Grain prices rise on back of maize short­age

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

have fol­lowed the re­cov­ery in Euro­pean prices.

The spot price for Ir­ish new crop wheat at har­vest fell to its low­est point of € 185/ t just be­fore St Pa­trick's Day but gained more than €15/t to reach €200-202/t by the week­end.

The broader Euro­pean re­cov­ery in prices was helped by the lat­est re­port from the USDA. The wheat area planted in the US for har­vest this year is fore­cast to in­crease as farm­ers re­act to the re­cent pe­riod of higher prices. The to­tal wheat area is fore­cast to rise by 1.8mil­lion hectares to 23.5m hectares. In­dus­try ex­perts say that while this up­ward fore­cast could re­sult in some down­ward pres­sure on wheat prices, US maize stocks re­main crit­i­cal.

The USDA fig­ures es­ti­mated maize stock at 165.6m tonnes, down sig­nif­i­cantly from 195m tonnes a year ago, and also be­low what the trade ex­pected. The fig­ures equate to a maize sup­ply of just 18 days, re­garded as a very tight stocks-to-use ra­tio.

The US last week con­firmed that it sold 1.25m tonnes of maize to a sin­gle buyer but would not re­veal the iden­tity of the buyer, which is widely be­lieved to be China. Con­fir­ma­tion from the US of the sale pro­vided a fur­ther boost to the mar­ket.

Mean­while, grain traders con­tinue to closely mon­i­tor weather con­di­tions across the world. There is some concern about the ef­fect of win­ter kill in Poland and parts of Ger­many, while a short­age of rain in north­ern France, north­ern Ger­many and the south of Eng­land is be­ing ob­served with an ea­gle eye.

With price volatil­ity set to con­tinue, the mar­kets are hang­ing on ev­ery word.

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