Commodity tracker: Wheat prices volatile, corn supplies stable amid weather concerns

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Torsten Asmus
© GettyImages/Torsten Asmus

Related tags Corn barley China Ukraine

Wheat prices continued to fluctuate unpredictably as concerns grew over Russia's harvest due to ongoing dry weather in the southern growing region, reports CRM Agri.

Recent forecasts from Russian crop analysts, Ikar and SovEcon, lowered production estimates, signaling a potential decrease in the global wheat supply.

Meanwhile, US wheat exports remained strong, looking healthy last week at 399Kt, up from 228Kt the week before and 391Kt for the same week of 2023, noted the UK analysts.

Corn market is cause for cheer

In contrast, the outlook for corn supplies appears more stable compared to wheat.

Argentina's corn harvest, which was previously downgraded due to stunt disease, has stabilized for now, though still below USDA estimates. Brazil's corn output remains steady as the Safrinha crop harvest begins. Additionally, US corn planting for the next season is progressing well, reducing the risk of significant unplanted areas.

In Ukraine, corn planting is nearly complete, albeit with slightly increased acreage compared to last year. Despite this, output is expected to decrease due to average yield projections.

Surge in barley inclusion levels in feed in China 

On the demand side, EU corn imports have decreased. Similarly, China's corn imports have slowed down compared to the previous year, while barley imports have surged, according to a grain market outlook from the CRM Agri team.

“EU corn imports are running one-third below year-ago levels, a reflection of an improved 2023 domestic harvest, and China’s imports have slowed markedly as 2024 has progressed.

“China’s total corn imports so far this year, at 9.1Mt, have now fallen below those of 2022. Those of barley, by contrast, a rival to corn for uses such as feed, have more than doubled year on year to 6.0Mt. (That is more than in the whole of 2022).”

Weather concerns 

However, challenges remain for corn users, particularly in Mexico, where dry weather is affecting domestic crop yields. Nonetheless, there is potential for increased corn demand as consumers may shift away from high-priced wheat products.

Looking ahead, uncertainties persist, with weather conditions like La Niña potentially impacting US corn production and Brazil's Safrinha crop facing possible setbacks.

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