The Mintec Category Index (MCI) for global cereals fell to USD 381/MT, down 8% month-on-month (m-o-m) on the 8th of June 2022. The monthly price decrease was influenced by negotiations between Russia and international bodies to unblock Ukrainian grain exports. The market reacted strongly to these talks, but the outcome remains highly uncertain.
Despite the USDA’s estimates of a 7% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in US maize (corn) production for the 2021/22 season, concerns remain over the planting of the remaining 5-10% of the US maize crop. The weather forecast for the key growing regions is currently unfavourable, and there are fears that the remainder of the maize crop won’t be planted. If planting is not completed by June, this could significantly impact the US maize supply. While the 2021/22 US wheat crop is forecast to be the smallest crop since 2002/03, in the 2022/23 season, a slightly larger US wheat production is expected y-o-y.
In Europe, some rain arrived in large parts of France (Europe’s largest wheat producer) in May. However, the rainfall is not likely to be sufficient to help the crop, considering prolonged drought periods experienced by the wheat-growing region. There are also dryness concerns in other parts of Europe like Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
Worries over Ukrainian grain export volumes are continuing, and Ukraine seeks alternative ways of transporting grain out of the country. Currently, there are established routes with Romania and Poland, and in mid-June, Ukraine managed to set up a third export channel via the Baltic States. Grain exports from Ukraine through various channels will be a watch-out factor going forward as this could bring some easing in grain prices.