30 DECEMBER 2016
Over recent weeks the raw material market has been subject to a whole cross section of factors.
It has made for an interesting period with price direction difficult to predict.
Starting with proteins planting of soya beans is progressing well in South America.
Brazil plantings are almost complete with the acreage planted similar to last year.
Argentina is almost 50% planted which is similar to the same time last year.
Undoubtedly markets will be quick to pick up on weather related issues as these crops establish & grow but at the moment there are no obvious challenges to supply.
For the UK an improved sterling value over recent weeks has helped see soya meal prices ease.
The whole area of the Brexit deal the Uk negotiates and the outcome of Article 50 supreme court case will clearly have a strong bearing on sterling values over the coming months.
Spot Rapemeal values have finally eased across Europe. The supply of seed has improved and better crush margins have led to more meal being available. It is hoped this situation remains.
Distillers supply in the UK has altered sharply with recent plentiful supply now looking to be much tighter. Rumours surround Ensus,Teesdide curtailing production again,Vivergo,Hull production all spoken for and imported maize distillers running out fast in Liverpool, shippers don’t you just love them!
On cereals the global supply picture looks OK.
The glut Russia & Ukraine are sitting on is likely to be marketed strongly in first quarter 2017.
At what price and where this finds a home time will tell.
The UK has exported around 1 million tonnes of wheat, milling & feed, to various European destinations since harvest.
Whilst this has not left the UK short of wheat it has enabled prices to firm and this looks set to remain so through to harvest.
UK barley supplies are tightening with a lack of quality in terms of bushel weight a constant challenge. We have and will continue to reject low bushel weight cereals.
This market looks distinctly firm. Trident appear to have sold out of home produced SBP for this season.
Imported SBP, whilst available ,looks expensive.
PK & hulls are holding onto their current higher prices and look set to do so through the first half of 2016 at least.
On PK renewed demand has picked up from New Zealand who are traditionally large users of PK.This has been triggered by increasing milk prices in NZ and the desire to feed cows something other than grass or silage.
Vitamins & minerals
We are finally starting to feel the effect of increased global prices in a number of vitamins & trace elements. Whilst these are never welcome they have been on the horizon for a while.
Vitamin E prices in particular are greatly increased due global demand outstripping supply.
Vegetable oils & fats continue to trade at big prices. Key drivers to this are reduced palm production in Malaysia & Indonesia due to poor palm harvests.
Freight rates on shipping have risen strongly through November. Crude oil prices have increased by 10% since the beginning of November with crude trading at $55/barrel at present. The increase in crude values were caused by OPEC members announcing their plans to reduce output. Whether this materialises is open to question.
Whilst the number of vessels available for shipping is strong the global demand for shipping is also strong. In the Pacific increased volumes of coal are being shipped into China, Japan & Korea. In the north Atlantic demand for shipping of US grain is strong. As a result to get cargoes moved shippers are paying higher prices which has added upwards of £5/t to imported materials from South America to the UK.