Market Report

Thursday 13 February 2020


  • US prices are down $3-4/t on the week as the coronavirus impact and a strong US dollar continue to weigh on commodity values.
  • USDA provided few surprises in this week’s report. The slight fall in US wheat inventories was expected, due to a higher export projection. Global inventories were virtually unchanged on the month.
  • The prolonged Brazilian soybean harvest is leading to delays in planting the second corn crop, providing some support to the US corn market.
  • Rain in Australia has eased the pressure on wheat prices.
  • Russia’s grain crop is forecast to increase to 127mln t in 2020, with wheat up to 79.5mln t. Exports are expected to reach 48mln t, according to the head of consultancy agency IKAR.
  • Russian farmers will start their 2020 spring grain sowing campaign earlier than usual because of the abnormally warm winter in the country. They are expected to sow spring grains on 29.2mln hectares this year, slightly down year on year.
  • Algeria, the EU’s leading non-EU soft wheat destination, has given preliminary approval on Russian wheat after conducting tests. This will not be welcome news for France.
  • Egypt’s state buyer GASC has extended its imported wheat moisture limit of 13.5% for another year until April 2021. It also commented the country may add Indian wheat to the list of acceptable import origins.
  • Strategie Grains has edged higher its 2019 EU soft wheat crop estimate to 146mln t, although its 2020 production forecast has been further downgraded by 1.2mln t, to 138.6mln t.
  • The agency stated that wheat prices were expected to hold strong for a while before succumbing to downward pressure from feed cereals and Russian harvest prospects, barring adverse weather impacts.
  • France exported 1.2mln t of soft wheat outside the EU in December, the highest monthly total so far this marketing season. That resulted in the French farm office increasing its forecast of non-EU exports to 12.6mln t.
  • UK prices are down about £1.50/t on the week, due to the weaker global trend and the firmer UK pound/euro rate weighing on values.
  • Following a period of drier conditions in the UK, which allowed some sowing to take place, last weekend’s arrival of Storm Ciara, and this weekend’s expected Storm Dennis, will curtail any significant additional winter wheat planting.
  • The focus has now switched to spring cropping, although a period of dry weather will be needed to enable spring planting plans to happen.

Malting Barley

  • Old crop malting prices have declined over the last week as more sellers appear in the market.
  • Maltsters are well covered in the nearby positions, but still have tonnage to buy for April to June.
  • New crop prices are trending lower due to the strengthening of the pound and the absence of any buying interest.
  • The wet weather is delaying EU spring plantings, but there are no concerns at present.


  • Markets continue to react to global coronavirus updates.
  • Reports on Wednesday suggested the spread of the virus showed signs of slowing and the situation could now be controlled, though reports on Thursday said otherwise. Chinese officials have asked food companies to re-open factories and gradually people should start returning to work.
  • Global markets reacted positively. Stock markets and agricultural markets all closed higher in Wednesday’s session, but traded lower today. Without Chinese demand, markets are struggling to trade much higher.
  • CBOT soybeans remain rangebound this week, lacking a new story. Tuesday saw the release of Februarys neutral USDA WASDE report:

                – The USDA lowered U.S 19/20 soybean ending stocks to 0.425 billion bushels, but raised world ending stocks for 19/20 to 98.9mln t (96.67mln t in Jan).

                – US soybean exports were raised 50 million bushels, meaning more purchases the US, likely to be because of the slow harvest progress and export line up in Brazil.

                – Near perfect weather conditions in South America means we are set for another huge crop this season. Whilst Argentinian production remained unchanged at 53mln t, the

                  USDA raised Brazilian production to 125mln t (123mln t previously).

                – The USDA lowered world veg oil ending stocks by 1.8mln t to 17.8mln t, due to raised consumption for biodiesel and lower palm oil production.

  • South American weather remains non-threatening for the next few weeks, although rain in northern parts of Brazil are likely to delay harvest progress. Harvest progress is currently estimated at 16% complete vs 26% last year but is in line with the five-year average.
  • Malaysian palm oil statistics for January suggest production will fall below trade expectations, though stocks were in line. Veg oil markets will remain under pressure until buyers return to the market.
  • In Europe, Matif rapeseed prices closed €7.25 higher in yesterday’s session, back to end-of-January levels. Whilst the balance sheet is tight at the end of the season, nearby coverage is good.
  • UK ex-farm prices were capped by firmer sterling, with the UK economy growing at a faster rate than expected.
  • Until China return to the market prices will be influenced by macros.


  • The latest UK trade data showed that the UK exported 79,696mt of oats between July and December 2019. This is already an increase of 350% vs the whole of harvest 2018/19. However, even if the UK continues at this pace, supply and demand still points towards a large carryover stock.
  • Storm Ciara has hampered any final winter oat drilling attempts. We now look towards what the spring acreage will be and the consequent drilling/growing conditions to give us firmer direction on the 2020/21 crop.


  • Australian faba bean prices are down on the week as the first bulk vessels and containers arrive in Egypt. The spread between UK and Australian beans continues to narrow, quashing demand for UK beans from Egypt for the time being.
  • Nevertheless, UK feed beans remain in demand from European importers, as the UK is the only origin in the EU with any tonnage available for export. Prices continue to firm as a result.
  • There remains strong interest in peas for new crop as growers look at alternative cropping options for the spring. Buybacks are still available for large blue peas and marrowfats but are being booked up rapidly. Please contact your farm trader for further information.


  • Spring barley – RGT Planet is getting tight, Laureate and LG Diablo are still available.
  • Spring wheat – imported varieties Tybalt, Mistral and Lennox are still available to cover any winter wheat areas not sown.
  • Seed treatments – don’t forget the addition of our Phosphite treatment Turbo on any new spring seed orders. Phosphites are well proven to increase speed of emergence on spring crops, especially important where drilling is pushed back to March and into April.
  • Spring OSR – another crop proving popular to cover late sowing requirements is spring OSR. Stock of seed is good now; however, ordering is becoming more frequent as we get further along the calendar.
  • Environmental seed – with establishment of certain countryside stewardship mixtures coming up ADM has a full portfolio of mixtures to offer. Please call your farm trader for more info.


  • Global urea values have risen on the back of US buying. Over 440,000t of urea was traded last week for shipment to the US. An estimated 360,000t is still needed for Feb/Mar shipment and supply is beginning to look limited.
  • North African levels rose $10-15/t on the week to $246/t FOB Egypt. Manufacturers are seeking higher levels given the limited stock that is left, knowing spot demand is high.
  • UK urea prices have increased about £5/t. A weaker pound against the dollar and further gains on an active global urea market will continue to push domestic prices up, despite challenging weather conditions.
  • UK ammonium nitrate has a clear price increase for March delivery. Reports of limited availability of imported AN shipments to the UK, due to demand in the Baltic states, could further support these higher March prices. Nitrogen fertiliser imports and buying in the UK appear to be behind.
  • Comparisons to 2012/13 season (around 10% reduction in the nitrogen market) indicate that nitrogen fertiliser use will not be as affected as many think. Soil N levels will be low following an unseasonably wet winter and the higher yield potential of modern spring barley varieties, such as Diablo, take higher nitrogen application rates, closer to that of winter wheat (150-180kg/N per ha).
£/€ £/$ €/$
1.193 1.298 1.088
Feed Barley £ Wheat £ Beans £ Oilseed Rape £
Feb20 125-134 142-156 227-232 320-325
May20 128-137 145-157 230-235 322-327
NB: Prices listed may vary depending on area.

NB: Prices quoted are indicative only at the time of going to press and subject to location and quality.

“Although ADM Agriculture take steps to ensure the validity of all information contained within the ADM Agriculture Market Report, it makes no warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of such information. ADM Agriculture will have no liability or responsibility for the information or any action or failure to act based upon such information.”

ADM Agriculture cannot accept liability arising from errors or omissions in this publication.

ADM Agriculture trade under AIC contracts which incorporate the arbitration clause.

Terms and Conditions of Purchase.

On every occasion, without exception, grain and pulses will be bought by incorporating by reference the terms & conditions of the AIC No.1 Grain and Peas or Beans contract applicable on the date of the transaction. Also, we will always, and without exception, buy oilseed rape and linseed by incorporating by reference the terms & conditions of the respective terms of the FOSFA 26A and the FOSFA 9A contracts applicable on the date of the transaction. It is a condition of all such transactions that the seller is deemed to know, accept and understand the terms and conditions of each of the above contracts.

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