Market Report

Thursday 19 March 2020


  • Markets have recovered previous losses, as demand for a safe haven of dollar-priced commodities appeared.
  • The US government is proposing a $1trn stimulus injection to try to support the world’s largest economy.
  • US prices bounced off recent lows yesterday on rumours that China may be in the market for several cargoes of US hard red winter wheat.
  • IKON Commodities forecasts Australian 2020/21 wheat production at 27.9mln t, sharply above ABARES’s current estimate of 21.4mln t.
  • Brazilian soya harvest is seen as 63% complete, although in Rio Grande Do Sul, where crop failure is estimated around 30%, further losses may occur if dry weather persists.
  • BAGE trimmed its estimate of the Argentine soybean crop to 52mln t, from 54.5mln previously, citing dry conditions for the decline, although corn output was left unchanged at 50mln t.
  • SovEcon has raised its estimate for Russia’s March grain exports to 3.4mln t, from 2.1mln t previously, as a sharp decline in the value of the rouble saw shipments rise 30% w/w.
  • Ukraine is not planning to ban grain exports, after the president had earlier called for restrictions on food exports according to the list drawn up by the government.
  • IAE reported that Ukraine’s 2020 winter wheat output may fall 12.5% to 24.2mln t, due to low soil moisture as a result of little to no snow coverage.
  • Coceral lowered its estimate of the EU and UK’s 2020 soft wheat crop to 136.5mln t, down from its initial prediction of 137.9mln t, and sharply lower than the 145.7mln t harvested in 2019.
  • EU soft wheat exports a/o March 15th had reached 22.2mln t, up 72% from the volume shipped by 12 March last season.
  • EU (Paris) futures are up €7/t of the week, although a sharp decline in the €/US$ rate has seen prices in US$ terms actually fall about $1 w/w.
  • UK (London) futures are up about £10/t on the week, supported by a sharp drop in the values of the £, which has fallen to its lowest levels against the US$ since 1985.
  • £ weakness is attributed partially to the proposed government’s £350bln stimulus package for UK firms in an attempt to support business during the coronavirus epidemic.
  • In summary, there is no way of knowing when this will end. Risk appetite has disappeared, and dramatic action is being taken by governments against coronavirus. The impact upon financial markets and world economies cannot be estimated.
  • Grains will need to move and get sold. Animals need to be fed and crops will get planted. Food will be produced, and consumers will continue to buy. Sense and stability will eventually come back to all markets, but for UK farmers, the 10% decline in the value of the £ has supported farm-gate levels and provides a boost in Sterling terms for prices in the short term.

Malting Barley

  • Beer demand around the world is falling, with some countries reporting sales down as much as 70%.
  • Here is the UK, pub beer sales are down significantly while shop sales are up slightly.
  • UK beer sales overall will no doubt be hugely impacted, which will have a knock-on effect on malting barley purchases.
  • The better weather throughout the EU has allowed growers to start sowing again.
  • The UK has also started planting but only on the lighter land.


  • It has been yet another week in which macroeconomic markets have unsurprisingly led the oilseed complex. The extended global measures to contain coronavirus have led to a panic in world markets and oilseeds were one of the many casualties.
  • The Dow Jones has now given back all gains since Trump took his presidency in early 2017 with Monday seeing the largest losses since 1987’s ‘Black Monday’, losing 13% in one day as markets panic over the worldwide pandemic.
  • China has released economic output figures for the first two months of 2020 which show output down 13.5%; retail sales down 20.5%; real estate construction down 44.9% and house sales down 34.7%. Some economists are taking this as a blueprint for what is to come in the western hemisphere over the next two months.
  • China has had its first day since the outbreak began where it has reported no new domestic cases. With treatment centres in the nation reportedly closing down due to lack of patients, it is a hopeful sign of the short-term nature of this virus.
  • In the US, soybean values fell week on week, losing $0.23 cents per bushel on Monday alone, as part of the spill over from the stock market sell-off. There are signs however that the market is beginning to follow fundamental influences again. Logistical issues in Brazil could leave the door open to more sales of soybeans out of the US to China in the coming weeks, as well as a lack of farmer selling which is squeezing some US producers in the short term.
  • In South America, aside from the logistical issues at Brazilian ports, the dry weather has persisted a few days too many. Agrosoja has now reduced the Brazilian crop estimates to 120.6mln t, against a USDA of 126mln t, with others putting the Argentinian crop around 52mln t vs USDA estimate of 54mln t.
  • Since last Thursday, May Matif rapeseed futures have fallen €12 to close Wednesday evening at €344.25. On Monday the market traded at values as low as €330.75 before recovering slightly over the last couple of days. Largely this decline is a result of the outside macroeconomic influences, as well as cheap crude oil, which is now trading well below $30 per barrel. Due to the ongoing travel restrictions and lock-downs across Europe, the demand for fuel has fallen. Consequently, this has a severe knock on effect on biofuel demand, which accounts for a large percentage of EU rapeseed demand.
  • The UK market has been led by sterling, which has fallen below €1.07 for the first time since 2009. While Matif futures have fallen €12 since last week, the decline in currency has actually seen a small gain in prices at the farm gate, although the picture remains volatile and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable while coronavirus continues to grip the world’s attention.


  • There has been little fresh export interest over the last week and therefore shippers are not willing to push the market higher despite sterling weakening significantly against the US dollar and euro. With sterling so weak, the price in euros on the export market has fallen dramatically and this may start to prompt some new enquiries from the aquaculture sector, which have been put off recently by the very high values.
  • The human consumption market is very quiet. The Australian dollar has also been sold off heavily against the US$ which is pushing prices lower into Egypt, and the importers are taking a back seat as a result.
  • New crop beans have firmed on the week, supported by weaker sterling and firmer wheat futures. Pre-harvest bean prices are likely to continue to track wheat futures. Whether or not these high premiums can be maintained over the next few weeks will be determined by planting progress over the coming weeks.


  • Spring barley orders are still steadily coming in. We have stock available for immediate dispatch or ready to treat is available for order, should top ups or last-minute orders be required.
  • Spring wheat stocks are now hard to source from the continent with a week’s lead time on new orders where it can be found.
  • Spring OSR as a later drilled option will soon come into its own. Seed stocks are readily available.
  • All peas and beans are now sold out after unprecedented demand this season.


  • Granular urea has held firm on the global market. North African urea for shipment March and April is reportedly sold out.
  • Sales of Middle Eastern granular urea achieved $265/t FOB, a level not seen since August 2019. The Indian tender is still to be announced and could provide further support.
  • In comparison to 2019/20 season, there has so far been little fertiliser imported since the autumn into the UK. As tonnes become more limited, delivery slots will get booked up, with some suppliers already on April only from today.
  • UK markets are volatile due to the weakness in sterling. Prices continue to firm as currency hits a 35-year lows against the US$ and fertiliser replacement values soar.
  • ALZON® neo-N, as well as other fertilisers, are still available from ADM with relatively quick delivery. Speak to your farm trader for more information.
£/€ £/$ €/$
1.066 1.152 1.081
Feed Barley £ Wheat £ Beans £ Oilseed Rape £
Mar20 125-135 153-164 240-245 304-309
May20 130-140 155-165 242-247 306-311
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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