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Articles of Interest- Friday, March 8, 2019

Articles of Interest- Friday, March 8, 2019

Focus on Romania

World-Grain – 03/04/2019

Romania qualifies as one of the Black Sea origins for grain, with Russia and Ukraine, but it also has the advantage of being a member of the European Union (E.U.), with its farmers supported under the E.U.’s Common Agricultural Policy. The country’s farm minister, Petre Daea, is chairing E.U. meetings of national farm ministers during the first half of 2019 as the country holds the revolving Presidency of the Union’s Council of Ministers. That gives Daea the difficult task of steering reform proposals for the CAP through ministerial meetings. Romania is becoming an increasingly important producer and exporter of grains. It serves as a conduit to the outside world for much of southeastern Europe, with grain coming by barge along the Danube. It is an important supplier to destinations in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East as well as to other E.U. countries.

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Russian Wheat Prices Sink to 24-week Low on Falling EU, US Prices

S&P Global– 03/08/2019

Slower than expected demand from buyers such as Saudi Arabia, and lower prices from competing exporters, pushed Russian wheat prices down to a 24-week low Thursday, in an effort by sellers to keep pace with price slashing for EU and US origin wheat. Russian 12.5% protein wheat on a FOB Handy size vessel basis was assessed by S&P Global Platts at $224/mt Thursday on muted buying interest.The fall comes as European prices dropped $3/mt on the day on Thursday to $221/mt for April-loading Baltic origin 12.5% protein wheat. Front-loading prices for Baltic wheat have dropped $22/mt since the start of February as sellers struggled to offload wheat in January and February on weaker-than-expected demand from destinations such as Saudi Arabia.

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As Congress Weights New NAFTA, Signs of Support Emerge

Houston Chronicle – 03/08/2019

Three months after President Donald Trump signed on to an updated North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, a potential pathway for Congress to approve the deal is beginning to emerge. In an interview Thursday, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Woodlands, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was working on a “reasonable” replacement for Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, which Republicans and Democrats alike have said must be eliminated with to secure their support. “There has been expectation they could be replaced with reasonable quotas and I know Ambassador Lighthizer has been having conversations with both Mexico and Canada and the members of Congress,” he said. “It’s a top priority for them because it’s a top priority for members of both parties.”

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New Crop Wheat Sales Off to Slow Start

The Progressive Farmer – 03/08/2019

This year’s figure is 22.9 million bushels (mb) sold which, other than last year’s 18.3 mb, is the lowest new crop sales figure as of the fourth week of February since the 2012/13 season. Late last month USDA projected our wheat sales for the coming year at 975 mb which is 25 mb lower than their current estimate for this season and current new crop sales represent 2.3% of that figure, again the lowest percent since the 2012/13 marketing year. To be truthful, we would not read too much into this early season metric as there is a lot of time left until the end of the 2019/20 marketing year on May 31, 2020. There have been years where the early pace of wheat sales has been lagging but then exports accelerate once the marketing year gets under way.

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Fourth Quarter 2018 Wheat Transportation Costs Increase

USDA – 03/07/2019

During the fourth quarter of 2018, the costs for shipping wheat to Japan increased from quarter to quarter and from year to year. The wheat shipped to Japan originated from Kansas and North Dakota and was shipped through the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and the U.S. Gulf. Quarter-to-quarter wheat transportation costs for Kansas increased in each region. The increase was mainly due to higher ocean freight rates, while year-to-year shipping costs increased due to both higher rail and ocean freight rates. Likewise, due to higher rail and ocean freight costs, transportation costs for wheat from North Dakota increased from quarter to quarter and from year to year.

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New England Wheat Farmer Wins National Yield Award

The Dickinson Press – 03/07/2019

A 103.98-bushels-per-acre spring wheat yield and a 2018 National Wheat Yield Contest first- place trophy would typically be considered a feat worth hanging your hat on, but Jon Wert, of New England, said he isn’t even close to reaching his yield goals. “My winning field has averaged over 100 bushels in three of the last nine years,” Wert said. “It’s nothing to sneeze at, but I know that I could do better than that.” The contest offers national wheat growers the opportunity to compete with their peers across the United States and learn from each other many of the innovative techniques used to improve wheat productivity on their farms. The annual contest features two primary competition categories of winter wheat and spring wheat, plus two subcategories of dryland and irrigated.

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Source: U.S. Wheat Associates