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Evening markets: Russian return to exports sinks wheat price

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Often, as with a night spent camping, it takes a little while to realise for discomfort really to make itself known.

That appeared to be much the case on Tuesday with wheat investors who, having initially appeared reasonably sanguine over Russia's return to grain exports, turned more bearish as the day went on.



for July delivery stood 5.1% lower, at $7.78 a bushel, with half an hour's trading or so to go. That after spending much of the day above $8 a bushel.

Even Minneapolis [spring] wheat - the grain market's darling of late given sowing delays in northern US and Canada – struggled, shedding 2.1% to $10.34 a bushel for July.

And on a day when the


fell too, down 0.5% against a basket of currencies, making dollar-denominated assets more appealing to foreign buyers. Indeed, other commodities rose, with New York


adding 1.8% to go back above $102 a barrel, and


gaining 0.4%.

Russia vs US

But then, as US Commodities said, "Russia currently has the cheapest wheat in the world," depressed by the export ban in place since August (and due to lapse on July 1).

"Russia's re-entry into the world grain markets will shift demand from the US in the coming months," with potentially 2m-3m tonnes exported by mid-August.

And this wasn't the only bear point pressing on wheat. It is the last day of the trading month, often a time of volatility, and price losses, as funds even up positions.

The so-called roll process, in which followers of commodity indices switch from front contracts to distant ones, is imminent, starting on Wednesday for those matching the Rodgers index, and next Tuesday for those trailing the Goldman index.

"It appears a large portion of the Minneapolis July position will be rolled to the September contract," broker Benson Quinn Commodities said.

'Still in trouble'

Sure, many investors were more dismissive of was rain in areas which needed it. Rains fell in US hard red winter wheat districts over the weekend, but "more is needed to make any significant difference", according to Matthew Pierce at PitGuru.

There was some in Europe too. "But the crops that were in trouble – spring crops, light land, etc - are still in trouble no matter how much rain we had yesterday," the UK grain arm of a major European commodities house said.

"The dryness in major wheat growing areas in the European Union - Germany and France – remains."

Furthermore the rain dogging spring wheat areas which are desperate for breaks in the clouds looks set to hang around, with forecasting that "the far western high [US] Plains and much of south central Canada will run wetter than normal".

But that was not enough to prevent a drop in prices, exacerbated in Chicago by the July lot's move below its nine-day moving average, at $8.01 a bushel, besides its 20-day (at $7.81) and 200-day lines too.

Better exports

The weakness spilled over too into Paris wheat prices which, having recovered some of Monday's losses (when the Matif, unlike US and UK markets, was open), and stood nearly 2% higher at one stage, turned tail to close down 0.5% at E237.75 a tonne for November.

London's November lot tumbled 3.8% to £189.50 a tonne.

Back in Chicago,


was dragged lower too, falling 1.6% to $7.49 a bushel for July.



, which have managed to disconnect from movements in grains, fell back into negative territory, easing 0.2% to $13.76 ¾ a bushel for July.

And this despite better US export inspection data for soybeans, at 10.3m bushels, up 1.3m bushels week on week, and showing that demand for the oilseed isn't dead.

Data later

What hopes of a turnaround, um, Wednesday? Much will depend on the outcome of the latest weekly US crop progress report, due out later, and expected to come up with the first ratings on the US corn crop.

This is expected to show condition at 60% good or excellent, compared with 76% a year ago, according to US Commodities.

US corn sowings are expected to come in 93% complete, with 60% of America's soybean crop seeded.


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