of the negotiations around the agreement, TASS reported that so far none of the involved sides had indicated a withdrawal. 

Mar 14 - Ukraine faces a lack of herbicides, pesticides for spring sowing
Ukrainian farmers, which have already started the 2023 spring sowing, have only around 35% of the herbicides and pesticides they need, analyst APK-Inform quoted on Monday official data as showed. The Russian invasion has left Ukraine seriously short of finances, seeds and crop protection products, which could have a negative impact on crop yields this year.

Mar 13 - Turkish defmin says he believes Black Sea grain deal will be extended
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday that he believes that a deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported via the Black Sea will be extended from its current March 18 deadline. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered between Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey last July, aimed to prevent a global food crisis by allowing Ukrainian grain blockaded by Russia's invasion to be safely exported from three Ukrainian ports. 

Mar 13 - Malaysia palm oil assoc sees near-term prices at 4,000 rgt/T as supply tightens
Malaysia's benchmark crude palm oil prices are expected to stay supported at 4,000 ringgit ($885.15) a tonne in the near term due to tight availability of surplus, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) said on Saturday. Production in the world's second largest producer in 2023 is forecast higher at 19 million tonnes from 18.5 million tonnes last year, MPOA said.

Mar 10 - Morocco changes import scheme to secure wheat supplies (AgriCensus)

- The Moroccan government introduced new subsidy scheme and consumption restrictions for local users to ensure supply amid low grain production, an official note from the country’s ONICL said. The government will implement a wheat import tax on May 31 instead of the usual April 30, giving the importers a wider window to secure wheat volumes. The tax is normally over 100% and was designed to support local farmers but the country has faced a significant crop loss amid drought with end users heavily relying on imports.

-The government has also introduced subsidies of around $80/mt for Black Sea origin cargoes and $90/mt for other origins, including France and Germany, the country’s go-to European suppliers. The compensation will be made each month based on the bill of lading (BL) date, sources said, while prior to the change, the importers were paid after the cargo reached Moroccan waters.
“This gives a chance to buy goods from Black Sea, where the transit takes a bit more time than from France, especially with inspections delays in Ukraine,” a broker told Agricensus.
“I believe they will compensate 500,000 mt per month,” they added.

- After a meeting with the Association of Compound Feed Manufacturers (AFAC) representatives, ONICL announced local soft wheat and durum usage restrictions for feed millers to ensure supply for flour mills. Feed importers will have to source wheat from export markets till May 31, as the country will begin the harvesting campaign in June and the restrictions will be lifted. Yet traders were skeptical the changes would bring the benefits sought.
“Morocco is a very blurry market at the moment. They first said they would continue buying without implementing the import tax and then said they might do it in May,” a trader told Agricensus.

- Moroccan wheat production in the 2022/23 marketing year fell by 64% to 2.7 million mt from 7.54 million mt the previous year amid global droughts, according to the USDA data. The USDA data also shows Moroccan wheat production for 2022/23 was 53% below the five-year average of 2017-2021 of 5.7 million mt.
"They had a terrible crop last year because of the drought but this year it has rained a bit more so they might harvest more, although no estimates are available," a Europe-based broker told Agricensus. The collapse in local production has left Morocco heavily dependent on imports, with wheat imports increasing 84% from 4 million mt to 7.5 mt year-on-year in 2022, as the country’s annual demand is 10.5 million mt. The increased dependence on imports may explain why Morocco has had to extend its subsidy scheme and make it even more attractive for importers.

- Another aim of the changes may be to diversify Morocco’s import base. According to Agricensus Export Dashboard data, Morocco increased imports from the EU by 113% to 4 million mt in 2022, with 3.3 million mt coming from France. Brazil was second biggest supplier in 2022, with a total volume up 632% year-on-year to 332,044 mt, as the country had a strong wheat crop, while imports of Ukrainian wheat fell 92% to just 64,292 mt amid war.

Mar 10 - Argentina's 'unprecedented' drought pummels farmers and economyA historic drought ravaging Argentina's crops is deepening the grain exporting giant's economic crisis, crushing farmers across the Pampas, heightening default fears and putting at risk targets agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The South American nation, the world's top exporter of processed soy and No. 3 for corn, is in the grip of it worst drought in over 60 years, which has led to repeated sharp cuts to soybean and corn harvest forecasts.

Mar 10 - Russia raises doubts about grain deal renewal as deadline looms
Russia said on Thursday that a landmark deal to ensure the safe export of grain from Ukraine's Black Sea ports was only being "half-implemented", raising doubts about whether it would allow an extension of the agreement due to expire next week. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, aimed to prevent a global food crisis by allowing Ukrainian grain blockaded by Russia's invasion to be safely exported from three Ukrainian ports.

Mar 10 - Brazil to export record 93mmt of soybean; 50 mmt of corn (Anec)

- Brazil’s soybean shipments are projected at 93 million mt in 2023, while corn shipments are projected to reach 50 million mt, both estimated at all-time high levels, the grain exporters' association Anec said in its weekly report late Wednesday. If the projection is realized, Brazilian soybean shipments will increase 19.5% from last year’s 77.8 million mt. Meanwhile, corn shipments would surpass last year’s 43.1 million mt record by 16% and could put Brazil ahead of the US as the biggest corn exporter in the world.

Soybeans
- Brazil’s March soybean exports are projected at 14.2 million mt, 2.49 million mt higher than last year’s 12.1 million mt in the same month.  February exports totaled 7.5 million mt, below the 7.7 million mt previously estimated and lower than the 9.1 million mt shipped in the second month of 2022. The main destinations were China 72%, followed by Spain (7), Thailand, Russia (3%) and Argentina (2%).

Corn
- March corn exports were pegged at 803.219 mt, 695.987 mt higher than the 107.232 mt shipped in 2022. February exports totaled 1.9 million mt, at the same level projected and 1.4 million mt above last year’s 532,342 mt February shipments. The main buyer was Japan (23%), followed by Vietnam (10%), South Korea and Colombia (9%). China was the destination for 8% of the volume. In January and February, shipments totaled 486,500 mt and 70,000 mt, respectively.

Soymeal
- Soymeal exports are expected to reach 1.9 million mt in March, 536,047 mt above last year’s 1.3 million mt for the same month. February’s shipments hit 1.2 million mt, at the same level projected earlier, while exports totaled 1.5 million mt in the second month of 2022. The main buyers were Thailand (19%), the Netherlands (12%) and Indonesia (11%).

Wheat
- In the third month of the year, wheat exports are projected at 612,824 mt, above last year’s 508,164 mt March shipments, according to Anec.  Wheat exports ended February at 571,888 mt, lower than the previous 584,800 mt estimates and far below the 925,267 mt from the same month last year.  The main destinations were Indonesia (33%), Vietnam (10%) and Nigeria (8%).

Mar 09 - Dairy Price Update: EU butter prices down, cheese prices show some strength (IHSmarkit)

- The French butter price fell 0.5% while the EU Commission price is back 1.3%
- Hanover edam/gouda prices gained in excess of 1%
- Industrial butter demand very price sensitive

Within the EU butter prices weakened this week while cheese prices continued to show some strength. The movements in prices over the past few weeks are indicative of a market which is stabilising and finding a comfortable level to sit at. Prices have gained one week and then lost that gain the next week to overall track in a sideways direction. Although demand has improved, there is more raw supply available. This has pressured prices.

Butter : Over the past week major European butter quotations made the following movements:


Butter prices are very variable. With Easter approaching, this should offer some support to butter as baking increases over the Easter weekend. Industrial butter demand is very reactive to the price at the present time. Buyers are unwilling to hold stock and are reluctant to buy as soon as the price starts to increase.

Cheese : Over the past week major European cheese quotations made the following movements:


Demand for cheese is a little bit firmer which has fed through to the price movements this week. Stocks are continuing to reduce which is bullish for the price outlook. We are also seasonally moving into the Summer period when orders from Southern European counties increase to meet tourist demand.

WMP and SMP : Over the past week major European SMP and WMP quotations made the following movements:


Availability of SMP is still inconsistent with most being produced to order. Producers remain cautious about availability later in the year due to uncertainties over the raw milk supply outlook.The demand for WMP is remaining static both within Europe and Internationally.

Whey powder : Over the past week major European whey powder quotations made the following movements:


Demand for whey for animal feed is weakening while demand for food quality whey remains stable.

Mar 09 - Thai chicken exports top million tonne mark in 2022 (IHSmarkit)

- Total shipments up 10% by volume and 26% by value when compared to 2021
- Value of exports to EU and UK up by more than 50% y/y
- Lower sales to mainland China offset by gains in other Asian markets

- Thailand exported more than one million tonnes of chicken in 2022 as the country ramped up shipments to the UK and EU, along with some nearby countries in Asia. Total shipments reached 1.07 million tonnes – up 10% when compared to 2021. Of this total, more than 60% was accounted for by chicken preparations (HS code 160232) rather than fresh and frozen chicken cuts and whole birds. The value of Thai chicken exports increased by 26% y/y to USD4.2 billion in 2022, thanks to a combination of higher volumes and elevated prices.

- Japan remained the top export destination, taking 446,407 tonnes, up 3.5% y/y. More substantial gains were registered in the UK which took 183,492 tonnes of Thai chicken in 2022, up 31% y/y. Shipments to the EU rose by 16% y/y to 139,629 tonnes. The value of exports to the UK and EU together jumped by more than 50% y/y to USD1.29 billion.

- Shipments to mainland China declined by 18% to 85,495 tonnes, but this was offset by gains in Malaysia (+54% to 72,487 tonnes), South Korea (+28% to 43,284 tonnes) and Singapore (+42% to 29,462 tonnes).

Mar 09 - Wasde: USDA cuts Argentina's soybean output to 33mmt, below projections

- The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (Wasde) report cut Argentina’s soybean output by 8 million mt to 33 million mt, below the market’s projections, in a report published Wednesday. Argentina's production was cut from the previous 41 million due to dry and hot weather conditions, while the average market players projection was 36 million mt, according to an Agricensus poll Monday.

- Soybean CBOT futures traded higher immediately after the release, with the May contract up 12.4 c/bu four minutes after, however, futures were lower than before the release level 45 minutes later.

- Argentina is projected to export 3.4 million mt, down from the previous 4.2 million mt, while imports were increased by 1 million mt on the month to 7.2 million mt. Argentina’s domestic crush projection also declined to 35.2 million mt from the previous 37.3 million mt forecasts.

- US 2022/23 ending stocks were pegged at 210 million bushels (5.7 million mt), 15 million bushels (408,000 mt) lower than the previous 225 million bushels (6.1 million mt) from February’s Wasde, as higher exports more than offset lower crush. If realized, ending stocks would be the lowest in seven years, according to USDA.
On average, Agricensus poll has pegged US soybean ending stocks at 223 million bushels (6 million mt).

- US Soybean exports are raised by 25 million bushels (680,000 mt) to 2.02 billion bu (54.8 million mt) based on higher-than-expected shipments through February, USDA said. Domestic crush projection declined to 2.21 billion bushels (60.4 million mt), down from the previous 2.23 billion bushels (60.6 million mt) projection, on a small reduction in domestic soybean meal disappearance combined with a higher extraction rate. US production figures remained unchanged at 116.38 million.

- Global soybean output dropped from February’s 383.01 million mt to 375.15 million mt, due to cuts in Argentina and Uruguay’s crop, while beginning stocks slightly increased from 98.83 million mt from the previous report to 99 million mt. Global ending stock estimates were pegged at 100.01 million mt, down from the previous 102 million mt projection, while market players' average estimate was at 101.3 million mt, the Agricensus poll showed. Analysts heard by Agricensus poll projected global ending stocks at 100 million mt average.

- USDA also slightly increased global soybean exports to 168.40 million mt from the previous 167.53 million mt estimates, with lower exports for Argentina offset by higher shipments for US, Paraguay and Brazil. Global domestic use declined to 371.13 million mt from the previous 376.4 million mt. Global soybean imports increased to 165.39 million mt from the prior report’s 164.07 million mt.

- Brazilian output remained unchanged at 153 million mt while Brazil’s exports were slightly increased to 92.7 million mt, an all-time high and 700,00 mt increase from February.
- Uruguay soybean production is also lowered 200,000 mt to 2.1 million mt.
- China's output remained dropped to 20.28 million mt from the previous 20.3 million mt, while the country’s crush declined by 2 million mt to 92 million mt.  
- The Asian country's imports remained projected at 96 million mt while domestic demand dropped to 113.30 million mt from previous 115.30 million mt.

Mar 09 - Ukraine, U.N. call for extension of Black Sea grain export deal
Ukraine's president and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Wednesday for the extension of a  deal with Moscow that has allowed Ukraine to export grain via Black Sea ports during Russia's invasion. President  Volodymyr Zelenskiy said after talks with Guterres in Kyiv that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was "critically necessary" for the world, and the U.N. chief underlined its importance to global food security and food prices. 

Mar 09 - Indonesia's biodiesel policy, dry weather to keep palm oil prices elevated
Indonesia's biodiesel policy and the likely emergence of the El Nino weather pattern could further strain global  inventories of the most used cooking oil, lifting prices later this year, leading industry officials and analysts said at a conference. The market for vegetable oils is set to tighten for a year from mid-2023 as global biodiesel production could rise by around 4.5 million tonnes in 2023, leading industry analyst Thomas Mielke told a palm oil conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Mar 08 - UN chief in Ukraine on Wednesday to talk Black Sea grain deal renewal
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Wednesday to discuss extending a deal with Moscow that allows the Black Sea export of Ukraine grains amid Russia's war in the country. "The Secretary-General has just arrived in Poland on his way to Ukraine," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday, adding that Guterres will discuss the continuation of the deal "in all its aspects and other pertinent issues." 

Mar 08 - Brazil's corn-based ethanol supply grows as firms add capacity
Brazil will produce six billion liters of corn ethanol in the 2023/2024 season that begins in April, an increase of 36.7% over last season, trade group Unem said on Tuesday. The data confirms that Brazilian corn ethanol production, even in the face of an economic downturn during the pandemic and competition from the sugar-based alternative, grew and will continue to expand as society demands cleaner fuel alternatives.

Mar 07 - Malaysia’s palm oil stocks to dip in Feb on production cut:  (IHSmarkit + survey)

- Production estimates tighter due to rains
- Palm oil exports up marginally in February
- Markets will look for price outlook changes at POC 2023

- According to a S&P Global Commodity Insights survey, Malaysia’s palm oil inventories are expected to fall to 2.21 million mt at the end of February, a 2.6% dip from January as heavy rains weighed on production. Palm oil production in February is pegged at 1.3 million mt, down 5.8% from January, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts, traders and producers surveyed by S&P Global. The second largest palm oil producer and exporter after Indonesia is currently facing a worsening flood situation in parts of the country along with heavy rains which has curbed production, analysts said.

- Crude palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives exchange rose to a four-week high by March 4, driven by supply concerns over the heavy rains in Malaysia coupled with Indonesia’s export curbs. However on March 6, the benchmark May contract corrected by about 1% to MR4,278/mt due to profit taking as well as weaker soybean oil prices, trade sources said.

- Exports are expected to rise on the month with February exports pegged at 1.14 million mt, up from 1.135 million mt in January, the survey showed. Malaysia’s Palm Oil Board will release official supply and demand data March 10. This week, traders will be watching for commentary from leading analysts and industry veterans speaking at the Palm & Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference and Exhibition 2023.

- The event popularly known as the POC may see industry watchers revising their annual price estimates upward citing Malaysia’s falling production, trade sources told S&P Global.

Mar 07 - ABARES raises Australia’s MY 2022-23 wheat output forecast to record 39.2 mil mt (IHSmarkit)

- Western Australia, New South Wales production outlook strengthens
- Flooding impact expected to be mostly contained in isolated pockets
- MY 2022-23 wheat exports seen slightly higher on year at 28 mil mt

--The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science, or ABARES, raised its marketing year 2022-23 (October-September) forecast for Australian wheat output to a record high 39.2 million mt, from a prior estimate of 36.6 million mt in December, the bureau said in its quarterly report March 7. The output is 7.7% higher than 36.4 million mt estimated for MY 2021-22, according to the bureau.

- Australia’s wheat exports are also seen rising to 28 million mt, from 27.5 million mt in the previous year, on the back of higher output, ABARES said. The country’s wheat production is expected to rise following adequate rainfall over the recent months that increased soil moisture.
“Record yields in Western Australia and South Australia have caused a greater occurrence of grain yield dilution, which has contributed to below average protein levels in wheat,” the ABARES report said.

- The wheat harvest is expected to be the largest in Western Australia, followed by New South Wales, ABARES said. In Western Australia, ABARES now estimates full-year wheat production at 13.8 million mt, up from December’s forecast of 13 million mt. In New South Wales, the output has been raised to 10.3 million mt, from 9.1 million mt earlier.
“Wheat harvested in Queensland, northern New South Wales and much of Victoria have generally seen less of a downgrade than those harvested in central and southern New South Wales,” the report said.

- Excessive flooding had led to crop quality downgrade concerns. However, the impact has been limited to some areas, traders said. ABARES pegged Australia’s wheat acreage for MY 2022-23 around 13 million hectares, largely unchanged year on year.

Australia prices slide due to harvest pressure
- FOB Kwinana Australia Premium White milling wheat prices have been under pressure with the harvest looming. The APW FOB price dropped about 15%, or $57/mt, to $330/mt Mar 7, from Nov 1, according to the Platts assessments from S&P Global Commodity Insights.
- The marketing year for wheat in Australia starts from October. In 2022, a delay in the harvest due to persistent precipitation and widespread expectations of protein downgrade had supported APW prices.
- Australian wheat may continue to see pricing pressure as the new Black Sea crop returns, but buyers have been worried about shipment security with the Black Sea Grain Initiative expiring March 18.

Mar 07 - Asian palm oil buyers seek stable export policies from producers
The Asian Palm Oil Alliance (APOP), a body of palm oil buyers, want producing countries to make sure they have stable export policies after changes last year caused volatility in the trading of the tropical oil, the head of the group said. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka are currently members of the APOP and the alliance wants to add more buyers, Atul Chaturvedi, the APOP chairman, said at the annual meeting of member countries in Kuala Lumpur late on Monday. 

Mar 07 - China's Jan-Feb soybean imports jump 16% on year
China, the world's top oilseed buyer, imported 16.17 million tonnes of soybeans in January and February, customs data showed on Tuesday, up 16.1% on the same period a year ago, as buyers stocked up amid tight supply. The jump in arrivals came after lower imports through much of 2022, though imports had already surged in December.

Mar 07 - US corn wins price competition with Ukraine into China (AgriCensus)

- Chinese importers have been busy buying cargoes of US corn, with trade sources estimating anywhere between five and 18 vessels have been sold as the pricing of US cargoes outperforms even Ukrainian corn cargoes, trade sources have told Agricensus. Facing a barrage of exporting challenges, Ukrainian corn has been the cheapest option internationally for several months, but a slow export pace and mounting stocks has made the US increasingly competitive - to the point where it is now on par with Ukrainian. The price for the purchases was not known, with trade still guessing if the tonnage figure is real or not, but trade sources agreed that US corn is currently the cheapest into China.
“That was the talk all last week, 1.2 million mt or something but it still hasn’t hit the flash, so it must of either been a sale to another US entity that hasn't been priced yet, or a rumor,” a US-based broker said.

- The selling ideas for US corn loaded from Pacific ports on CFR China basis were indicated at around $335-339/mt for the March-April period, while Ukrainian corn is offered at $338-340/mt on the same basis. But the price ideas for Ukrainian origin were shown for April dates and with the grain deal not officially extended, traders have not risked making firm offers. It also comes as, unlike the US, in Ukraine, there is no guarantee the vessel will be loaded on time, as the inspection delays continued with some vessels currently waiting up to 50-60 days.
“On the corn situation, I am not surprised, and it tells me the Chinese are nervous about corn procurement if they are buying US this time of year,” a US-based trader said.

- In terms of Ukrainian corn, the US sale injects further negative risk into the market and could push the Ukrainian corn price lower as well as have larger consequences down the line. The sale of US corn adds negative price risk to the Ukrainian market, currently struggling with a quiet domestic market and weak export demand tied to shipping delays and uncertainty over the Black Sea corridor, and could negatively impact farmers who may have difficulty financing new crop planting due to lower corn prices.  
“PNW is same as Ukrainian corn, even cheaper, thus it is not helping to get the Chinese, and on top of Chinese, that book vessel which is in the JCC is threatening to cancel the contract if late,” an EU-based trader said.

- China has booked 6.45 million mt of corn through September 2022-January 2023 period, 23% less compared to the same window a year ago. Almost half of that amount was booked from Ukraine - slightly above 3 million mt.

Mar 07 - Australia set for record crop exports after heavy rains
Australia is expected to report record-breaking agricultural exports in the current financial year, the government said on Tuesday, after years of high rainfall boosted yields. Agricultural exports are forecast to hit a record $75 billion in 2022–23, according to the federal Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES). 

Mar 07 - Tunisia receives few offers in 25,000 T barley tender
The lowest price offered in an international tender from Tunisia's state grains agency on Friday to purchase about 25,000 tonnes of animal feed barley was believed to be $299.95 a tonne c&f, according to initial assessments from European traders. Participation was thin, with some traders saying two trading houses were taking part and others saying three.

Mar 06 - Thai rice prices turn bullish amid rise in local prices (IHSmarkit)

- Covering for previous sales results in higher local prices
- Baht strengthens against the dollar after recent weakness
- Thai rice exports are expected to increase 4% y/y in 2023

- Thailand’s rice market turned bullish in the week to 3 March due to a rise in local prices. Some exporters had lowered their offers at the start of the week amid slow export demand and the weakness of the baht against the dollar. However, covering for previous sales resulted in higher local prices and led exporters to raise their offers again. The rise in local prices coincided with a strengthening of the baht against the dollar, after recent weakness. While offers increased, fresh offshore demand remained slow. Exporters reported the market as “not so active”, “quiet”, and that buyers were waiting for lower prices.

- Platts assessment of Thai 5% broken white rice finished the week at $455/tonne FOB, $6 higher than previous week. Thai Hom Mali prices softened last week due to the weakness of the baht. Platts Hom Mali A1 Super 100% broken was assessed down $4 from the previous week to $450/tonne FOB FCL based on indicative values.

- Thai rice exports are expected to reach 8 million tonnes in 2023, up 4% year-on-year due to the weakness of the baht against the dollar and strong demand from the Middle East, according to the Thai Commerce Minister. However, the Thai Foreign Trade Department has maintained its export target at 7.5 million mt, unchanged from its 2022 target.

Mar 06 - Turkey says it is working to renew Black Sea grain deal
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday that Ankara is working hard to extend a U.N.-backed initiative that has enabled Ukraine to export grain from ports blockaded by Russia following its invasion. The Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports. The agreement was extended in November and will expire on March 18 unless an extension is agreed. 

Mar 06 - India's wheat output dented by heatwave, could limit government stock building
A heatwave in northern and central India at a time the crop is ripening is threatening to damage grains and dent the country's wheat production for the second straight year.The reduction in production amid a drop in inventories to the lowest level in 6 years may force the world's second biggest producer of the grain to allow imports after banning exports last year.

Mar 04 - Market Briefing: Dairy (IHSmarkit)

- US milk production grew 1.3% y/y in January
- In 2022 Indonesia imports of milk powders and concentrates increased 17.5% y/y
- The producer price of Parmigiano Reggiano stands 1% higher y/y

Production
- January headline milk production for the US was slightly weaker than forecast, up 1.3% compared to our forecast of 1.5%. The USDA also revised down December’s milk output from +0.8% to +0.6%. The fat and protein content in milk slipped in January, leaving component-adjusted production up just 1.4%. Dairy cow herd numbers were revised down in November and December by 4,000 head, but cow numbers for January came in 6,000 head higher than forecast. Mild winter weather throughout the country likely drove January's increases.

Demand
- Retail data from Italy shows that Parmigiano Reggiano demand is remaining robust compared to its competitors. In January 2023 sales increased by 8.7% according to Nielsen data (2,855 tonnes vs. 2,628 tonnes in January 2022).
- EU demand for butter continues to be reported as good. Demand on the international market is improving with the revival of the Chinese foodservice market increasing demand for butter and cheese.

Trade
- In 2022, Indonesia’s milk powder and concentrate imports grew 17.5% y/y to 333,100 tonnes. New Zealand was the largest supplier and saw its absolute volume increase as well as expanding its market share. New Zealand’s market share grew from 30% in 2021 to 45% in 2022. New Zealand volumes increased 74.5% y/y to 149,600 tonnes.
- During 2022 the EU exported 1.4 million tonnes of fluid milk and cream, an 11.0% y/y contraction. Cheese and cud volumes fell 4.4% to 1.3 million tonnes. Milk powder and concentrate shipments were back 12.9% y/y to 1.2 million tonnes. Although volumes were down due to increases in prices the total value rose. In 2022 EU dairy product exports had a value of EUR18.26 billion, an 18.2% y/y increase.

Prices
- At the GDT Pulse on February 28, the WMP price fell 2.3% to USD3,210/tonne. Product clearance remained at 1,000 tonnes.
- As of the end of January, the producer price of Parmigiano Reggiano stood 1% higher y/y at EUR11.63/kg. Compared to a month ago the price is 1% lower.

Mar 04 - Market Briefing: Meat and Livestock (IHSmarkit)

- Austrian pig herd shrinks in 2022.
- South African chicken meat imports hit eight-month high.
- Argentina suspends chicken exports after finding HPAI in commercial poultry farm.
- China halts decline in pork prices as stockpiling resumes.

Production
- Pig numbers in Austria have fallen by almost 5% over the past year, mirroring similar declines seen in many other EU countries. Data from Statistics Austria show the pig herd shrinking to 2.65 million head on 1 December 2022, down 4.9% y/y. As in other parts of Europe, Austrian producers have been downsizing or exiting the sector in the face of high production costs, made worse since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In 2022, the number of pigs slaughtered in Austrian slaughterhouses fell by 4.3% to 4.88 million head, while the number of farms with pigs shrank by 2.2% y/y to 19,201.

Demand
- South African chicken meat imports are rising again as the country’s ongoing power crisis hampers efforts to become more self-sufficient in poultry products. South African chicken meat imports reached 36,920 tonnes in January – up 16% y/y and the highest monthly volume since May of last year. Almost 80% of the chicken meat imported in January came from Brazil – a country that has so far managed to remain free of highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) despite outbreaks in most of its neighbors. A further 13% came from Argentina, where HPAI has just reached commercial poultry for the first time ever. If the disease spreads to Brazil, South Africa’s hardline approach to HPAI will be tested as authorities will have to balance this against the need to keep markets supplied with affordable chicken at a time when power outages are hampering domestic production.

Trade
- Argentina this week suspended poultrymeat exports after confirming its first case of HPAI in commercial poultry. Argentina is an important supplier of poultrymeat to world markets – shipping 162,000 tonnes of chicken meat in 2022. Two thirds of these shipments went to China and South Africa – two countries that take a strict approach to HPAI by banning imports from entire countries rather than just the affected regions. The appearance of HPAI in neighboring countries is raising concerns in Brazil – a country whose longstanding HPAI-free status helped it emerge as the world’s largest poultry exporter. Elsewhere, Turkey recently confirmed a case of HPAI on a farm with 1.38 million birds, prompting the Philippines to announce a ban on imports of Turkish poultrymeat. Further analysis of these developments can be found in the first of our new monthly updates on animal diseases and their market impacts.

Prices
- Prices of pork and pigs are finally showing signs of improvement in mainland China following a prolonged decline that dates back to October last year. Average hog prices rebounded to CNY15.45 per kg (USD2.25/kg) in the fourth week of February – a rise of 4% on the previous week, according to China’s National Reform and Development Commission (NRDC). The turnaround appears to have been aided by news that the NRDC would stockpile 20,000 tonnes of pork in late February, as it did during a similar market downturn in March 2022. The Chinese Agriculture Ministry said hog prices rose by a further 3.2% in the week to 26 February. Meanwhile, wholesale pork prices edged up to CNY20.94 per kg in the fourth week of February – an increase of 3% over the past two weeks.

Mar 04 - US PNW corn throws lifeline to export outlooks as Asia stocks up (AgriCensus)

- US corn exports could rebound in the weeks ahead as a combination of drought in Argentina, delays in the Black Sea and the late-running Brazilian crop appear to have opened an export window for the country - with the renewed competitiveness spearheaded by the Pacific Northwest. The dynamic could reverse a pattern of slow exports and a lag to last year's pace that has raised fears that the US might not be able to meet the USDA's 2022/23 marketing year export forecast of 48.9 million mt.  
“PNW is the low-cost supplier to Asia right now and some $4-5 per mt below South America,” Larry Shonkwiler at Advance Trading told Agricensus.
“With Brazil somewhat out of the market until mid-July and a smaller Argentine crop and/or perhaps tighter producer holding there, the U.S. should be the beneficiary through June,” he continued.

- Corn FOB PNW values combined with freight to Northeast Asia weighed in at about $326.25 mt on Thursday, lower than Up River Argentina corn cargoes on a handysized basis. When combined with shipping costs to the same destination, Argentina came in at $336/mt, with Brazil similarly out of the picture at $331.25/mt.
“It does seem like we've had a few bargain hunters show up and at least give us a hint of demand, especially off the PNW of late,” Kelly Herrick of Advance Trading said in an interview with Agricensus.   

- Cargoes from the US Gulf are also looking competitive, with corn FOB US Gulf at a $7/mt discount to Argentina's Up River on Thursday, the biggest since January 2021.  

Mar 03 - Ukraine farm sector has lost $38 bln since Russian invasion - analysts
The Ukrainian agricultural sector has suffered almost $38 billion in direct and indirect losses from Russia's invasion, analysts from the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) said on Thursday. Ukraine is a major global grain grower and exporter but large areas of its east, south and north have been fought on, occupied and mined since the invasion just over a year ago.

Mar 03 - Argentina soy crop estimate to be cut again, says major exchange

The Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday it plans to cut its estimate for Argentina's soybean crop for the 2022/23 cycle for the fourth time as the country struggles with the ongoing impact of drought and high temperatures. The exchange did not give further details about the size of the new cut. The soybean crop is currently estimated at 33.5 million tonnes, down from the initial projection of 48 million tonnes.

Mar 03 - Ukraine doesn't plan to curb 2023/24 wheat exports
- govt official
Ukraine sees no need to limit wheat exports for the upcoming 2023/24 July-June season, as the winter harvest looks to be larger than expected, albeit smaller than in peacetime, a top agriculture ministry official said on Thursday. Ukraine was the world's fifth-largest wheat exporter before the war with Russia, and its shipments were especially important to poor countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Mar 03 - Turkey buys 465,000 tonnes barley in tender
- traders
Turkey's state grain board TMO has provisionally bought about 465,000 tonnes of animal feed barley in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said. The tender has concluded and no more purchases are expected, they said. The volume was slightly more than the 440,000 tonnes originally sought.

Mar 02  - Brazil's Feb soybean exports slump 17% on year amid harvest delay (IHSmarkit)

- Daily Feb shipments down 13% on year
- Basis prices slump $16/mt on month

- Brazil’s soybean exports slumped 17% on the year to 5.2 million mt in February, according to the country’s foreign trade department Secex, signaling tight supplies in recent weeks. Daily soybean shipment volumes in February were estimated at 288,880 mt, down 13% year on year, SECEX data showed March 1. The country’s January soybeans exports were below expectation as well at 0.84 million mt, down 66% year on year, the data showed.

- Brazil, the world’s largest soybeans supplier, has been experiencing a delayed harvest in marketing year 2022-23 (January-December 2023) because of which the domestic supplies have been curtailed substantially since January, analysts said. A survey by agricultural consultancy AgRural showed that 33% of the projected 43.3 million hectares of soybean area had been harvested by Feb. 23, down 10 percentage points on the year.

- Brazil’s soybeans exports are expected to accelerate from April and peak in May-June, analysts said. The South American country is projected to harvest a record crop of 152.9 million mt and ship out 93.9 million mt in MY 2022-23, national agricultural agency Conab said Feb. 8.

- Anticipating the bumper output, soybeans basis prices have been under pressure in 2023. Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed SOYBEX FOB Santos for April shipments at $556.05/mt, down $16/mt on the month.

Mar 02 - Asian buyers step up Indian corn imports as drought cuts Argentine crop
Feed millers in Asia are boosting corn purchases from India, as a severe drought has reduced production in traditional supplier Argentina, two traders said on Thursday. Importers in Malaysia and Vietnam are booking around 200,000 tonnes of Indian corn a month, they said.

Mar 02 - India plans to buy about 34 mln tonnes of wheat from local farmers

The Indian government plans to buy about 34 million tonnes of new-season wheat from local farmers to shore up state reserves after purchases dropped last year because of a poor harvest, two government sources said. State purchases of wheat fell by 53% last year to 18.8 million tonnes, pushing up local rates and forcing the government-backed Food Corporation of India (FCI) to release 5 million tonnes of the grain from its reserves to cool prices.

Mar 02 - Ukraine says grain exports reached 5.2 million tonnes in February
Ukrainian grain exports reached 5.2 million tonnes in February, exceeding last year's level of 5.05 million tonnes, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday. The data showed that overall grain exports so far for the 2022/23 season were down almost 26% at 32.3 million tonnes, hit by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion.

Mar 02 - Russia says it will only renew grain deal if its own exports are unblocked
Russia said on Wednesday it would only agree to extend the Black Sea grain deal, which allows grain to be safely exported from Ukrainian ports, if the interests of its own agricultural producers are taken into account. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last year, expires on March 18 and cannot be extended unless all parties agree.

Mar 01 - India to remove tax holiday on sunflower oil imports (IHSmarkit)

- Ruling to stop duty free imports of sunflower oil after March
- Move follows end of zero duty soybean oil imports in Jan

- India will discontinue the import of crude sunflower oil under the Tariff Rate Quota, or TRQ, which had earlier allowed import of 2 million mt of the edible oil at nil duty, according to a notice by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade March 1.

- India, the largest importer of vegetable oils, had first announced a TRQ on the imports of 2 million mt of soybean oil and sunflower oil each for two years in May 2022 to reign in high vegetable oil prices at the time. The ruling will cap the tax holiday on sunflower oil imports to those with a bill of lading dated on or before March 31 and registered imports will be allowed till June 30. The latest move follows a government directive in January 2023 which removed soybean oil imports from the TRQ ambit. Under the TRQ system a quota for duty-free import of soybean oil and sunflower oil is assigned to importers with a ceiling of maximum 200,000 mt for each buyer. While crude soybean oil import quota was issued to 99 applicants, the crude sunflower derivative purchase quota was allocated to 85 importing firms, according to market sources.

Industry reactions
- Some of the industry executives expected the move. “The Tariff Rate Quota on sunflower oil is going to end soon so it will be taxed at 5.5% from April,” B.V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors' Association of India or SEA told S&P Global Commodity Insights Feb. 25.
- Vegetable oil trade bodies had been petitioning the government to end the tax holiday on imports as prices had normalized after the spike due to the Russia-Ukraine war and further fall in market prices could discourage local oilseed farmers.
“As India has already imported huge stock of soy and sun oil in January and February month, TRQ suspension will not lift sun oil or soy oil prices. Edible oil prices will continue to remain under pressure till March-end,” said Manoj Shukla, senior vegetable oil analyst at Agriworld.

- Without the TRQ exemption, crude sunflower oil imports will be subject to a 5% Agricultural Development cess and a 10% Social Welfare cess on top, resulting in a total duty of 5.5% -- similar to the import tax currently charged on crude palm oil and crude soybean oil currently.
- In the marketing Year 2021-22 (November-October), India imported 7.91 million mt of palm oil, 4.17 million mt of soybean oil and 1.94 million mt of sunflower oil, data from SEA showed.

Mar 01 - Will recent weakness in CBOT corn, soy become a trend through 2023? - Braun
New-crop corn and soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade had a rough end to February with broad selling across agricultural commodities. Whether that will be a theme throughout 2023 is yet to be seen, but that trend has been unfamiliar in recent years.

Mar 01 - Argentine farmers protest tax, currency policies as drought weighs

Farmers in Argentina staged a protest in Santa Fe province on Tuesday to demand lower taxes and a better exchange rate for their exports, amid a prolonged economic slump and historic drought that has battered crops and agricultural output.Farmers are asking President Alberto Fernandez's government for less burdensome interventionist trade policies and the elimination of export taxes, as they suffer from the worst drought in 60 years.

Mar 01 - Turkey buys 790,000 tonnes wheat in tender tender - traders
Turkey's state grain board TMO has provisionally purchased an estimated 790,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender for the same volume on Tuesday, traders said. The tender is over and no more purchases are expected, they said.

Mar 01 - Ukraine urges UN and Turkey to start talks to extend grain deal

Ukraine has sent an appeal to the UN and Turkey to start negotiations on extending a grain export deal, but there has been no response, a Ukrainian government source said on Tuesday. Yuriy Vaskov, Ukraine's deputy minister of restoration, told Reuters last week that Kyiv would ask all sides to start talks to roll over the deal, seeking an extension of at least one year that would include the ports of Mykolaiv.

Feb 28  - U.S. disagreement on Mexico corn decree 'politically motivated,' Mexico says
The United States' disagreement with Mexico over its plan to limit imports of genetically modified corn is "politically motivated," Mexico's economy ministry said on Monday. The United States has threatened a trade dispute panel under a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada over the plan, which would ban genetically modified corn for human consumption.

Feb 28  - Argentina's GDM prepares launch of new GMO soy seeds in South Africa
Plant genetics company GDM has applied for registration in South Africa of 13 soy plant varieties after the country approved the use of a new GMO seed technology, according to company executives on Monday. GDM is based in Argentina but derives most of its sales in neighboring Brazil, where that same technology has been in use since 2014.

Feb 28  - Ukraine grain exports down 27% so far in 2022/23 season to 31.8 mln tonnes
Ukraine grain exports are down almost 27% at 31.8 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season so far, hit by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume so far in the July to June season included about 11.2 million tonnes of wheat, 18 million tonnes of corn and about 2 million tonnes of barley.

Feb 28  - South Korean flour mills tender for 85,000 tonnes of wheat
- traders
A group of South Korean flour mills has issued a tender to purchase around 85,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States and Canada, European traders said on Monday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the tender is Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Feb 27  - Russian wheat vessels still stuck in Persian Gulf despite Iran’s promise to clear debt (AgriCensus)

- Vessels carrying Russian wheat to Iranian ports remain at a standstill in the Persian Gulf, stuck where they have been for months, online ship tracking software shows. Some of the boats arrived back in September 2022 and are still not yet discharged despite the Iranian government's month-old promise that it would clear its debts.

- Back on January 25, after the official visit of a Russian delegation to Iran, the two countries reached an agreement that Iran will pay for all the agricultural products that have been stuck in the region, including wheat. But, since then, nothing has moved with vessels totaling around 662,500 mt of wheat still being shown as waiting in the Persian Gulf or at Iranian ports. Much of the wheat that is believed to still be aboard the vessels is mostly thought to have been bought through the government purchasing agency GTC, rather than private buyers.

- Trade sources have told Agricensus that most of the deals done with private buyers have been delivered, discharged and paid. Iran traditionally has faced issues with payments amid long-lasting international sanctions, but in addition to those issues, and against a backdrop of domestic turmoil, it was said that the country has exhausted its funding.

- Meanwhile, traders cannot cancel deals because they will incur significant losses since at the time of contract signing, prices were much higher.

Feb 27  - Europe's grain crops in good condition as spring approaches
Grain crops in Europe are nearing the end of winter in good condition, though low rainfall in the west of the region is a risk for the spring growing period, analysts said. A record dry spell in France over the past month has raised concern about a repeat of the drought that last year damaged later-planted crops such as maize.

Feb 27  - Funds seen as net sellers in CBOT corn, wheat, soy so far this month
- Braun
Speculators ended January extending length in Chicago-traded corn and soybeans and cutting back on bearish wheat bets, though selling may have dominated so far this month, especially late last week. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission resumed publication of Commitments of Traders (CoT) on Friday after having been down for nearly a month after a ransomware attack on Ion Markets disrupted collection of data.

Feb 27  - South Korea’s NOFI buys estimated 69,000 tonnes of corn in tender

Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has bought an estimated 69,000 tonnes of animal feed corn in an international tender for up to 138,000 tonnes which closed on Friday, European traders said. The corn was bought in one consignment for arrival in South Korea around June 15 and was expected to be sourced optionally from the United States, South America or South Africa while traders said Eastern Europe was excluded as a source.

Feb 24  - Market Briefing: Meat and Livestock (IHSmarkit)

- EU pig herd shrinks in 2022, further falls in pork production expected.
- Portugal imports more poultrymeat to meet rising demand.
- Spain sustains pork export earnings in 2022 despite China slowdown.
- Prices for eggs and pork pushing ever higher in Europe.

Production
- Pig herds in the EU fell to their lowest level in more than two decades at the end of 2022, according to provisional figures from Eurostat. Pig numbers fell by more than 5% y/y in the EU last year, with the steepest falls seen in Germany (-10.2%) and Denmark (-12.2%). The pressures caused by high production costs were also evident in Spain – the EU’s largest pig producing country – where pig numbers fell for the first time in more than a decade, albeit by a relatively light 1.1% y/y. Despite a moderate easing of feed cost pressures, EU pork production in 2023 is expected to fall by 4% y/y to 24.69 million tonnes, while emerging climate regulations are expected to contribute to further declines in the years ahead.

Demand
- Portugal imported record volumes of chicken meat in 2022 as domestic production failed to keep pace with increased demand. Portugal’s per capita consumption of poultrymeat overtook pork in 2020 and then retained this lead in 2021. Consumption figures for 2022 are not yet available but trade data shows that Portugal imported a record 69,136 tonnes of broiler meat in 2022, up 18% on the previous year. Elsewhere, pork remained the most popular type of meat in France in 2022 as consumption rose by 1.8% y/y to 32kg per capita. Production declined however, dropping by 2% y/y with even steeper falls expected in 2023, according to French industry association Inaporc.

Trade
- Spanish pork exporters fared better than those in other European countries in 2022, as export earnings were maintained despite a sharp drop in volumes shipped to mainland China. Total exports of pigmeat and pig offal totalled 2.69 million tonnes in 2022, down by 5% y/y. However, the value of these shipments increased to EUR7.49 billion – up 7% y/y. Volumes shipped to mainland China slumped to 692,855 tonnes – down 42% y/y. Spain responded by redirecting shipments to countries such as Japan and Philippines. Spanish exports to France slipped by 3% in volume terms but the value of these sales rose by 11% y/y to EUR700 million. In most other EU countries, Spain successfully took market share from rival pigmeat suppliers such as Germany.

Prices
- European egg prices have risen to yet another record high level, as demand continues to outstrip limited supply. In the week ending 19 February, the EU average price for Class A eggs was EUR251.48 per 100kg, almost 73% above the level recorded this time last year.
- Meanwhile, an upturn in EU pig prices has accelerated in recent weeks following a further tightening of supplies. The EU average price for Class E pigs has risen by almost 10% over the past month to stand at EUR220.57 per 100kg in the week ending 19 February. Steep increases were reported in Netherlands, Germany and France. The only major exception was Denmark where prices have been depressed in recent weeks. With supplies tightening across Europe however, prices in Denmark could stage a recovery in the weeks ahead.

Forward view
- Global beef markets will be keeping a close eye on China’s response to a new case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Brazil. After confirming the case this week, Brazil temporarily suspended beef shipments to mainland China in line with bilateral sanitary protocols. An earlier case of ‘atypical’ BSE caused Brazil to be shut out of the Chinese market for three months in 2021. With access restored, Brazil then exported an unprecedented 1.24 million tonnes of beef to mainland China in 2022, earning almost USD8 billion. This represented about 60% of total Brazilian beef exports. China’s response to such cases is unpredictable, but a prolonged suspension would force Brazil to redirect beef to other markets, while opening opportunities for rival suppliers to expand their market share in China.

Feb 24  - Argentina's corn, soybean production output lowered: BAGE (AgriCensus)

- Corn and soybean production estimates in Argentina have been lowered as a result of harsh dry and hot conditions in the country, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange (BAGE) said in its weekly report, released Thursday. The data covered the week ending February 22.

Corn

Corn harvest for commercial grain is advancing in the center of the national agricultural area and yields surveyed so far are below initial expectations.
Thus, BAGE's new corn output is lowered to 41 million mt for 2022/23 from the previous estimate of 44.5 million mt on low yields generated.
If realized, it would result in a year-on-year production decline of 21%.
Areas rated rated in good-to-excellent condition for corn declined by 2 points to 9%, while moisture is rated as favorable in 40% of the area, a 5 points decrease on the week.

Soybean

Soybean production was also lowered to 33.5 million mt, down 4.5 million mt from the previous estimate, following early frosts on the western edge of the agricultural area, lack of rain, and the heat registered during the beginning of February.
The severity of the damage caused by the high temperatures remains to be assessed during the coming weeks and Bage cautions that depending on the impact, the current production estimate figure could undergo a new update.
Soybean crop areas rated in good-to-excellent condition declined by 6 points to 3% of the total crop. The water conditions also worsened as areas considered dry are now at 71%, a 4 percentage points increase on the week, while areas considered in optimum and adequate condition are now at 29%, down by the same amount.

Sunflower

The sunflower harvest has reached 24.5% of the 2 million ha projected area, a 1 percentage point weekly increase.
The national average yield is 15.3 qq/ha and the projected production is maintained at 3.9 million mt.
Sunflower crops rated in good-to-excellent conditions moved up 3 percentage points to 19% of the total, with dry conditions moving down 1 point to 15% of the total crop.

Feb 24  - Argentina's soy crop forecast cut again as extreme weather bites
Argentina's 2022/2023 soybean crop is estimated at 33.5 million tonnes, down from 38 million tonnes previously forecast, a major grains exchange said on Thursday, as drought, a recent heat wave and early frosts have taken their toll on the key cash crop. The new estimate marks the third cut the Buenos Aires grains exchange has issued for soybean production, which at the beginning of the season was estimated at 48 million tonnes.

Feb 24  - Heavy U.S. supply outlooks dent optimistic corn market - Braun
Although not totally unexpected, corn bulls were bummed on Thursday to see the sizable supply numbers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual outlook for the upcoming U.S. crop year. But they could take some solace in the fact that both acreage and yield numbers - the latter of which is very meaty on the part of the government - are far from settled.

Feb 24  - Grains export push to boost dry bulk shipping market

Bumper soybean harvests in Brazil and unsold grains stocks in the United States are set to boost dry bulk shipping rates as buyers including China restock after supply shocks last year, leading freight operators said. The dry bulk shipping market has been hit in recent months by slow activity, partly driven by the COVID lockdowns in China, one of the world’s biggest generators of seaborne commodities trade including grains as well as coal and iron ore.

Feb 24  - EU cuts soft wheat export forecast, ups stocks outlook
The European Commission on Thursday cut its forecast for European Union exports of common, or soft, wheat, in the current 2022/23 season to 32 million tonnes from 34 million projected a month ago. That would nonetheless be about 9% above 2021/22 exports of 29.3 million tonnes, the Commission's grain supply and demand data showed.

Feb 23  - Brazil halts beef sales to China as BSE confirmed (IHSmarkit)

- BSE found in nine-year old animal on farm in northern Brazil
- Beef shipments to China suspended from today (23 February) in line with bilateral sanitary protocols
- China by far the largest market for Brazilian beef with trade worth almost USD8 billion in 2022

- Brazil has confirmed it will temporarily suspend beef exports to mainland China – by far its largest market - as it deals with an isolated case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The Brazilian Agriculture Ministry said shipments to China would be temporarily suspended from today (23 February) in line with sanitary protocols agreed between the two countries. In a statement, the ministry confirmed that BSE was found in a nine-year-old male animal on a small property in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. It has already notified the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and has sent samples to the institution's reference laboratory in Canada, which will be able to confirm whether the case was ‘atypical’.

- Under guidelines laid down by the OIE, trade restrictions are only justified by cases of ‘classical’ rather than ‘atypical’ BSE. The first of these is commonly related to contaminated feed, while the second is believed to occur spontaneously in small numbers of cattle. Despite the OIE guidelines, a few countries – most notably mainland China – commonly respond to atypical BSE cases by imposing bans on imports of beef from the affected country. An earlier case caused Brazil to be shut out of the Chinese market for three months in 2021, while Irish beef exporters have only recently regained access to mainland China following a ban that lasted for more than two years.

- If the latest case is confirmed as atypical, Brazil will work to re-establish trade with mainland China as quickly as possible. The Asian country ramped up imports to unprecedented levels in 2022, importing 1.24 million tonnes of Brazilian beef at a cost of almost USD8 billion. This represented about 60% of total Brazilian beef exports.

- Another prolonged suspension would force Brazil to redirect beef to other markets, potentially at much lower prices, while opening opportunities for rival suppliers to expand their market share in China.

- These rivals include Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, US and also Australia – a country that has recently been pushing to overturn Chinese import restrictions on a number of Australian beef suppliers.

- From the European point of view, Ireland will also be hoping to take advantage of new openings in China, having only recently regained market access. Many other European countries are currently excluded from the Chinese market, including Spain and Netherlands – both of which recently confirmed cases of ‘atypical’ BSE cases like those found in Brazil.

Feb 23  - Investors cut Euronext wheat longs and shorts, despite tender buying (AgriCensus)

- Investors reduced both long and short positions on the key French milling wheat futures contract in the week to February 17, commitment of traders data from the contract’s operator Euronext showed Wednesday. Alongside the reductions in wheat exposure, investors also reduced long and short positions for corn as well as slashing rapeseed shorts and adding a relatively small number of long positions. Overall, the moves reflected uncertain outlooks, limited risk appetite and softer prices as demand remained largely absent amid big harvests – although the week was pockmarked with tender-based buying activity from North Africa and Asia, including buying from staple French customer Algeria.

- For wheat, investors closed out 16,335 long contracts over the week to reduce the total positions to 180,906 – although the impact on the net position was balanced out by a similar sized fall on short positions, which shed 20,273 lots over the week. That reduced total shorts to 191,060, reducing the net short by 3,939 to 10,154.

- Corn saw similar moves, with longs losing 1,584 lots over the week and shorts declining 3,750 lots, taking total longs to 6,287 and total shorts to 8,474. While that meant the contract was still in a net short stance, of 2,187, the figure had been virtually halved on the previous week’s 4,352 net short.

- Finally, longs added 243 new contracts on rapeseed to accentuate a 1,591 lot reduction on shorts.

- That took total longs to 30,114 and total shorts to 59,440, delivering a net short of 29,326. It marks the sixth consecutive week that all three contracts have been in a net short position.

Feb 23  - Global wheat buyers set up for price shock by cutting forward purchases
Scarred by high and volatile prices, global wheat buyers are reducing their purchases of future supplies but that raises their exposure to potential price spikes that would end up passed on to consumers already struggling with food inflation. Buyers in key importers across Asia, the Middle East and Africa are making so-called forward purchases of supplies for only about two to three months of their future demand versus typical buying of up to six months, according to millers, analysts and traders.

Feb 23  - Soil health, price volatility may hinder China's GM corn efforts - Braun
China, which plants more corn than any other country, has launched plans to begin sowing genetically engineered corn this year in order to boost food security and reduce reliance on imports. But it could be many years before the desired result is achieved as soil health is taxed and arable land is constrained.

Feb 23  - Brazil's Feb. soy exports seen lower at up to 8.3 mln T  - Anec
Brazil's soybean exports in February are estimated at up to 8.3 million tonnes, a drop from the same period last year amid a slower harvest in 2023, according to data from grain exporters association Anec released on Wednesday. Up until last week, Anec projected soybean exports of up to 9.39 million tonnes this month, a volume that would surpass the 9.1 million tonnes of February 2022.

Feb 23  - Ukraine wants one-year grain deal extension to include new ports
Ukraine will ask Turkey and the United Nations this week to start talks to roll over the Black Sea grain deal, seeking an extension of at least one year that would include the ports of Mykolaiv, a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday. The Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the UN and Turkey last July allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports. The agreement was extended in November and will expire on March 18 unless an extension is agreed.

Feb 22  - Russia’s Putin pushes for 60 million mt grain exports by end-2023 (AgriCensus)

- Russian president Vladimir Putin has lauded the country’s farmers and announced a push to export 60 million mt of grains by the end of 2023 amid huge domestic production outlooks and strong export figures. The commitment came during an address to the chambers of the Russian parliament and was part of a wide-ranging two-hour speech on various challenges facing the country, including deteriorating relations with the US, the invasion of Ukraine as well as social and economic factors. Putin, quoted in international media, said such a figure would have been “a fairytale” a few years ago, but a record-breaking wheat crop and a strong export pace through recent months have raised expectations of a huge export programme.

- Alongside that, many Ukraine sources suggest Russian export figures have been boosted by the smuggling and illegal export of Ukrainian grains, seized during the invasion and subsequent occupation. Official production figures, according to Rosstat as of January 23, showed 160 million mt of grains and oilseeds, according to bulker weight, while the total wheat crop weighed in at almost 105 million mt. That included Crimea, which Russia invaded and seized back in 2014, but did not include data from the four occupied regions of Ukraine.   

- The figures are not far off what analysts already expect for the country, with the country’s agriculture ministry forecasting 55-60 million mt of exports back in January. The USDA currently, meanwhile, forecasts Russian wheat exports of 43.5 million mt, with another nine million mt of coarse grains – essentially corn and barley – already taking it close to the 60 million mt figure. However, reliable data is hard to come by as official Russian data sources have not released customs and export data since the invasion of Ukraine began back in February 2022.

- The Agricensus Export Dashboard suggests 2018 was the busiest year to date, with 52.6 million mt of cereals exported from the country, while data for 2022 suggests 24.4 million mt of cereals have been exported up to November 2022. Line up data suggests that total grain exports have already reached 33 million mt as of mid-February, meaning the total likely exports will be around 58 million mt.  However, much of the data is reliant upon the interpretation of shipping line-up information and is incomplete for the full 2023 period and prone to human error.

- Exports will find it hard to hit the 60 million mt level, as the imposition of a 25.5 million mt export quota on all grain exports through the balance of the marketing year means that 58 million mt is likely to be the high water mark. The Russian wheat marketing year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Feb 22  - India to offer 2 mln T more wheat to cool prices
India will provide an additional 2 million tonnes of wheat to bulk consumers such as flour millers, as part of efforts to lower prices, which jumped to a record high last month, the government said on Tuesday. The allocation, on top of 3 million tonnes announced last month, could help in dampening local prices, which are ruling above the government-fixed buying price of 21,250 rupees ($256.77) per tonne and lifted retail inflation in January.

Feb 22  - China to expand trial of industrial application of GM corn, soybean – ministry
China will further expand the scope of its trial of the industrial application of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Tuesday. Last week, Reuters reported China would likely plant 4 million mu (267,000 hectares or 660,000 acres) of genetically modified corn strains this year as part of a large-scale trial, citing two industry sources with knowledge of the plans.

Feb 22  - Jordan buys estimated 60,000 tonnes wheat in tender - traders
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased about 60,000 tonnes of hard milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, traders said. It was bought from trading house Grain Flower at an estimated $333 a tonne c&f for shipment in the first half of July, they said.

Feb 22  - Turkey tenders to buy estimated 790,000 tonnes wheat – traders
Turkey's state grain board TMO has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 790,000 tonnes of milling wheat, European traders said on Tuesday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the wheat tender is Feb. 28.

Feb 21  - India sets up panel to assess impact of higher temperatures on wheat crop
India has set up a panel of officials to assess the impact of rising temperatures on the wheat crop, government officials said on Monday, as the weather office warned that above normal temperatures would prevail in key producing states. The world's second biggest wheat producer earlier this month said it's production was likely to rise 4.1% to a record 112.2 million tonnes.

Feb 21  - Brazil farmers harvest 25% of soybean-planted area
Brazilian farmers have harvested 25% of the soybean area planted for 2022/23 through last Thursday, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, as work in the fields advances quickly in top grain producing state Mato Grosso. Harvesting was up eight percentage points from the previous week, said AgRural, while at the same time last year 33% of the Brazilian soy fields had been reaped.

Feb 21  - Ukraine grain exports down 28.7% so far in 2022/23 season, exceed 30 mln tonnes
Ukraine grain exports are down 28.7% at 30.3 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season so far, hit by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume so far in the July to June season included about 10.8 million tonnes of wheat, 17.4 million tonnes of corn and about 2 million tonnes of barley.

Feb 21  - Japan seeks 94,387 tonnes of food wheat via tender
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 94,387 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that will close on Wednesday. Japan, the world's sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of the country's second-most important staple behind rice and buys the majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month.

Feb 20  - Drought impact reflects negative outlook expected in the Maghreb ( MARS )

- The EU’s crop monitoring service reviewed its 2023 yield expectations for wheat crops across the North African area, down 15-24% compared to the five-year average, while barley is expected to see a 10-30% decline.

- Morocco and Algeria saw the lion’s share of the decline owing to the impact of a seasonal drought through February and March. According to the February report published by Monitoring Agriculture Resources (MARS), the hot, dry conditions caused a 20-30 days delay in planting, in addition to the lowest sown area in Morocco for ten years, leaving little room for good yield expectations if rainfall does not arrive in the coming weeks.

- As a result, the EU is forecasting Morocco’s 2023 wheat yield at 1.49 mt/ha, while the corresponding barley yield is forecast at 0.93 mt/ha.

- In Algeria, persistent dry conditions in September-November, especially in the Northwest regions of Tlemcen, Sido Bel Abbes, and Mascara, also hampered the start of the sowing season, with further rain needed to sustain crops and avoid further damage to production.

- The EU subsequently forecasts the country’s 2023 wheat yield at 1.30 mt/ha, while the corresponding barley yield is forecast at 1.10 mt/ha.

- In other parts of North Africa, the outlook for the 2022 crop remains more positive, with favorable temperatures and average rainfall supporting above-average expectations for wheat and barley output in Egypt and Libya.

- In Egypt, average yields for wheat are forecast at 6.80 mt/ha, 4% above the five-year average, while barley yields are forecast at 3.91 mt/ha, up 3%.

Feb 20  - China rolls out GMO corn planting, starts small
China will likely plant less than 1% of its corn fields with genetically modified varieties this year, said two people familiar with the plans, dashing hopes for a full market launch of the technology in the world's second-largest corn market. The agriculture ministry has designated around 4 million mu (267,000 hectares or 660,000 acres) to be planted with genetically modified or GMO corn this year, said a senior manager at a Chinese seed developer briefed on the plans.

Feb 20  - Argentina soy harvest outlook to shrink due to heat wave and drought, exchange says
Argentina's Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday it would have to cut its harvest estimate for the country's beleaguered 2022/2023 soy crop, citing the combined impact of a recent heat wave and a prolonged drought. The crop's current outlook stands at 38 million tonnes, down from the 48 million tonnes expected at the season's start.

Feb 20  - Buyer in Thailand purchased about 60,000 tonnes feed wheat - traders
An importer in Thailand is believed to have purchased about 60,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from the Black Sea region in a deal on Wednesday, European traders said on Thursday. Romania or Bulgaria were regarded as likely origins, traders said.

Feb 20  - Tunisia tenders to buy soft wheat and barley - traders
Tunisia's state grains agency has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 100,000 tonnes of soft wheat and 75,000 tonnes of animal feed barley, European traders said on Thursday. The deadline for submissions of price offers in the tender is Friday, Feb. 17.

Feb 17  - China rolls out GMO corn planting, starts small
China will likely plant less than 1% of its corn fields with genetically modified varieties this year, said two people familiar with the plans, dashing hopes for a full market launch of the technology in the world's second-largest corn market. The agriculture ministry has designated around 4 million mu (267,000 hectares or 660,000 acres) to be planted with genetically modified or GMO corn this year, said a senior manager at a Chinese seed developer briefed on the plans.

Feb 17  - Argentina soy harvest outlook to shrink due to heat wave and drought, exchange says
Argentina's Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday it would have to cut its harvest estimate for the country's beleaguered 2022/2023 soy crop, citing the combined impact of a recent heat wave and a prolonged drought. The crop's current outlook stands at 38 million tonnes, down from the 48 million tonnes expected at the season's start.

Feb 17  - Buyer in Thailand purchased about 60,000 tonnes feed wheat - traders
An importer in Thailand is believed to have purchased about 60,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from the Black Sea region in a deal on Wednesday, European traders said on Thursday. Romania or Bulgaria were regarded as likely origins, traders said.

Feb 17  - Tunisia tenders to buy soft wheat and barley - traders
Tunisia's state grains agency has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 100,000 tonnes of soft wheat and 75,000 tonnes of animal feed barley, European traders said on Thursday. The deadline for submissions of price offers in the tender is Friday, Feb. 17.

Feb 16 - French wheat export outlook cut, barley projection raised
Farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday lowered its outlook for French soft wheat exports this season because of competition from Black Sea supplies but made a sharp upward revision to its barley export forecast after a wave of shipments to China. In a supply and demand outlook for major cereal crops, FranceAgriMer cut its estimate of soft wheat exports outside the European Union to 10.45 million tonnes from the 10.60 million tonnes forecast in January. 

Feb 16 - Russia donates 25,000 tonnes of wheat to ally Cuba as ties deepen
Russia on Wednesday gave Cuba an "emergency" donation of 25,000 tons of wheat to combat shortages on the island, a sign of deepening ties between the two long-time allies. The Russian ambassador in Havana, Andrei Guskov, said in a brief dockside ceremony in the Cuban capital that Moscow "accompanies Cuba's efforts in its development in areas such as industry, machinery, transportation and energy."

Feb 15  - Indian 2022-23 milled rice output forecast at 125 mil mt, down 4.1% on year ( IHSmarkit )

- While this is a 4.1% year-on-year decline from last year’s record level, the USDA said it was “just shy of breaking a record” due to the encouragement provided by the government’s “relatively high” minimum support prices. The off-season rabi crop is due to be harvested from April, with output expected to be boosted by adequate monsoon rainfall and favorable weather. Planting totaled 3.15 million hectares as of Jan. 20, 33% higher than at the same time in 2022.
- Local prices have been supported by government procurement, which was 4.9% ahead of last year’s pace as of Jan. 20. Kharif crop procurement is due to conclude by the end of February in most states, but rabi crop procurement will continue from the harvest in April until the end of the marketing year.
- Amid the decline in output, both exports and ending stocks are forecast to decrease by 6% year on year to 20.5 million mt and by 12% to 30 million mt, respectively.

Feb 15  - AgMin raises France’s beet harvest estimate marginally ( IHSmarkit )

- The Agriculture Ministry's statistical unit Agreste raised its sugar beet harvest estimate for 2022/23 marginally to 31,595,752 tonnes (at a standardised sugar content of 16%) in February from 31,554,097 in December. If realised, this would be down 8.1% from 34,365,388 tonnes in 2021/22.

- Agreste increased its estimate of the beet area by 78 ha to 402,176 ha in February. This is fractionally above last year’s 401,883 ha. The beet yield estimate was increased marginally to 78.59 tonnes per ha (at 16% sugar) from 78.46 seen in December and compared with 85.51 last year. This is also below the five-year average of 82.44 tonnes per ha.

- It is worth to note that the Agreste numbers are significantly higher than CGB data cited by leBetteravier francais on 31 January which saw the average beet yield only at 77 tonnes per ha (at 16% sugar) and the total beet crop at just 30.5 million tonnes.

Feb 15 - India to harvest record wheat, rapeseed crop in 2023
India's 2023 wheat production is likely to rise 4.1% to a record 112.2 million tonnes, the government said on Tuesday, as higher prices prompted farmers to expand crop-growing areas with high-yielding varieties and the weather remained favourable. Higher wheat output could help the world's second-biggest producer of the grain in replenishing depleted inventories and bringing down prices from record levels. 

Feb 15 - Brazil's corn planting is not the slowest ever, but yield risks are elevated -Braun
Top soybean exporter Brazil is on the brink of also becoming the world’s leading corn supplier, but farmers there have not gotten an ideal start to what they hope will be a bumper corn crop. As of late last week, Brazilian producers had harvested 17% of their soybeans, behind average and compared with up to 30% a year ago.

Feb 14  - China to plant more soy, speed up GMOs to ensure food supply
China will increase its efforts to boost the output of soybeans and edible oils, state media reported late on Monday, citing a key rural policy document, as it continues to push for greater self-sufficiency in its key food supplies. The world's top soybean buyer is trying to lower its heavy reliance on imports of the oilseed as the COVID pandemic, growing trade tensions and increasing climate disasters raise concerns about feeding its 1.4 billion people. 

Feb 14  - Mexico opens door for GM corn in animal feed, industrial use
Mexico on Monday scrapped a deadline to ban genetically modified corn for animal feed and industrial use amid trade tensions with the United States, but retained plans to prohibit use of the grain for human consumption as well as the herbicide glyphosate. The move, approved in a government decree, eliminates January 2024 as the date for the country to forbid GM corn for animal feed and industrial use, a statement by the Economy Ministry said.  

Feb 14  - Ukraine grain exports down 28.7% in 2022/23 season, says ministry
Ukraine grain exports in the 2022/23 season, which runs through to June, are down 28.7% to 29.2 million tonnes so far, due to a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume included about 10.4 million tonnes of wheat, 16.7 million tonnes of corn and about 1.9 million tonnes of barley.  

Feb 14  - Philippines bought about 110,000 tonnes feed wheat
An importer group in the Philippines is believed to have bought around 110,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat in an international tender which closed on Friday, European traders said on Monday. Most traders expected the wheat to be sourced from Australia but there was also market talk the wheat could be sourced from the United States.

Feb 14  - Indian rice prices firm on lower supply (IHSmarkit)

- Supplies remain low amid government procurement
- Platts assessed Indian 5% broken white rice up $5 w/w
- Despite low demand, basmati prices firm

The Indian rice market remained bullish in the week to 10 February, but exporters retained their offers to encourage fresh demand.

Local prices continued to be supported by less rice availability as a result of government procurement. Milled rice procurement for the government’s central pool totaled 43.5 million tonnes as of 31 January compared 57.6 million tonnes during whole of the marketing year 2021/22 (October/September), according to the Food Corporation of India.

Platts assessed Indian 5% broken white rice at $440/tonne FOB, up $5 from previous week, while Indian Parboiled 5% STX were assessed unchanged at $396/tonne.

In the Basmati market, prices firmed despite low demand. One of the exceptions was the Indian 1121 Parboiled Basmati 2% broken, which was assessed at $1,018/tonne FOB FCL, below an indicative offer.

Feb 13  - Brazil soybean basis turns negative for the first time in 19 months (AgriCensus)

- Basis premiums for soybeans in the key FOB Brazil export hub have descended into negative territory for the first time since 2021, Agricensus data shows, as pressure built on the market from a rapidly accelerating harvest, a mounting logistics crunch and expectations of a record crop this season. The pressure on physical Brazilian cash prices comes at the same time as the CME's soybean futures contract, against which Brazilian soybeans are priced, firmed at the end of last week on concerns about the extent to which a historic drought will damage Argentina’s soybean crop.

- The two dynamics have combined to depress physical prices in Brazil while simultaneously supporting prices on the derivative instrument.  March Paranagua paper traded first at even and then at a minus 1 c/bu discount to CME March futures, with bids Monday said to reach as low as minus 10 c/bu and offers seen at just plus 5 c/bu over futures.
“There are two points in my view: crop size, and larger carry over of all grains. Co-ops and farmers have corn, beans, and wheat, and a bumper soybean crop coming,” said Eduardo Vanin, analyst at Agrinvest Commodities.

- While negative premiums are not uncommon, they have not been seen since the end of the harvest period in July 2021, as severe crop losses last year limited the downside to the market.
“Premiums did not turn negative in 2022 because we had strong crop losses while there were no delays to the harvest either,” said Daniele Siqueira of Brazilian consultancy AgRural.

Crunch
- There are also logistical problems in the spot market, according to market analysts, as persistent rains delayed corn shipments in January and February. Although this is no longer a problem, it helped concentrate soybean shipments in March. Both Siqueria and Vanin said it was hard to find someone willing to buy in the Paranagua paper market since the charge for logistical bottlenecks had increased, moving demand to other ports and pressuring paper premium levels down.
"Trading houses are changing ports due to length of waiting time,” Vanin said.
“The spread between an offer for a cargo FOB Santos and the Paper Paranaguá for April is more than 20 cents,” he continued.

- Currency exchange rates also played a role as the exchange rate reached BRL4.95 to the US dollar, market sources said. While this makes Brazilian exports less attractive to importers, it also stimulated farmers to sell their stocks before further devaluation occurs.
“The fall to BRL4.95 on February 2 scared farmers and encouraged selling as it rose on the days following, improving commercialization rates,” Siqueira said. As of Monday, the exchange was at BRL5.17 per US dollar by the time of publication.

- In the destination market, basis premiums on a CFR China were also quoted lower Monday on the back of the falls in the Brazilian FOB market. March cargoes, which last traded at 148 c/bu late last week, were heard offered at 138-139 c/bu over March CME futures with buying interest at 130 c/bu, while April, which last traded at 140 c/bu over May futures, was offered at 134-135 c/bu with a bid heard at 130 c/bu. Brazil’s soybean harvest had been delayed by heavy rains at the start of this calendar year, but it has started to gain pace as dry periods in between rains allowed combined harvesters to advance faster in several states, including the key producing state of Mato Grosso. According to local consultancy Agrural, the soybean harvest reached a completion rate of 17% as of last Thursday, up eight percentage points on the week, although this is still below the 24% reported at the same point in the previous year.

- Brazil is expecting a bumper soybean crop this year, with most analysts putting forecasts in the 152-155 million mt region, and the latest USDA figures landing right in the middle of that at 153 million. That is more than 20 million mt more than last year’s production and it puts Brazil’s export potential at over 90 million mt.

Feb 13 - Funds may have expanded bullish bets in CBOT soy, meal and corn -Braun
Price strength since late January implies money managers may have increased or at least maintained overall bullishness across Chicago grains and oilseeds, though confirmation remains absent amid a data delay. As of late January, large speculators held moderate to large net long positions across CBOT corn, soybeans and soybean products, and those collectively outweighed their sizable net short in CBOT wheat.  

Feb 13 - Ukraine seeks higher tonnage ships to boost exports under grain deal
Ukraine's agriculture ministry has proposed increasing the minimal tonnage of ships which carry grain and vegetable oil from the country via a grain corridor, aiming to boost exports despite opposition from Russia, it said on Friday. After an almost six-month blockade caused by the Russian invasion, three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

Feb10  - U.S. demands Mexico explain science behind GMO corn ban
The new U.S. agriculture trade chief on Thursday told Reuters that he has given Mexico until Feb. 14 to respond to a U.S. request to explain the science behind Mexico's planned bans on genetically modified corn and glyphosate herbicide. Doug McKalip, the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) new chief agricultural trade negotiator, said that Mexico's response will help the trade agency decide next steps in its quest to resolve a long running dispute over Mexico's biotechnology agricultural policies. 

Feb10  - Louis Dreyfus starts trading in Brazil's free energy market
Agricultural commodity merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) on Thursday unveiled that late last year it began operating as a trader in the Brazilian free energy market, according to a statement. The company said it intends to expand its activities in the sugar and ethanol market using energy from sugarcane biomass cogenerated by mills.

Feb10  - South Korea’s MFG buys 67,000 corn in tender
- traders
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) has purchased an estimated 67,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from South America in an international tender seeking up to 70,000 tonnes on Thursday, European traders said. Some 49,600 tonnes was bought at an estimated outright price of $343.59 a tonne c&f plus a $1.25 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading.

Feb10  - Taiwan buys estimated 48,100 tonnes wheat of U.S.-origin in tender

The Taiwan Flour Millers' Association purchased an estimated 48,100 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in a tender on Thursday, European traders said. The purchase involved various wheat types for shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast between March 29 and April 12.

Feb 09  - S.Africa’s final 2022 corn crop at 15.4m mt, soybeans at 2.2m mt (AgriCensus)

- South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) published its final 2022 crops release Thursday, placing the country’s corn production figure at 15.47 million mt, up just 82,800 mt from its last estimate. The corn crop consists of 7.85 million mt of white corn and 7.62 million mt of yellow corn harvested from 2.62 million ha, with yields last reported at 5.87 mt/ha. The crop of 2022 showed a little decline after the 2021 bumper harvest of 16.31 million mt, cut from a slightly bigger area of 2.75 million ha.

- South African Grain Information Service (Sagis) also reported a total of 14.56 million mt of corn delivered by producers, with 337,143 mt expected for delivery in January-February.

- In terms of oilseeds, the CEC set the country’s soybean final crop size above its last estimate, placing the volume at 2.23 million mt, harvested from 925,300 ha. The figure is 17.5% higher than last year’s crop size of 1.89 million mt. Sunflower seeds production was finalized at 845,550 mt, unchanged from the last estimate and up 25% year-on-year, coming from planted areas of 670,700 mt.

- Sorghum production was halved in 2022 amid smaller planted areas and lower yields, with farmers harvesting just 103,140 mt from 37,200 ha.

- The CEC will publish its next outlook on February 28, covering the winter crops production forecast as well as revised areas and the first production forecast for summer crops of 2023.

Feb 09  - China becomes biggest Brazil corn buyer in January, revised trade data show
China became the main destination of Brazilian corn exports in January by volume, surpassing traditional importers like Japan, Iran and Spain, according to revised trade data released by the government on Wednesday. Brazil sold 983,684 tonnes to China in the period, the second full month of corn trading action following Beijing's authorizations for Brazilian sales of the cereal in late November.

Feb 09  - Argentine crop pegs take unusual dive; U.S. corn demand remains at risk - Braun
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s February supply and demand report is often uneventful, and that was mostly true this time around even with large cuts to Argentina’s drought-stricken harvests. But despite most key report numbers coming in near expectations, there may be more pressure on U.S. corn demand than meets the eye following increased export competition in Wednesday’s update.

Feb 09  - India may extend wheat export ban to preserve local supplies
India is considering extending a ban on wheat exports as the world's second-biggest producer seeks to replenish state reserves and bring down domestic prices, government sources said. The current ban was scheduled to be reviewed in April and top government officials from food, farm and trade ministries are likely to make a decision on an extension by the end of March, or early April, government and industry sources said, adding they don't expect wheat exports to resume until mid-2024.

Feb 09  - Egypt in talks to buy wheat, corn from Serbia

Egypt is in talks to import around one million tonnes of wheat, as well as an unspecified quantity of corn, from Serbia as part of its efforts to diversify its grain supplies, the supply ministry said on Wednesday. Supply Minister Ali Moselhy spoke with Serbian officials to also supply wheat and corn from Romania and Bulgaria via Romania's Constanta port, according to the statement.

Feb 08  - U.S. ag exports top $200 bln in 2022 as China grabs record share -Braun
The United States’ exports of agricultural and related products hit record levels by value in 2022, though higher prices played a big role as volumes across some major items like grain and meat were down on the year. U.S. farm exports were valued at $213 billion last year, up from the prior high of $192 billion set in 2021. Last year’s total accounted for an above-average 7.1% of all U.S. exports in 2022, which reached a record $3 trillion across goods and services.

Feb 08  - EU deforestation law risks sidelining small farmers, says palm oil watchdog
A new European Union law preventing the import of commodities linked to deforestation risks sidelining small farmers who are unable to meet the burdensome cost of compliance, the head of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said on Tuesday. Joseph D'Cruz told Reuters larger RSPO-certified members will not face difficulties complying with EU requirements as their certification standards already prohibit deforestation and the conversion of primary forests.

Feb 08  - Algeria starts buying milling wheat in tender
– traders
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has started buying milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said in initial assessments. Initial purchases reported were around $329 a tonne cost and freight (c&f) included, they said.

Feb 08  - South Korea’s MFG buys estimated 138,000 tonnes corn in tender

South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) has purchased an estimated 138,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from South America and optional origins in an international tender on Tuesday, European traders said. The first consignment of around 70,000 tonnes expected to be sourced from South America was bought at an estimated $339.50 a tonne c&f plus a $1.20 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading.

Feb 08  - Bunge reports higher profits in fourth quarter (AgriCensus)

- US-based agricultural commodities trader Bunge Limited reported higher year-on-year profits for the fourth quarter. In the core agribusiness unit, adjusted EBIT for the quarter was $592 million, down $3 million on the previous year’s last quarter. Adjusted EBIT rose to $461 million in processing, driven by North America benefitting from the combination of large crops and strong meal and oil demand, although Europe was negatively hit by higher energy costs and lower volumes.

- In the Milling segment, adjusted EBIT turned negative in the quarter and made a loss of $10 million. Bunge said this was because low origination volume and high supply chain costs because of a small Argentine wheat crop which negatively hit local merchandising operations.

- In Refined and Speciality Oils, the quarter’s adjusted EBIT rose year-on-year to $222 million on strong food and renewable fuel demand with notable improvements in Europe, Asia and South America.

- The 2023 outlook for Bunge’s core agribusiness unit was that full year results would be down on 2022 as slightly higher results in Processing are more than offset by lower results in Merchandising.
But Bunge does see a potential boost to this outlook if strong demand and tight global commodity supplies go on throughout the year.

Feb 07 - Indonesia to review its palm oil export quota ratio
Indonesia will review the ratio of its palm oil export quota amid rising prices of domestic cooking oil, the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs said. Indonesia imposes a so-called Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) on palm oil whereby companies are allowed to export only after they have sold a portion of their production at home.  

Feb 07 - U.S. soybean exports erupt ahead of Brazil’s massive, but slower harvest
After a slower start to the season, U.S. soybean exports have taken off over the last month or so even as top exporter Brazil is in the early stages of collecting its record harvest. In the week ended Feb. 2, some 1.83 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans were inspected for export, the fourth consecutive week of well above average volumes.

Feb 06  - World food prices decline for 10th month running in January, says FAO
World food prices fell in January for a 10th consecutive month, and are now down some 18% from a record high hit last March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations food agency said on Friday. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 131.2 points last month against 132.2 for December.  

Feb 06  - Russia set to snag export lead in sunoil market from rival Ukraine -Braun
Prior to last year, Ukraine was known as the world’s leading sunflower oil exporter and supplying up to half of that trade volume, with much of it headed for top vegetable oil consumers such as India and European Union members. But now, due to domestic market limitations, Ukraine has surged to the top of the less profitable sunflower seed trade, which has worried the country’s farm ministry. 

Feb 06  - Egypt's GASC bought 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn
Egyptian state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) said in a statement on Saturday it had bought 60,000 tonnes of yellow corn. The shipments will arrive during the second half of February and early March, the statement said.  

Feb 06  - South Korea’s KFA buys estimated 126,000 tonnes corn – traders
The Korea Feed Association (KFA) purchased an estimated 126,000 tonnes of animal feed corn in an international tender on Friday, European traders said. Some 60,000 tonnes expected to be sourced from South America was believed to have been bought from trading house Viterra at an estimated $337.80 a tonne c&f.

Feb 03  - Soymeal futures at 8-year highs, further upside on the radar (AgriCensus)

- Front month soymeal futures reached an eight-year high on Friday, posting $499.1/st in the latest in a string of strong prices to hit the contract as it reflects lurking supply fears against the backdrop of Argentina's persistent drought. On the back of the latest rally, some market participants have been pondering how much further soymeal prices can rally, amid fears that the full upside may not be over yet.
“We will have to wait for USDA’s February and March supply and demand reports, but there might be further upside to the March contract,” Futures International's Terry Reilly told Agricensus.

- According to Reilly, cash and futures traders have more of an upside than a downside view on soymeal prices at the moment. The March, May and July 2023 CME soymeal futures contracts traded at the highest levels since they were launched during the week.

- Soymeal prices have been supported by two main factors since the end of 2022.
The first was linked to the play of product spreading dynamics whereby soymeal and soyoil prices move in opposite directions. The sharp drop in soyoil prices between the last days of November and early December supported soymeal prices, with a parallel reduction in the US oil share that measures how much of the proceeds from soybean crushing comes from soyoil sales.

The second important factor that has been supporting soymeal prices is the severe drought that is threatening to slash Argentina’s soybean crop and, hence, dampen its crushing activity and consequently its soymeal and soyoil output.

Feb 03  - Drought threatens U.S. wheat production despite acreage bump
U.S. farmers expanded plantings of winter wheat by 11% from a year ago to an eight-year peak, encouraged by high prices tied to concerns over food supplies following Russia's invasion of major wheat producer Ukraine, as well as relatively low input costs and expanded crop insurance programs. But even with the added acres, a multi-year drought that has gripped the key Plains wheat belt puts harvest prospects in doubt, especially in states like top producer Kansas and Oklahoma, the No. 3 winter wheat producer last year.

Feb 03  - Russia set to snag export lead in sunoil market from rival Ukraine
- Braun
Prior to last year, Ukraine was known as the world’s leading sunflower oil exporter and supplying up to half of that trade volume, with much of it headed for top vegetable oil consumers such as India and European Union members. But now, due to domestic market limitations, Ukraine has surged to the top of the less profitable sunflower seed trade, which has worried the country’s farm ministry.

Feb 03  - Egypt's GASC books about 535,000 tonnes of wheat in tender

Egypt's state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has provisionally bought about 535,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender on Thursday, GASC said, confirming earlier reports from traders. GASC confirmed the tonnage bought and shipment periods in February and March but gave no more details.

Feb 03  - South Korea’s MFG bought about 60,000 tonnes feed wheat

South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased about 60,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat in a private deal on Wednesday without issuing an international tender, European traders said on Thursday. It was purchased at an estimated $339.60 a tonne c&f plus a $1.50 a tonne surcharge for additional port unloading. Seller was believed to be trading house ADM.

Feb 02 - Mississippi levels, high basis prices upend CIF Gulf-FOB Gulf relationship (AgriCensus)

- A combination of price-sensitive destination markets and ongoing domestic logistic challenges could threaten to further disrupt US corn exports as current prices at the primary US Gulf export hub make it less profitable for exporters to bring corn to the global market. Key is an inversion between US Gulf CIF barge values - the primary transport method for delivering corn from the fields of the Midwest to the Gulf ports - and the FOB cargo market, the main method of international exports.

- While Mississippi River water levels are no longer at the multi-decade lows seen last autumn, corn barge traffic on the waterway is still vulnerable, which along with high basis prices has resulted in higher premiums for front-month CIF Gulf barges than for FOB cargoes along the Gulf Coast. While winter precipitation has led to a return to normal traffic on the river, warnings of a reduction in drafts in St Louis last week helped explain the most recent move of the CIF barge premium over that for FOB Gulf.  
"I think it is mostly a logistical issue with drafts in the St Louis area expected to drop from about 12 feet to less than 10 feet, making it more difficult to get an adequate supply of corn barges to the Gulf and hence, the premium to the FOB market," Larry Shonkwiler at Advance Trading told Agricensus.

- The CIF US Gulf barge premium to CME corn futures is normally lower than that for FOB US Gulf, allowing for the profitable movement of grain from growing regions in the middle of the country to ports in Louisiana, where it is transferred to large ships for the journey to customers in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. Transportation issues are upsetting this relationship, so the front-month CIF US Gulf barge premium stood at a 91c/bu premium to the March CME corn contract last week, far exceeding the FOB US Gulf premium of 83c/bu.
"CIF barge is usually a discount, so this is unusual," senior grain and oilseed commodity analyst at Futures International Terry Reilly told Agricensus. During the past year, the average CIF US barge premium stood at $1.10/bu, well below the FOB Gulf premium of $1.26/bu.

- FOB is at a discount to CIF "due to the low water levels on the Mississippi River all summer. This has no doubt hurt US export business out of the Gulf and will continue to until water levels are restored,” Brain Hoops, president at Midwest Market Solutions, told Agricensus. And, while the CIF premium to FOB would appear to make it unprofitable to export corn from the central US, it's not necessarily the case, Jay O’Neil, owner of HJ O’Neil Commodity Consulting, said in an interview.
“You must keep in mind that many February barges will be feeding March cargoes, there’s often a ten-day to a two-week logistical lag time between barge shipments and vessel loadings. For example, from the Illinois River to New Orleans there’s a 10-14-day transit time to the ports in New Orleans,” O'Neil said.
"Depending on a facilities vessel loading schedule, you can still eke out a small margin in late February-early March,” O'Neil added.

- The war between Russia and Ukraine and the low water levels in the Mississippi combined to make CME corn futures incredibly volatile over the past year, with the front-month contract surging to a nine-year high of over $8/bu in April before plunging to under $6/bu in July.
"Historically high volatility in commodity markets has made farmers more cautious and constantly waiting for the next big rally," O'Neil said. This volatility has led some farmers to hold back on supplies as they wait for the next peak, driving basis prices higher, irrespective of what's happening to futures in Chicago.
"Corn basis is near 20-year highs across the country... We’ve seen farmers watching the market go up and down, and they seem to always miss the highs," Reilly said.
"When the commodity futures contract price is not encouraging sufficient farmer selling, the basis price must do the heavy lifting. The basis price always works to keep the grain flow regulated at the needed level,” according to O'Neil.

- The decisions made by US farmers to hold out for higher prices combined with low water in the Mississippi last year, limited rail capacity, and greater competition from Brazil, have led to lower US corn exports. Accumulated corn exports for the 2022/23 marketing year now total 12.61 million mt – down 36% from 19.57 million mt recorded at the same point in 2022 - and a lack of cheap corn supply means the FOB basis price is having to work hard to ensure any trade at all.  
"It would seem difficult to find enough cheap origin bushels that will suddenly price us into being massively competitive in the current export picture," Kelly Herrick of Advance Trading said in an interview with Agricensus.
"I think we're relegated to watching if South America has production issues or if Chinese demand changes the narrative on the forward export picture," he continued.

Feb 02 - Argentina's grain export revenue plunges in January, chamber says
Argentina's revenue from exports of grain, oilseeds and their derivatives plummeted 61% in January from a year ago, exporters and crushers chamber CIARA-CEC said on Wednesday, in a setback as the country tries to refill foreign currency reserves. Exports totaled $928.37 million in the first month of the year, also falling 75% over the previous month, as the world's largest exporter of soybean oil and meal grapples with a severe drought that has delayed fieldwork and affected grain output.

Feb 02 - U.S. acreage season kicks off as CBOT corn, soy battle year-ago levels - Braun
The 2023 U.S. crop acreage conversation started many months ago, but Chicago futures prices during February will offer a solid piece of that puzzle, and corn may be making a better argument than soybeans right now. New-crop CBOT corn and soybean futures are both starting February near the date’s highest-ever levels, theoretically beneficial for U.S. farmers as their 2023 insurance guarantees will be determined by this month’s average prices.

Feb 02 - South Korea tenders to buy estimated 79,439 tonnes rice – traders
South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 79,439 tonnes of rice, European traders said on Wednesday. The tender seeks non-glutinous brown medium grain rice and non-glutinous milled medium grain rice in a series of consignments for arrival in South Korea in 2023 between May 1 and Dec. 31, they said.

Feb 02  - Jordan buys about 50,000 tonnes feed barley in tender - traders
Jordan's state grain buyer has purchased about 50,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Wednesday, traders said. Traders had initially estimated the purchase at up to 60,000 tonnes.

Feb 01  - Central European states ask EU to ease problems caused by influx of Ukrainian grain
Six Central European states have asked the European Union to take steps to mitigate problems caused by increased Ukrainian grain imports into the region, saying the influx has cut prices and hurt local farmers, government officials said. Ukraine is a major global grain producer and exporter, but production and exports have fallen since Russia invaded the country last February and started blockading its seaports.

Feb 01  - Export curbs fail to arrest India's booming rice shipments - sources
India's rice exports in 2022 jumped to a record high despite the government's curbs on overseas sale, as buyers continued to make purchases from the South Asian country because of competitive prices, according to government and industry officials. The record exports allowed Asian and African countries to import the staple at a time when supplies of wheat and other grains were hit by drought and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Feb 01  - Jordan buys about 60,000 tonnes wheat in tender – traders
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased about 60,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in a tender which closed on Tuesday, traders said. The wheat was thought likely to be sourced from the Black Sea region, with Romanian origin expected to be supplied.

Feb 01  - EU soybean imports rise 35% on week, to hit 153k mt (AgriCensus)

- EU weekly soybean imports rose to 153,557 mt in the week to January 29, or 35% above week-on-week, while the previous total was revised up by 113,780 mt, data from the European Commission showed Tuesday. During the reporting week, Spain was the leading importer receiving 85,781 mt, followed by Portugal (25,020 mt), and Belgium (17,345 mt). The total soybean import figure for the current marketing year stands at 6.2 million mt, or 20% below last year's pace. Since July 1, 2022, the Netherlands stands as the leading EU soybean importer with 1.8 million mt arriving, followed by Spain (1.65 million mt), Germany (1.1 million mt ), Italy (467,732 mt), and then Portugal (420,598 mt).

- Soybean meal imports into the EU during the reporting week amounted to 216,726 mt, 15% down week-on-week, lifting the total for the marketing year to date to 9.2 million mt, a 4% decrease year-on-year. During the week between January 22-29, the Netherlands was the leading importer of soybean meal to the European Union (85,192 mt), followed by Spain (55,237 mt) and Ireland (26,400 mt). From July 1, 2022, the Netherlands and Poland received 1.5 million mt of soybean meal each, Spain imported (1.4 million mt), and France (1.2 million mt).

- Finally, weekly palm oil imports totaled 81,471 mt, bringing total imports since July 1, 2022 to 2 million mt, down 38% from last year. The Netherlands stands as a leading importer of palm oil into the EU, with total imports of 952,406 mt, followed by Italy with 915,324 mt, and Spain with 799,987 mt, since July 1, 2022.

Jan 31  - Indian rice market was relatively quiet (IHSmarkit)

- India’s rice market faces difficult to secure rice for export
- Lower sales of Indian non-Basmati rice
- Platts Indian 5% broken was assessed higher on tight supply

- Indian rice prices were very volatile, but the market was “pretty quiet”, according to Platts. Market participants reported that it was difficult to secure rice for export as mills continued to focus on processing rice for the government’s public distribution scheme.
- Fresh sales of Indian non-Basmati rice were lower due to high prices.
- The rupee showed fresh signs of strength from 25 January onwards. This scenario and high local prices offset the reduce the lower sales and encouraged exporters to maintain their offers.
- Platts Indian 5% broken white rice ended the week to 27 January assessed up to $435 /tonne FOB as white rice supply was particularly tight.
- The Basmati market activity was quieter amid a decline in offshore demand. Platts Indian 1509 Parboiled Basmati 2% broken was assessed down to $1,037/tonne FOB FCL based on an indicative value to be below offers.

Jan 31  - China’s veg oil stocks at near 3-year high as demand stagnates (IHSmarkit)

- China’s inventories of palm oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil at its ports rose to 1.74 million tonnes by Jan. 27 -- the highest that stock levels have reached in China since March 2020, according to shipment data from vegetable oil traders.
- According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, higher stock levels at ports indicate poor local demand and consumption by China in the past month contrary to earlier market expectations of an uptick in vegetable oil demand, traders said.
- Vegetable oil markets had surged in end December on expectations that the second largest vegetable oil buyer would ramp up buying after Beijing announced a shift in its zero-COVID policy and ahead of the Lunar New Year festivities.
- Palm oil stocks were recorded at 918,000 tonnes on Jan. 27, trade data showed. On Dec. 30 2022, China’s palm oil stocks at ports were recorded at 969,600 tonnes. Palm oil stocks at the end of January 2023 were more than double of stock levels compared with January 2022.
- Soybean oil stocks rose to 677,300 tonnes by Jan. 27, up from 624,800 tonnes on Dec. 30, the data showed. In the same time period, rapeseed oil rose sharply to 147,500 tonnes from 107,000 tonnes.

Jan 31  - JV including US ethanol producer Green Plains inks huge biojet offtake deal (AgriCensus)

- US agribusiness company Green Plains on Tuesday said it has set up a joint venture – named Blue Blade – with energy infrastructure company Tallgrass and United Airlines to develop full-scale alcohol-to-jet production from ethanol by 2028 that aims to provide up to 135 million gallons a year of offtake.

- The partnership is a major development in the respective ethanol and biojet fuels sectors in the US, and will harness Green Plains' potential production of low-carbon, corn-based ethanol with the technology knowledge of Tallgrass, a refining and pipeline company that is financed by Blackstone group, one of the world’s biggest private equity investors.

- Meanwhile the 2.7-billion gallon total size of the offtake deal with United Airlines – which says it has agreed to buy more sustainable aviation than any other carrier – is one of the biggest ever in the sector.

Jan 31  - Brazil farmers harvest 5% of soybean planted area, AgRural says
Brazilian farmers have harvested 5% of the planted soybean area in the 2022/23 cycle through last Thursday, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, up 3 percentage points from the previous week but still below last year's levels. At the same time in 2022, 10% of the Brazilian soy fields had been reaped, said AgRural, which currently expects this season's crop to reach 152.9 million tonnes but already hints at potential yield cuts ahead.

Jan 31  - Indian wheat prices drop after Modi releases grain for flour millers
Wheat prices in India, the world's biggest consumer of the grain after China, have dropped nearly 13% from record highs since the government offer last week of 3 million tonnes to bulk consumers such as flour millers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Wednesday allowed flour millers to buy up to 3 million tonnes of wheat from state reserves.

Jan 31  - Ukraine grain exports down 30.8% so far in 2022/23, ministry says
Ukraine has exported almost 26.3 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down from the 37.9 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume included about 9.4 million tonnes of wheat, 14.9 million tonnes of corn and about 1.8 million tonnes of barley.

Jan 30  - Brazil corn harvest cut to 125.3 million mt due to drought in south (AgriCensus)

- Brazil’s total corn production has the potential to reach the historical mark of 125.3 million mt in 2022/23, lower than the previous 126.6 million mt projection but exceeding the 120.2 million mt from the 2021/22 season, local consultancy Safras & Mercado has said in a report released on Friday. The reduction reflects lower production of summer crop due to drought in the south. The country’s total corn area is projected at 21.60 million ha in 2022/23, slightly below the previous 21.65 million ha estimate and a 0.3% decline compared to the 21.663 million ha from 2021/22. The average yield is expected to reach 5.8 mt per hectare in the current season, surpassing the 5.55 mt/ha from the past crop, but below the 5.8 mt/ha projected in December.

Summer crop
- Brazil’s summer corn 2022/23 production in the center-south Brazil is projected to reach 23.7 million mt, below the 24.8 million mt estimated in December, but remains above the 21.8 million mt from the previous crop. The reduction reflects the significant cut in corn production in Rio Grande do Sul, which has been severely affected by the drought, Safras & Mercado consultant Paulo Molinari said. The harvest in the southern state is now estimated at 4.6 million mt, below the 5.8 million mt projected in the previous estimate, but was still ahead of the 3.4 million mt harvested in the 2021/22 summer crop. Planted area is expected to fall by 4.5% year-on-year, to 4.1 million hectares in the center-south Brazil, while the average yield is projected at 5.6 mt/ha versus 4.9 mt/ha a year ago.

Safrinha
- The second corn crop safrinha planted area is expected to reach 14.95 million ha, slightly below the 14.97 million hectares forecast in December, but surpassing the 14.8 million ha from 2021/22. The output is estimated at 87.7 million mt, slightly below the 87.8 million mt forecasts in December, but sets a new record by surpassing the 84.4 million mt from last year.

Jan 30 - Indian sugar mills to close early as rain hits cane supply
Sugar mills in India's top producing state Maharashtra are set to stop cane crushing 45 to 60 days earlier than last year as heavy rain has curtailed sugar cane availability, a senior state government official told Reuters on Friday. The western state of Maharashtra, which accounts for more than a third of the country's sugar output, could produce 12.8 million tonnes of sugar in the 2022/23 marketing year that began on Oct. 1, down from an earlier forecast of 13.8 million tonnes, Maharashtra's sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said. 

Jan 30 - Funds defend CBOT corn long but sell soymeal after historic run-up -Braun
Chicago grain and oilseed futures slipped early last week amid the lack of fresh news to support recent highs, particularly as rain fell on drought-stricken crops in major exporter Argentina. Speculators were net sellers across the soy complex and in wheat in the week ended Jan. 24, but they extended their net long in CBOT corn to an 11-week high of 201,797 futures and options contracts, up nearly 10,000 on the week.

Jan 27  - Rouen's weekly wheat exports dip to 100k mt (AgriCensus)

- Activity at France's main grain export hub of Rouen slowed once again, with only 100,561 mt of wheat loaded in the week to January 25, down 33% on the week, data from French port operator Haropa showed. During the reporting week, wheat volumes from Rouen reached 100,561 mt, including 31,500 mt headed to Algeria, 31,061 mt to Mauritania and 27,000 mt to Morocco, while 5,400 mt went to Cameroon and 5,600 mt to Gabon.

- Alongside that, 150,343 mt of feed barley was shipped over the week, with the lion's share going to China (146,542 mt) and a small volume going to the UK (3,801 mt).

- In addition, 11,750 mt of malt barley was shipped, including 7,350 mt headed to the Netherlands and another 4,400 mt cargo shipped to Spain.

- Separately, data from the French Atlantic port of La Pallice showed that 33,700 mt of wheat was scheduled for shipment, mainly to the Ivory Coast (28,650 mt) and to Spain (5,050 mt), along with 81,728 mt of feed barley headed to China.

- France exported 7.6 million mt of wheat to countries outside the European Union between the start of the marketing year on July 1 and January 22, according to delayed data from the European Commission. French exports of soft wheat were 50% more than last year's figure and the 3-year average.

- Agriculture agency FranceAgriMer expects the country to export 10.6 million mt of wheat outside the EU (up 21% year-on-year) and 6.64 million mt to other EU member states (down 17% year-on-year) through the current marketing year. The Commission collects customs data from EU countries, which may lag behind port data.

Jan 27 - ADM's earnings top forecasts on strong crush margins, buoyant demand
Archer-Daniels-Midland Co on Thursday said robust soy crushing margins and hefty global demand for crops had propelled the U.S. grains merchant to a record fourth-quarter profit and would keep driving strong results in 2023. The solid quarterly earnings highlighted how global crop merchants like ADM have weathered rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions such as lower Black Sea grain exports following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Jan 27 - Recent bump in U.S. soy bookings eases forward sales pressure -Braun
U.S. soybean exports have been unusually strong so far this month and sales activity has ticked up in recent weeks despite a weaker outlook from the government. In line with most analyst ideas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month reduced domestic 2022-23 export estimates for both soybeans and corn, the latter of which still may disappoint versus expectations.

Jan 26  - Argentina soy sales lag previous year at 80.6% of harvest
Soybean sales from Argentina's 2021/2022 harvest covered 80.6% of the 44 million tonne harvest as of last week, below the 82.6% sold from the previous season at the same time, data from its agricultural ministry showed Wednesday. Between Jan. 12-18, producers sold 42,000 tonnes of soy, one of the lowest weekly volumes reported in recent months. 

Jan 26  - India to offer 3 mln tonnes wheat to bulk consumers to cool prices
India will provide 3 million tonnes of wheat to bulk consumers such as flour millers, as part of efforts to bring down prices, which jumped to a record high on Wednesday, a government official told Reuters. The allocation is more than traders' expectations of around 2 million tonnes. The market was waiting for government permission for nearly two months as supplies dwindled at the tail end of the wheat marketing year even as demand surged. 

Jan 26  - Iraq buys 150,000 tonnes of wheat from Australia - Trade Ministry
Iraq has bought 150,000 tonnes of wheat from Australia, the Trade Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.European traders said in initial assessments that Iraq’s state grains buyer is believed to have purchased about 150,000 tonnes of wheat that was expected to be sourced from Australia in an international on Wednesday.

Jan 25  - US ethanol production and stockpiles move higher week-on-week (AgriCensus)

- US ethanol production rose by 4,000 barrels per day in the week ending January 20 while stockpiles climbed by over 1 million barrels, data published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed Wednesday. Total ethanol production across the US increased to 1.012 million b/d in the reporting week, up from 1.008 b/d a week earlier.

- The weekly gain landed below analyst predictions, which had forecasted a week-on-week increase to be up 6,000 thousand barrels to 1.014 million b/d. Over the week, full production equated to the consumption of 2.61 million mt of corn, up from 2.6 million mt a week earlier.

- Ethanol stockpiles also moved up from the prior week by 1.67 million barrels to 25.08 million barrels in the period covered by the report. The stockpile increase was much greater than analysts had expected, where outlooks had projected stocks to be up around 235,000 barrels to 23.637 million barrels.

- Margins calculated through a model from Iowa State University showed that the estimated return over operating costs for the average Midwest-based plant advanced in the week ending January 20 to $0.32/gallon, up from $0.20/gallon a week earlier.

- Corn prices for the week declined by around $0.13 week-on-week to average $6.86/bu.

- Meanwhile, finished ethanol prices moved up in the week ending January 20, landing at $2.19, compared to $2.13 last week.

Jan 25  - Brazil wheat making strides in global markets amid Russia-Ukraine conflict
Brazil is poised to register record wheat shipments for January as local suppliers continue to fill the void left by major exporters Russia and Ukraine because of the ongoing war, industry sources told Reuters. The combination of a bumper harvest and production hiccups in Argentina due to a drought also bolstered Brazilian exporters, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul, the country's biggest wheat producer, they said.

Jan 25  - Will fading La Nina boost prospects for the 2023 U.S. corn crop? - Braun
While La Nina’s predicted exit within the next couple months could bring relief to parched crop areas in the southern U.S. Plains and Argentina, weather implications for the upcoming U.S. corn crop are not as clear-cut. La Nina, which arises when surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are cooler than normal, may soon fade out, making way for average or even warmer conditions to form toward mid-2023. That mildly increases the chance of a bountiful U.S. corn crop, but a disaster cannot be ruled out.

Jan 24 - Indian wheat hits fresh record high on delay in stock release
Indian wheat prices hit a fresh record high on Monday, following a delay in releasing extra stocks by the government to boost supplies and calm the domestic market reeling from shortages triggered by last year's lower crop, dealers and farmers said. India, the world's second biggest producer of wheat, banned exports in May 2022 after a sudden rise in temperatures clipped output, even as exports picked up to meet the global shortfall triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Jan 24 - U.S. raises 'grave concerns' over Mexico's anti-GMO farm policies
U.S. farm and trade officials raised "grave concerns" over Mexico's agricultural biotechnology policies in meetings with their Mexican counterparts on Monday, as lingering disagreements threaten decades of booming corn trade between the neighbors. Washington's concerns center on the Mexican president's push to ban so-called biotech corn, or varieties developed with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), from entering Mexico if it is destined for human consumption. The United States accounts for most of Mexican corn imports.

Jan 23  - Weather could spell trouble for EU crops in months ahead: MARS

- The EU's crop monitoring service has warned that recent unusually warm weather could be storing up trouble for crops in the coming months, as much of the cold tolerance previously built up was lost, according to a monthly update. The January report published by Monitoring Agriculture Resources (MARS) showed winter crops and grasslands were in good condition across much of Europe, and so far, frost damage has been limited. A rapid increase of temperatures toward the end of the year with record-breaking New Year’s Eve temperatures (locally surpassing +20 °C) in eastern France, Germany, Poland and the alpine regions initiated a de-hardening period and melt snowpack over agricultural areas.

- While winter cereals in Russia, the Baltic countries, and Scandinavia are still fully to almost fully hardened, those in most other parts of Europe are currently only partially hardened. This de-hardening process leads to a higher vulnerability in case of new cold spells.

- Moreover, alternating freeze/thaw cycles can damage plants, thus reducing their vigour and negatively affecting spring regrowth. Mild winter conditions are also associated with high pest and disease survival rates, which could lead to increased pressure later in the season, the report notes. Warm temperatures also saw snowpacks in the Alps reach historic lows and If not restored, water availability for irrigation downstream will be problematic come spring.

- The weather forecast implies that weather conditions will be mainly influenced by transitioning large-scale atmospheric processes and a weakening La Nina. Much warmer-than-usual air temperatures are forecast for most of Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the Balkan Peninsula, while colder-than-usual daily air temperatures are expected in large parts of France.

Jan 23 - Malaysia's egg shortage sets Indian hatcheries on path for record exports
India is set to export a record 50 million eggs this month, boosted by sales to Malaysia, where there have been acute shortages as soaring feed prices caused by the Ukraine war forced many small-scale farmers to cut output, industry officials said. Middle Eastern countries, including Oman and Qatar, are the main buyers of eggs from India, but over the past few months, Indian hatcheries have received large orders from surprising quarters as output fell in some of the world's top suppliers. 

Jan 23 - Funds pad CBOT corn, soy longs on smaller U.S. crops and Argentine drought
Speculators cranked up bullish bets in Chicago-traded corn and soybeans last week as U.S. government data revealed smaller domestic crops than analysts expected, keeping supply scenarios tight through at least mid-year. Ongoing drought in Argentina also enticed fund buying last week in corn, soybeans and soybean meal, forcing another managed money record in the latter.

Jan 20  - Storms to bring rain to parched Argentine fields next week, says grains exchange
A storm front should bring moderate to abundant rainfall across most of Argentina's key agricultural area over the next week, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday, which could help farmers plant their fields after a historic drought. Lack of rainfall in Argentina, the world's largest exporter of soybean oil and meal and the third-largest exporter of corn, has slowed planting of its current soybean and corn crops and nearly halved the country's wheat output. 

Jan 20  - Palm prices seen falling 23% in 2023 as output rises, but Indonesia to keep supply tight - poll
Malaysian palm oil prices are set to fall for the first time in three years in 2023 amid a mild recovery in production, but will likely remain above pre-pandemic levels as Indonesian policies constrict global supplies, Reuters poll showed. Benchmark palm prices will average 3,800 ringgit a tonne in 2023, down 23% from last year's record average of 4,910 ringgit, according to the median estimate of a poll of 18 analysts and those in the industry.

Jan 20  - China bought less soy from Brazil and U.S. in 2022, more from Uruguay
China's soybean imports from the United States dropped 10% in 2022, customs data showed on Friday, reducing the United States' share of the world's top soybean market to less than a third. Total soybean imports by China last year dropped 5.6% to 91.08 million tonnes, due to high global prices and weaker demand earlier in the year.

Jan 20  - Egypt's GASC buys 50,000 tonnes of yellow corn in tender
Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), on Thursday said it had bought 50,000 tonnes of Romanian corn in an international tender. The cargo was sold by Ameropa BV at a price of $339 a tonne on a cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) basis, traders said, adding that some offers were excluded because of their specifications.

Jan 19  - Ukraine seeks to expand corridor deal to metals, could slow grains pace (AgriCensus)

- The Ukrainian government has said it wants to expand the grain deal agreement, signed between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, and add metal products to the list of goods that are allowed to be exported from the country's Black Sea ports. Building on the success of the existing corridor, which has seen millions of tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower and other agricultural products being shipped, adding metal exports would be another major boost to the country’s economy which has been suffering the effects of a devastating war for ten months.
“We will focus on building more storage for agricultural goods, but what we need to do from a strategic point of view is to open sea ports. It’s not just about agriculture, it’s about steel,” Economy Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko said in an interview given to Bloomberg during the international forum held in the Swiss resort of Davos.

- The metal industry used to be among the key strategic contributors to the Ukrainian economy, but it has been hit hard following the Russian invasion of the country, as the biggest producing facilities have been partly destroyed or occupied by Russian forces. Alongside that, metal products, just like grains, were mainly been exported through the Black Sea ports and as such, since the start of the war, the flow has switched to railways, trucks, and small ports consequently making the logistics markedly more expensive. Thus allowing the metals to be shipped from the Great Odesa ports - typically the three ports of Pivdennyi, Odesa and Chornomorsk - potentially can help minimize the logistic costs and increase the flow, generating bigger margins for the country.

- However, the suggestion has been met with a lukewarm response from the grain trade, who fear he expansion of the corridor to include metals could bring challenges. Grain trade representatives have said that - for now - they do not see how it can be done as it is harder to argue that metals exports are crucial to the health and wellbeing of the world population in the same way that grains have been. Alongside that, any agreement regarding changes to the grain deal will have to be discussed with all the parties involved, and therefore with Russia as well - a major competitor to Ukraine in the industry and a request that is unlikely to be met with much enthusiasm.
"It sounds like one of the wish lists, such that is unlikely to be realized. It is easier to put pressure on the fact that we are saving the world from hunger, but you can't say that with metals,” one local source said, capturing the mood of a range of opinions from among the sources Agricensus spoke to.

- Russia has mounted a steady campaign against the export corridor, complaining about its operation trying to manipulate world opinion by arguing that the corridor is mostly sending Ukrainian grain to European countries, rather than the developing world that needs access to reliable, cheap food supplies. Another potential challenge could also be fears of exacerbating a bottleneck for ships exiting the Black Sea, with every vessel using the grain corridor required to be inspected twice at Istanbul - once on the way in and again on the way out. With Ukrainian exports through Black Sea ports reaching 4 million mt per month as its best since the corridor opened, and with inspections causing delays at Istanbul since October as only three or four vessels have been inspected per day.
Any increase in vessels is likely to need an increase in either the number of teams inspecting the vessels, or the 4 million mt potential maximum capacity will have to be divided between agricultural and metal products, thus crimping the potential for grain exports.
"Without going much into details, it will worsen the grain flow as the corridor is a bottleneck," one trader said.
"If there was two incoming inspections per day, then the metal will squeeze the grain," a second local source said.

- That comes even with metal exports facing a significant reduction, with around 5 million mt exported by rail during January-October 2022 compared to 13 million mt a year ago including the volume moved to ports by rail for further export, according to Julia Bolotova, EU steel market reporter for Fastmarkets MB. But even that amount means an additional 300,000-500,000 mt per month could be taken from grain’s share of the current monthly flow - potentially a 12% reduction.

- It could also bring higher competition for rail transport options delivering to the country's ports, but alleviate pressure on rail connections with the EU. At the same time, there could be scope for metals to take more of a share from grains as the current pace of grain exports has been big enough to potentially clear out all the country's stocks before the new marketing year comes in.
As such, in general there could be space for additional volumes to supplement any slowdown in grains and keep the ports busy.
“It is enough for us to have even less than 3 million mt per month within the corridor to export all potential [stocks] we have,” one local source said.

Jan 19 - India's soymeal exports to jump as drought curbs Argentine supply
India's soymeal exports could more than double in the 2022/23 marketing year, as drought in top exporter Argentina lifted global prices, prompting buyers to turn to the south Asian country with cheaper rates, four industry officials told Reuters. The revival in the exports of the animal feed has boosted soybean crushing in India and the availability of soyoil, which could reduce imports of soyoil and palm oil by the world's biggest buyer in coming months. 

Jan 19 - French wheat export forecast raised on North Africa demand
Farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday increased for a second consecutive month its forecast of French soft wheat exports outside the European Union this season, citing strong demand from North Africa. France, the EU's biggest wheat producer, is now expected to ship 10.6 million tonnes outside the bloc in 2022/23, against 10.3 million forecast in December and 21% above last season's level, the office said.

Jan 18 - FranceAgriMer raises export forecast for soft wheat outside the EU to 10.6m mt (AgriCensus)

- French state-backed farm agency FranceAgriMer raised its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the EU once again in its latest monthly outlook Wednesday, while revising exports to within the EU lower. FranceAgriMer raised forecast exports to countries outside the EU by 300,000 mt on last month to 10.6 million mt, which is 21% higher than last year, while it lowered its estimated exports again to EU member states by 90,000 mt to 6.64 million mt (down 17% y-o-y).

- France exported 7.5 million mt of wheat between July 1, 2022 and January 16, 2023, according to data received from the European Commission. FranceAgriMer had already raised it's export forecast for soft wheat last month, noting there had been a sharp increase in exports to Morocco and China. In a briefing to accompany the release of the monthly report, the agency noted that in addition to this, French wheat was now looking more competitive for sales into Algeria and Egypt. Overall wheat exports are expected at 17.63 million mt, up 2.5% from 2022/23.

- French soft wheat ending stocks are expected at 2.32 million mt, a decrease from the December estimate, which would put them 16% below the 2.77 million mt that was held last season. FranceAgriMer forecast for intra-EU barley exports saw a minimal decrease from last month’s figures, lowering by 15,000 mt to 3.04 million mt (up 8.1% y-o-y), similar exports outside the EU also decreased by 50,000 mt to 2.45 million mt (down 27.5% y-o-y).

- French corn exports in 2022/23 to the EU decreased slightly on month to just over 2.96 million mt, down 39.5% y-o-y, while expected exports to countries outside the EU went unchanged on the month, remaining at 360,000 mt (down 39% y-o-y). Overall corn exports are expected to fall on the year to 3.43 million (down 38.7% y-o-y) from its 2021 figure of 5.6 million mt.  

- French durum export estimates to the EU increased to 820,000 mt, while non-EU exports were unchanged at 110,000 mt. This reflects a reduction of 17.1% y-o-y from 989,000 mt for exports to the EU last year and an increase of 16.8% y-o-y from 94,000 mt for third countries.

Jan 18  - Brazil summer grain crop to outgrow storage capacity for first time in 20 years
Brazil's 2022/2023 summer grain production will outgrow total storage capacity for the first time in 20 years amid expectations of a record soybean harvest, according to government data obtained by Reuters from Conab, the food supply and statistics agency. Brazil will harvest a combined 189.5 million tonnes of soybeans, corn and rice in the summer, while it has total storage capacity for 187.9 million tonnes, the data shows.

Jan 18  - India contracts to export 5.6 mln tonnes of sugar this season

India has contracted to export about 5.6 million tonnes of sugar since the government said late last year that mills could ship up to 6.1 million tonnes of the sweetener by May, government, trade and industry sources said. Dealers have already shipped about 2.5 million tonnes of the total contracted quantity, said the sources, who asked not to be named because they are not authorised to talk to the media.

Jan 18  - Algeria buys milling wheat in tender - traders
Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has bought milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Tuesday, European traders said in initial assessments. Initial purchases reported were around $334.50 a tonne cost and freight (c&f) included, they said. Estimates of tonnage bought ranged between 510,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes.

17 Jan  - German govt to proceed with curbs on crop-based biofuels: Minister (AgriCensus)

- Germany’s Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke on Tuesday said that she will soon introduce proposals to curb the use of crop-based biofuels in the country, which is the EU’s biggest member state in terms of fuel consumption and a major producer of ethanol and biodiesel from edible crops such as sugar beet, wheat and rapeseed. The comments from the minister, who is a member of the Green Party in the country’s centre-left three-party coalition with the Social Democrats and Free Democrats, will likely alarm the country’s agriculture and crop-based biofuels sectors just a week before producers and German policymakers gather in Berlin for a major industry conference.
“I would like us to increase the use of real biofuels from waste, from residues, from cooking oil. Here we still have potential and opportunities to ensure that the greenhouse gas quota in transport can be met. That is why we will introduce the legal basis for phasing out agrofuels from food and feed crops into the Cabinet as soon as possible,” Lemke told an agricultural conference organised by her ministry, known in Germany by the initials BMUV.

- Germany from the start of this year has already banned palm oil in biodiesel, a decision that had been made in 2021 by the previous government. Lemke said in her speech that the rise in prices for edible commodities such as wheat, corn and vegoils in the past year that had been worsened by the war in Ukraine was being exacerbated by environmental factors such as extreme weather and pollution, another reason why Germany needed a major rethink of its policies in agriculture and biofuels.
“The weaknesses of the existing agricultural and food system have become more apparent than ever before – especially in the hot droughts. The three major global ecological crises: climate crisis, species extinction, pollution crisis are now endangering the foundations of agriculture and our food,” Lemke continued in her speech.

- Lemke didn't refer to particular proposals in today's speech. Lemke and ministers for agriculture and foreign affairs in the second quarter last year raised the prospect that Germany would introduce a strict cap on the use of crop-based biofuels in the wake of food price inflation worsened by Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine and a blockade of grain shipments from Black Sea ports. Although that blockade was eventually lifted in the autumn following a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey, fears have persisted about global food security.

- Today's speech suggests BMUV is rekindling plans for a crop-based biofuels cap that appeared to go into hiatus in the second half of 2022, which was despite expectations last autumn from German biofuels lobbies and policy analysts that the cabinet would proceed with changes before the end of last year. A document drawn up by BMUV and widely circulated in May 2022 included proposals to slash the share of crop-based biofuels in the country’s fuel pool to 2.5% in 2023, down from a share of 4.4% expected for this year – a plan that drew a furious response from biofuels lobbies. That same document from BMUV also proposed that the share of crop-based biofuels will be further reduced after 2023 to zero by 2030, a move that would majorly draw down consumption of crop-based ethanol and biodiesel in Europe’s largest transport market.

- To help mitigate the impact of the lowered crop cap, “quantities of waste-based biofuels from used cooking oils and animal fats that are not recycled are slightly increased,” the May 2023 document recommended. And in details that were of major interest to suppliers of fuels, biofuels and traders of compliance credits related to transport, BMUV last May also proposed that for the years 2023 to 2026, the country’s GHG reduction quota “must be adjusted slightly downwards, i.e. it increases at a slightly slower rate in these years.” German lobbies say a crop cap is a decision that could be taken by the cabinet without the requirement for a vote in parliament, but that any mooted changes to the country's GHG reduction quota in transport would require the backing of German MPs.

Jan 17  - Brazil soy farmers to reap record crop driven by growth in area - Reuters poll
Brazilian soybean growers will harvest a record soy crop just below 153 million tonnes in the 2022/2023 cycle driven by a rise in planted area and favorable weather in most parts of the country, according to a Reuters poll on Monday. Though forecasters have cut output projections for southern Brazil due to a persistent drought in Rio Grande do Sul state, production increases in other parts of the world's biggest soybean supplier will offset losses there, poll data shows.

Jan 17  - Egypt’s GASC has sold around 300,000 T of wheat via new commodities exchange
Egypt's state grains buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has sold around 300,000 tonnes of wheat via the new Egyptian Mercantile Exchange since its November launch, the exchange head Ibrahim Ashmawy said on Monday. The wheat was mostly of Russian origin with some German wheat also sold, Ashmawy told Reuters.

Jan 16  - Egypt's GASC issues rare feed corn import tender for Feb shipment (AgriCensus)

- Egypt's state-backed import agency has issued a tender to buy corn in what is believed to be a first for the country, trade sources have told Agricensus. The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) issued the tender over the weekend with trade sources expecting it to close on January 19. The corn is expected to be sourced on a delivered price basis, with shipment from February 10-25, while the total volume sought by the agency is unknown at present

- Egypt is one of the world's biggest importers of wheat, with much of the volume handled by GASC. However, while the country is a significant importer of corn - expected to produce 7.4 million mt domestically and import 9.2 million mt according to USDA data - the volumes are rarely, if ever, handled through the state agency.

- Data from the Agricensus Export Dashboard shows around 30% of the country's corn imports have been sourced from Ukraine over the last decade, closely followed by Argentina (28.5%) and then Brazil (28.1%).

Jan 16  - Indonesia palm oil export curbs, biodiesel plans to hit world vegoil supplies
A move by top palm oil exporter Indonesia to restrict shipments and boost domestic biodiesel consumption is set to squeeze global vegetable oil supplies already undercut by lower output in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Edible oil buyers, including price-sensitive consumers in South Asia and Africa, will bear the brunt of the supply-side constraints that come just as demand is forecast to climb, with China easing COVID-19 controls and India boosting purchases.

Jan 16  - Unusually large trade misses in U.S. grains data tempered by demand cuts - Braun
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s January data dump reverted to its often-unpredictable nature on Thursday as analysts missed the mark on several key numbers, unlike their unusually strong year-ago performance. However, most of the surprising figures, many of which were smaller-than-expected and thus bullish, had some opposing factors that may ease the market’s response.

Jan 16  - Cautious China approves GMO alfalfa import after decade-long wait
China approved imports of eight genetically modified (GM) crops, permitting shipments of GM alfalfa for the first time after a decade-long wait, the country's agriculture ministry said on Friday. Global seed makers and the U.S. government welcomed the decision after Beijing's slow approval process disrupted grain exports and launches of crops that need clearance from China because it is one of the world's biggest agriculture markets.

Jan 14 - Turkey’s TMO buys 24k mt crude sunoil for Feb-Mar delivery ( AgriCensus )

- The Turkish Grain Board (TMO) has bought 24,000 mt of sunflower oil for arrival between February 20 and March 20 in a tender that closed Friday, pending final confirmation, market sources have told Agricensus. All 24,000 mt of sunflower oil were booked from Turkey-based trading company AVES.

- AVES sold 6,000 mt of crude sunflower oil for the port of Tekirdag at a price level of $1,218.80/mt CFR, up 7% from the previous price at the end of December. The remaining 18,000 mt were purchased at $1,228.80/mt Mersin, Iskenderun EXW, just $10/mt below the price paid in the last tender. Four companies took part in the tender, while the offer from AVES was the most competitive.

- Since the beginning of the calendar year 2023, Turkey has booked almost 150,000 mt of sunflower oil for delivery in January-March, a record high for January, according to market sources based in Turkey. Turkish sources suggest this is related to the zeroing of import duties for sunflower seeds and sunflower oil, which came into force on January 1, 2023.

- So far in the 2022/23 season, Turkey has harvested a record sunflower seed crop, which according to market sources will exceed the level of the previous year by 25% and amount to 2 million mt.

Jun 13  - Wasde: USDA boosts Ukraine, EU wheat output, leaves Russia steady

- The USDA has boosted its production outlook for Ukraine and the European Union, while unexpectedly leaving Russian and Australian projections steady, leading to a small increase in global production and ending stock estimates. For the US wheat outlook, the January update to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (Wasde) posted gains in supplies and domestic consumption, leaving exports unchanged, while ending stocks were reduced because of the uptick in domestic use. The world was expected to produce 781.31 million mt of wheat in 2022/23, up 720,000 mt from the December report.

- The USDA increased Ukraine’s production estimate to 21 million mt, up from 20.5 million mt last month, with the export outlook boosted from 12.5 million mt to 13 million mt. EU farmers are projected to produce 134.7 million mt, up from, 134.3 million mt seen in the December report. The department stubbornly refused to raise Russia’s production outlook from 91 million mt, ignoring data from Russia’s agriculture ministry that has already confirmed a wheat crop at 106 million mt in bunker weight and translates into around 102-103 million mt clean weight. Russian export and ending stock levels were also left unchanged at 43 million mt and 14.39 million mt, respectively. Australia also went unchanged, holding steady at 36.6 million mt, which is identical to the December forecast from the country’s agriculture ministry, but short of the 40-41 million mt range expected by local sources.

- Chicago wheat futures had been in the red for much of the day, but losses eased after the release of leaving March 2023 futures unchanged at 12:28 pm East Coast time. Ending stocks for 2022/23 were projected at 268.39 million mt, up from 267.33 million mt projected in December, and down from 276.82 million mt at the end of 2021/22. Analysts projected that the USDA would report that ending stocks for 2022/23 would stand at 268 million mt. Ending stocks for 2022/23 are projected at 268.39 million mt, up from 267.33 million mt projected in December, and down from 276.82 million mt at the end of 2021/22. Analysts projected that the USDA would report that ending stocks for 2022/23 would stand at 268 million mt.

- Global trade is expected to total 211.62 million mt, up by 770,000 mt from the December report. Consumption projections were boosted by 210,000 mt to 789.74 million mt, as higher feed and residual use in the US more than offset declines in Ukraine, according to the report.

US


- The USDA projects that the US will produce 1.65 billion bushels (44.9 million mt) in the 2022/23 marketing year, unchanged from last month’s report.
- Ending stockpiles were seen at 567 million bushels (15.43 million mt) at the end of the crop year, down from 571 million bushels (15.54 million mt) in the December Wasde, and lower than the projections of analysts surveyed by Agricensus who were looking for ending stocks of 580 million bushels (15.79 million mt).
- Beginning stockpiles were boosted to 698 million bushels (18.99 million mt), up from 669 million bushels (18.21 million mt) in the December report.  
“Projected 2022/23 ending stocks are lowered slightly as larger domestic use more than offsets higher beginning stocks,” the report said. The projected area planted stands at 45.7 million acres, while the area harvested was 35.5 million acres - unchanged from last month’s report. The yield per harvested acre average is 46.5 bpa, which is also the same as the figure cited in the December report.
- Exports are projected to total 775 million bushels (21.09 million mt), unchanged from the December estimate.

Jan 12 - Worst drought in decades sees Argentina exchange slash soy, corn harvest forecasts
Argentina's Rosario Grains exchange sharply cut its forecast for the 2022/23 soybean harvest to 37 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 49 million, it said on Wednesday, as the country faces its worst drought in 60 years. The exchange also slashed its 2022/23 corn harvest estimate to around 45 million tonnes, down from 55 million previously. 

Jan 12 - Narrow U.S. corn crop guesses may be biggest market threat on Thursday
Chicago corn futures are trading at decade highs for the time of year while soybeans are at their highest ever for the date, creating some vulnerability ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s data onslaught. The agency’s reports, due on Thursday at noon EST (1700 GMT), can cause wild swings in CBOT futures if industry analysts have incorrectly anticipated key numbers.

Jan 12  - US weekly ethanol production up but remains below 1mn b/d (AgriCensus)

- US weekly ethanol production rose by 99,000 barrels per day in the week ending January 6, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration. Total ethanol production across the US increased to 943,000 barrels per day (b/d) in the reporting week, up from 844,000 b/d a week earlier. The weekly total came in just below analyst predictions, which had forecasted a week-on-week increase of 115,000 thousand barrels to 959,000 b/d. The increase was driven entirely by higher weekly production in the US Midwest, which is home to over 90% of the country's ethanol production capacity.

- Over the week, full production equated to the consumption of 2.43 million mt of corn, up from 2.17 million mt a week earlier. Meanwhile, ethanol stockpiles declined by 644,000 barrels to 23.8 million barrels in the week ending January 6. The stockpile decline exceeded analyst expectations, which had called for a week-on-week reduction of 130,000 barrels to 24.3 million.

- Margins calculated through a model from Iowa State University showed that the estimated return over operating costs for the average Midwest-based plant rose in the week ending January 6 to $0.40/gallon, up from $0.05/gallon a week earlier. Corn prices for the week meanwhile rose by around $0.63 week-on-week to average $6.70/bu. Finished ethanol prices were also up in the week ending January 6, landing at $2.20, up from $2.01 a gallon a week earlier.

Jan 11 - Brutal drought in Argentina seen ending in coming months, says grains exchange
A drought that has parched Argentina's fields and slashed production of key cash crops is likely to break in coming months, though it could be March before rain and soil moisture levels fully return to normal, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BdeC) said on Tuesday. Argentina is one of the world's top food producers, but dry conditions over much of the past year have taken a toll on its key agricultural regions, delaying its soy and corn crops and halving wheat production this season. 

Jan 11 - India wheat harvest could hit record on higher planting area, favourable weather
India's wheat production is set to jump to a record after all-time high prices prompted farmers to expand planting areas with high-yielding varieties and good weather conditions, scientists and traders told Reuters. Higher wheat output could encourage India, the world's second-biggest producer of the grain, to consider lifting a ban on exports of the staple and help ease concerns over persistently high inflation in food prices.

Jan 11  - Quarterly US stocks set to decline, wheat planting favors soft red (AgriCensus)

- The USDA’s quarterly update of stocks, a key report the industry looks to through the year to gauge vital insights into consumption, exports and production, will be released alongside the Wasde on Thursday.

- US wheat stocks are expected to see a year-on-year contraction of 48 million bu (8.2 million mt), or 3.5%, to 1.33 billion bu (38 million mt) for December 1, 2022. Alongside stock data, the USDA will also release its first showing of the winter wheat plantings, with analysts broadly looking for an increase in the planted area and a slight skew towards soft red winter wheat over hard red. Overall, analysts are looking for winter wheat planted area to increase by 1.4 million acres to 34.7 million acres, up 4.2% year-on-year, with increases seen in soft red winter (4.4%) and white winter (2.8%) planted area.

- Soft red winter is expected to be planted on 6.86 million acres, with white wheat planted on 3.7 million acres. The area planed with hard red winter, however, is expected to contract slightly, slipping by 1.3% to 22.8 million acres, according to the poll.

- For corn, stock levels as of December 1, 2022, are expected to decline by 718 million bu (18.2 million mt) despite expectations that corn production could push higher when the Wasde report is released. Quarterly stocks for corn are projected to be reported at 10.93 billion bushels (277.48 million mt), compared to 11.64 billion bushels in 2021, according to analysts polled by Agricensus.

- Finally, soybean stocks are expected to hold stable with only a 9 million bu (228,612 mt) decline versus the same period of 2022, with analysts looking for stocks to weigh in at 3.14 billion bu (79.8 million mt).

Jan 10  - Brazil's soybean harvest off to slow start  - AgRural
Harvesting of Brazil's 2022/2023 soybean crop had reached 0.04% of the national planted area on Thursday last week, compared with 0.2% at the same time a year earlier, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday. The consultancy cited disruption to field work because of wet conditions in states including top soybean grower Mato Grosso.  

Jan 10  - USA, former wheat giant, posts a 40-year export low as demand sags  - Braun
Wheat exporters in the United States, formerly the world’s breadbasket, ended 2022 on the lowest note in over four decades as short supplies and cheaper overseas competition continued pushing U.S. wheat aside. The paltry shipment volumes are not necessarily disappointing considering expectations, and the new year may bring some better luck to exporters as U.S. supplies may build in 2023.

Jan 10  - Ukraine grain exports down 29.6% at 23.6 mln T so far in 2022/23
Ukraine has exported almost 23.6 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down from the 33.5 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday. The volume included around 8.6 million tonnes of wheat, 13.3 million tonnes of corn and about 1.7 million tonnes of barley.

Jan 10  - US 2022 agri exports to China smash records, soybeans sales up 16% (AgriCensus)

- US agricultural exports to China in the 2022 fiscal year were $36.4 billion, surpassing the previous year’s record and making China the largest export market for the second consecutive year, the USDA has shown. Higher prices and strong demand helped drive US exports above the previous year’s record, despite lower volumes for most products, the US Department of Agriculture said in its latest International Agricultural Trade Report. Higher global commodity prices and China's robust buying were the main reasons for the record US export value to China in 2022, while the Trump-era Phase One trade agreement reduced or removed technical and non-technical barriers for several products, including poultry and beef.

- Soybeans accounted for nearly 50% of US agricultural exports to China at a record $16.4 billion, surpassing the previous year by 16%. China is the world’s largest soybean importer and processor, it consumes nearly 120 million tons of soybeans a year and imports nearly 60% of the global soybean trade.

- US corn exports to China in 2022 exceeded $4.8 billion, down from a record in FY 2021 but still the second-highest level in history. Despite volumes down by about 26%, the total value fell just 9 %t due to higher prices.

- Huge progress was made on sorghum sales, with US sorghum exports to China hitting a record $2.2 billion, nearly tripling over the last 2 years. China took about 90% of the total US sorghum export volume. In addition, sorghum prices increased above the previous year by more than $400 million. As a result, last year, sorghum proved attractive for Chinese feed producers as a competitively priced alternative to corn.

- By 2023, China will have accumulated 65% of the world’s corn and 53% of its wheat exports, according to forecasts from the USDA. However, with China home to around 20% of the global population, it only has about 7% of the world’s arable land. In addition, the area of China’s arable land is expected to decrease by 6% between 2010 and 2060, amid urbanization and pollution of soil and water. As a result, China relies more on imports, making it one of the world’s largest wheat importers and the main corn, barley, and oilseed importer.

Jan 09 - World food prices hit record high in 2022
A surge in the cost of most food commodities last year, as the disruption caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine raised concerns of shortages, sent the U.N. food agency's average price index to the highest level on record. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which tracks international prices of the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 143.7 points in 2022, up 14.3% from 2021, and the highest since records started in 1990, the agency said on Friday.  

Jan 09 - Funds plant record CBOT soymeal bets; corn and soy longs remain intact
Money managers began 2023 with their most bullish ever stance in Chicago-traded soybean meal, and their heavier corn and soy selling in the year’s first session was outdone by ample buying in the final days of 2022. In the four-day week ended Jan. 3, money managers boosted their net long position in CBOT soybean meal futures and options to a record 141,877 contracts, up nearly 12,000 on the week, according to data published Friday by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Jan 09  - France's top grain export terminal eyes 14% rise in 2022/23 tonnage
Senalia, operator of France's largest grain export terminal, aims to load 4.6 million tonnes of cereals in the 2022/23 season to June 30, up nearly 14% from 2021/22, supported by Chinese demand and war disruption to Black Sea trade, it said on Friday. France is the European Union's biggest grain supplier and its brisk wheat shipments have contributed to higher overall EU wheat exports so far this season.

Jan 07  - Egypt's GASC starts year with fresh wheat tender for Feb shipment (AgriCensus)

- Egypt’s state grain importer is back in the market with an official tender for an additional February shipment of milling wheat, trade sources said Friday. The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has issued a fresh tender set to close on January 10 looking for optional origin milling wheat for February 10-25 shipment.

- The payment is expected to be at sight again and the purchase was said to be financed by the World Bank.

- This comes just a week after GASC booked 200,000 mt of Russian wheat in its previous tender, paying $339/mt CFR for February 1-15 dates. GASC has already booked 4.1 million mt of wheat for delivery during 2022/23 MY, with almost all the amount booked in direct deals and the total figure slightly up compared to last year’s 3.85 million mt purchased by the same date.

Jan 06 - Australia set for record 42 mln T wheat crop as harvest wraps up
Australia wheat production is expected to rise to a record 42 million tonnes as results from the final phase of harvest show higher yields in the world's second-largest exporter of the grain, traders and an analyst said. Higher Australian wheat output comes at a time of stiff competition from the Black Sea region, where all-time high output in Russia is keeping the global market well supplied.  

Jan 06 - Will CBOT corn, soy break from recent trend of supportive Januarys
Chicago corn and soybean futures have had a rough start to the year after ending 2022 at multi-month highs, both shedding close to 4% so far this week, causing market-watchers to wonder if this will be the tone for 2023. January has been a supportive month for corn and soybeans in six of the last seven years, with strong gains in the last two years and 2020 marking the only losses.

Jan 06  - MPOB Preview: End-Dec stocks to hover near 2 million mt mark (AgriCensus)

- Analysts are expecting Malaysia’s end-December palm oil stock levels to fall further from the previous month and nearer to 2 million mt, after stocks dipped for the first time since May, according to surveys conducted by two news agencies ahead of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)'s December palm oil data release next week. Industry surveys undertaken by news agencies Bloomberg and Reuters pegged month-on-month falls of between 4.4-5.3% in the end-December stock levels to 2.168-2.19 million mt. Other estimates from analysts at CIMB and Kenanga Research put stockpile levels lower at 1.978 million mt and 1.967 million mt respectively, or 13.6-14% lower on the month.  The surveys also pegged December production at around 3% lower to 1.63 million mt, while other production estimates by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) moved output for December slightly lower to 1.61 million mt.

- Malaysian palm oil stocks had hit a 36-month high of 2.4 million mt back in October and have subsequently started to taper amid lower output and steady demand from key export markets.

- December exports were also pegged at 1-2% lower against November at 1.49-1.5 million mt in the surveys, while earlier export estimates by cargo surveyors placed December exports at 1.46-1.55 million mt. A drop also would mark the first monthly decline in exports since August, with Malaysia having seen healthy export levels between September to November as palm oil remained attractively priced against other rival vegetable oils. Should the end-December stock levels touch around 2 million mt eventually, they would still place higher compared with 2020 and 2021, where end-December stockpiles stood at 1.27 million mt and 1.61 million mt respectively.

- Palm oil supply in the first quarter of the year is expected to tighten due to seasonally lower production as well as reduced availability from Indonesia after the government lowered its domestic market obligation (DMO) export quota, effectively trimming the volume of exports allowed to flow out. Indonesia is also expected to increase its palm oil consumption to support its B35 biodiesel blending mandate, which takes effect from February 1.

- Market participants are also watching for indications of demand recovery from China which would add further strength to prices, though worries remain over the country's continued battle against surging Covid cases. MPOB is expected to release the official supply and demand data on January 10.

Jan 05  - Brazil's corn exports reach record 43.1 million mt in 2022  - ANEC

- While in 2022 corn, wheat, and soymeal exports hit all-time highs, Brazil's main exporting product of soybeans reported a decline in shipments reflecting the crop loss from the past year, the country’s grain exporters’ association ANEC showed in its latest report, released on Wednesday.

- Brazil’s corn exports totaled 43.17 million mt in 2022, 109.5% up from last year’s 20.6 million mt, as production recovered from the summer crop losses and the interest in Brazil's grain increased amid worries about supply due to the war in Ukraine and following Chinese demand. Corn exports finished the year below Anec’s latest output forecast of 43.5 million mt, as December corn exports reached 5.8 million mt, below the previous 6.1 million mt export projection.

- Iran was the main destination for Brazil’s exports and was responsible for 12% of the volume, followed by Japan (12%) and Spain.
- Access to the Chinese market was the main focus this year and currently, 22 ships are tracked carrying corn with potential destination of China.
- The strong export pace is expected to continue in 2023 as January corn exports are projected at 4.3 million mt while in the same month in 2022 the country shipped 2.2 million mt.  

Soybean

- Brazil’s soybean exports were down 10.1% from the record 86.6 million mt in 2021 and totaled 77 million mt. The decline is a result of crop loss caused by drought in the past crop year, which limited the availability of the product.  The figure is lower than the association's most recent forecast of 78 million mt. December soybean exports reached 1.5 million mt, below the 1.7 million mt of the previous forecast and well down versus the 2.3 million mt shipped in December 2021.  

- China was the main destination for Brazil’s exports and was responsible for 70% of the volume. January soybean exports are estimated at 1.3 million, 1 million mt lower than in the same month in 2022. The harvest typically starts in late January and shipments start to gain momentum in the following month.

Soymeal

- Soymeal exports also hit record levels and reached 20.4 million mt, above 2021’s 16.8 million mt, and slightly down from Anec’s 20.5 million mt previous forecasts. Shipments were favored in the first half of the year as Argentina and US had issues concerning availability and logistics, respectively. Soymeal exports were expected to reach 1.5 million mt in December but ended the month at 1.3 million mt.

- Indonesia was Brazil’s main buyer (15%), followed by Thailand (13%) and Holland (11%). The first month of the year starts with exports projected at 1.3 million mt while in the same month in 2022 the country shipped 1.5 million mt

Wheat

- Wheat shipments reached their highest level as well and totaled 3.2 million mt, above the previous year’s 1.1 million mt, and within the previous forecasts. The historic mark was possible as Brazil harvested a record 9.5 million mt and the war in Ukraine led buyers to seek for alternative sources. Wheat exports were expected to reach 709,566 mt in December and ended the month slightly lower at 689,256 mt.

- Saudi Arabia bought 20% of the shipped volume, the same as Indonesia, while Sudan bought 10% of the total exports. January exports are projected at 280,715 mt while in the same month in 2022 the country shipped 695,953 mt.

Jan 05 - Argentine government says 80.1% of 2021/22 soybean crop sold so far
Argentine farmers have so far sold 80.1% of the 2021/22 soybean harvest, the country's agriculture ministry said on Wednesday, slightly behind the 80.5% sold during the same period in the previous cycle. Producers in Argentina, the world's top exporter of processed soy, sold 551,000 tonnes of the season's soybean in the week of Dec. 22-28, marking one of the highest weekly figures seen in recent months.  

Jan 05 - Ukraine sees speeding up inspections as key to Black Sea grain deal
Ukraine's efforts to increase exports under the Black Sea grain deal with Russia are currently focused on securing faster inspections of ships rather than including more ports in the initiative, a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday. Ukraine is a major global grain producer and exporter, but production and exports have fallen since Russia invaded the country last February and started blockading its seaports.

Jan 04  - Brazil's Lula government extends tax exemptions for biodiesel, ethanol (AgriCensus)

- The recently inaugurated Brazilian government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has revealed that a federal tax exemption for fuels including biodiesel and ethanol will be extended. The measure, signed by the president, was published on Monday by the country's official gazette and extends the tax exemption for diesel and biodiesel for a duration of one year, while a gasoline and ethanol tax exemption will last for two months. The former government of Jair Bolsonaro had, earlier this year, passed a tax reduction bill applying to fuel including gasoline, diesel, and ethanol in an attempt to gain popularity ahead of the country's October general election. Following Lula's win at the end of October, however, there has been uncertainty in the market over the past few days as to whether or not the reductions would be extended.

- Meanwhile for imports, the government revealed at the end of December that it was also further extending its suspension of the country's import tariff on ethanol. The suspension of the import tariff on ethanol will now last until at least the end of the month, according to Brazil's ministry of finance website. This extended the suspension announced in March 2022 of tariffs on US ethanol and several other products until the end of last year, Agricensus understands.

- The extension was welcomed by US biofuels lobby the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which called the extension "a positive first step toward a permanent resolution and it sends a favorable signal to the marketplace."
"As we look ahead to 2023, we stand ready to work with incoming President Lula da Silva and his administration to restore free and fair ethanol trade between our nations," RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said.

- Brazil has imported 1.7 million mt of ethanol in the first eleven months of 2021, with South Korea, the Netherlands, and the US the key suppliers responsible for about 80% of the total.

Jan 04 - Top palm oil buyer India's Dec imports jump 94% y/y on discounts
India's palm oil imports in December jumped 94% from a year earlier to a record high for the month as palm oil's higher discount to rival vegetable oils led refiners to raise purchases during the seasonally weak winter period, five dealers said. Higher imports by India, the world's biggest palm oil buyer, would help top producers Indonesia and Malaysia cut their inventories and support benchmark palm oil prices, which are trading near their highest levels in five weeks. 

Jan 04 - Argentina's soy, corn may hinge on La Nina's exit after dry 2022
Recent rainfall across Argentina, the world’s leading soybean meal exporter and key corn supplier, has been the scarcest in over three decades, keeping the pressure on struggling crops. Argentina's soybeans and corn are still in the earlier stages of their seasons, behind normal development as the La Nina-induced drought slowed planting.

Jan 03  - Sovecon raises 2022/23 Russian wheat export forecast
Sovecon, a leading Black Sea agricultural markets research firm focused on Russia and Ukraine, has increased its 2022/23 Russian wheat export forecast by 0.2 million tonnes to 44.1 million tonnes, it said on Friday. Sovecon expects record or near-record monthly export volumes in the second half of the July-June season.  

Jan 03  - Funds end 2022 upbeat in CBOT soy complex, mixed on grains  - Braun
Speculators finished 2022 on a less bullish note across Chicago grains and oilseeds than in the previous two years and were far less enthused with corn and wheat, though their optimism in the soy complex is stronger than a year ago. Ongoing drought in top soybean meal exporter Argentina lifted money managers’ net long position in CBOT soybean meal futures and options to near record levels as of Dec. 27, marking funds’ fifth consecutive week of buying.