SovEcon: Russian and global grain market news – March 15, 2024

Daily news and market insights from a leading firm focused on the Black Sea grain markets research

On Thursday, grain futures declined. The May SRW wheat contract closed at $5.32/bu ($196/mt; -2.2% from Wednesday). May Euronext wheat dropped to €194.00/mt ($211/mt; -0.4%). U.S. corn closed at $4.34/bu ($171/mt; -1.7%).

Grain prices were pressured by news of canceled wheat sales to China and a strengthening dollar. The DXY index on Thursday closed at 103.4 (+0.6% from Wednesday).

Chinese importers have canceled or postponed the delivery of approximately 1 MMT of wheat from Australia, Reuters reports.

The USDA reported sales of 100,000 metric tons of corn to Mexico, which could have provided slight support for prices.

French consulting firm Strategie Grains lowered its EU soft wheat production forecast by 1 MMT from February to 121.6 MMT, compared to an estimated 125.7 MMT last year. The agency attributes the forecast reduction to lower estimates of sowing areas in France, Germany, and Poland.

The International Grains Council (IGC) released its first assessment for grain production and consumption for 2024/25. According to the council, grain production in the upcoming season is expected to increase to 2.332 billion tons from 2.304 billion tons in 2023/24. Ending stocks are projected to rise to 601 million tons (+2 million tons from 2023/24). Corn production is expected to increase to 1.233 billion tons (+6 million tons), and wheat production to 799 million tons (+10 million tons).

Corn crop conditions in Argentina have slightly deteriorated but remain above average, according to the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange. The proportion of crops in good to excellent condition was 83%, 4 percentage points lower than the previous week but 8 points above the five-year average. Excessive rainfall and the emergence of crop-threatening insects could have contributed to the worsening corn condition. The exchange also reported the start of the corn harvest campaign in Argentina, with 3.2% of corn sowing areas harvested as of March 13.

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