If you look in the dictionary, the definition of a rut is a ‘habit or behaviour that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change’. Then there is a picture of a wheat market next to it. Wheat fell into old habits this week after staging something of a late rally last week.

Having briefly touched 600UCc/bushels, CBOT collapsed back again having failed to break through the 50-day moving average (DMA). Despite the Middle East flash point and the ongoing saga in the Black Sea, it was the fact that Russian exports for the month of October have unexpectedly slowed down. This has resulted in Black Sea FOB prices collapsing which has in turn spilled into wider weakness in the global wheat markets.

As of the 25th of October (as per SovEcon), Russian exports tal-lied 4.4mmt, down from 5mmt exported the previous month. The confusion around the state sanctioned $270/t FOB price versus private exporters quoting $225-235 FOB may be scaring off would-be importers.

Similarly, Ukraine was trumpeting the success of their recently established humanitarian corridor which had seen 33 vessels (1.3mmt grains and cargo) safely navigate in and out of the deep seaports of Greater Odessa. Ukraine wheat at $190/t FOB is the cheapest in the world and a revival of a grain corridor was contributing to the market weakness that prevailed in the past week. However, as of last night, Kyiv announced a temporary closure citing fears that the Russian Air Force had sown sea mines in the area. Ukraine’s exports are down 30% on the year with sea routes blocked and the Danube River system full.

South American weather is coming under the spotlight. Recent rain in Argentina will be a boost for cereal and oilseed crops that have been struggling with dry conditions. It will also be very timely ahead of the regular corn and soybean planting season. Conversely, much of Brazil is dry (driest on record in places) which is threatening soybean planting and affecting barge traffic on inland rivers. There are rumours that China is washing out Brazilian soybean purchases due to delayed shipping and poor crush margins.

Next week

The wheat market is having a hard time breaking out of resistance levels above 600c/bushels. Despite major global exporters stocks at 53mmt (or similar to 2007/08), cheap Black Sea supplies continue to set the bar lower.

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Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Data sources: Reuters, SovEcon, Next Level Grain Marketing, Mecardo

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