Export prices of wheat and maize generally firmer in November

International cereal prices

Export prices of wheat mostly rose in November, but large supplies and stiff competition among the major exporters limited the month-on-month increases. The benchmark US wheat (No.2 Hard Red Winter, f.o.b.) rose for the second consecutive month and averaged USD 220 per tonne, up almost 4 percent from October but still 5 percent down from its level in November 2018. Uncertain production prospects in southern hemisphere countries, coupled with less than ideal planting conditions for the 2020 winter wheat crops in key northern hemisphere producing countries, continued to provide support to prices. Export prices from the Black Sea region and the European Union also increased in recent weeks. By contrast, price quotations from Argentina moved sharply lower, largely reflecting harvest pressure.

Similarly, maize export prices were generally higher in November, except from the United States of America. At USD 168 per tonne, the benchmark US maize (No.2, Yellow, f.o.b.) averaged slightly down from October, though still higher by more than 4 percent higher from its level in the corresponding month last year. The softer tone, which followed a rise in October, was driven mostly by slower sales and seasonal harvest pressure. By contrast, export prices from the other leading exporters benefitted from more brisk trade activity, while dry weather delaying planting operations in Argentina also lent support.

The FAO All Rice Price Index (2002-04=100) averaged 222.8 points in November, down 1.5 percent from October and hitting a six-month low. In Asian markets, prices of Indica rice were generally weaker during November, as the main crop harvests gained momentum and demand remained persistently low. In India, a weaker currency also contributed to the price falls. In Thailand and Viet Nam, the generally quiet trading environment prevented quotations from moving up, although in Viet Nam signs of a revival in the Philippines’ buying interest lent some support to prices, as did the strength of the Baht in Thailand, combined with concerns over the impact of poor weather on production. In the United States of America, prices of long grain rice were little varied.