Wheat Futures Prices Fell 12.9% This Week on Black Sea Reopening Rumors with Ukrainian Grain

Wheat prices faltered again this week losing 12.9% to be up just 1% on the year. September Chicago Wheat closed at 7.76 ¾, down 18 ¼ cents on the day. Wheat prices have been swinging wildly on rumors of the possibility the black sea may be reopening with Ukrainian wheat, a possible bottleneck in ramping up Ukraine grain exports is damage to the transportation infrastructure which in reality will take time to fix. In the US the market focus right now is on weather.


Wheat prices had recovered 6% last week after falling over 20% over the last fortnight and down over 50% from the pandemic break up. The USDA’s last Thursday morning release of the June 30 Acreage report all-wheat acres firmed 1% higher from last season, with 47.1 million acres fueled the previous selling.

Wheat Futures Highlights

  • Wheat fell this week 12.9% to be up just 1% on the year.
  • September Chicago Wheat closed at 7.76 ¾, down 18 ¼ cents on the day.
  • Spring wheat is estimated to be 1 point higher on Monday at 71%, against 11% last year and the 54% average.
  • Winter wheat harvest is approaching 75%, versus 63% last week, 71% last year and the same 5-year average.

Wheat Technical Outlook

KnovaWave analyze US Wheat futures given its high beta relationship and more liquid aspect as an investment vehicle.

After Wheat last week performed the strongest of the grain complex, the only one to not threaten its weekly cloud. This week it was the worse spitting the 50wma. Wheat was back under the 61.8% and closed right at the cloud. The contract had continued its sharp impulsive collapse fueled from when it retested and broke the Tenkan (orange). This came about after a failure at retesting the 8/8 move and high after it spat 8/8, and the minimum target. It had completed a measured 4/8 correction off highs then broke key support at 38% then 50% and 50wma confluence in the freefall. From here Wheat support at that $700 cloud confluence with the breakup level at 61.8% resistance, then Kijun and Tenkan.

WEAT ETF Weekly Chart via KnovaWave

Wheat Acreage Highlights

All-wheat acres firmed 1% higher from last season, with 47.1 million acres. “If realized, this represents the fifth lowest all-wheat planted area since records began in 1919,” USDA notes. Here’s a closer look at the acreage breakdown:

  • Winter wheat – 34.0 million acres (up 1%)
  • Hard red winter wheat – 23.5 million acres
  • Soft red winter wheat – 6.86 million acres
  • White winter wheat – 3.61 million acres
  • Spring wheat – 11.1 million acres (down 3%)
  • Durum wheat – 1.98 million acres (up 21%)

Wheat stocks eroded 22% lower from a year ago, meantime, to 660 million bushels. That was slightly higher than the average trade guess of 655 million bushels. Of the total, 93.0 million bushels are in on-farm storage (down 34% year-over-year), with the remaining 567 million bushels stored off the farm (down 19% year-over-year). Disappearance between March and May totaled 364 million bushels, which was down 22% from the same period last year.

Wheat Quality Council Tour of Kansas

The Wheat Quality Council tour of Kansas was held last month. The final state-wide average yield came in at 39.7 bushels per acre versus USDA’s May 12th estimation of 39.0 bpa and the most recent 5-year average at 47.4 bpa. While the yield came in higher than the latest forecasts, total production came in 10 million bushels below USDA’s figures due to abandonment.

The tour sees Kansas harvested acres at 88.8 percent of those planted versus the USDA’s forecast of 93.9 percent the 4-year average of 94.9 percent. With Kansas condition ratings at 54 percent Poor-to-Very Poor, the 39.7 bpa was higher than I was expecting.

Effect of Higher Input Costs on Farmers

A recent report by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University shows higher input prices are having a larger impact on farmers than originally thought.

  • Net cash farm income on the representative feed grain and oilseed farms is projected to decline by an average of $534,000 from 2021 to 2022 across the 25 feed grain and oilseed farms.
  • Representative wheat farms face an average reduction in net cash farm income of $399,000.
  • Representative cotton farms face an average reduction in net cash farm income of $716,000.
  • Rice farms face the largest reduction in net cash farm income per farm at $880,000 and a per acre reduction of $442.

Compiled by Joe Outlaw, Ph.D., and Bart Fischer, Ph.D., co-directors of the AFPC.

US Wheat Harvest Report

  • Spring wheat is estimated to be 1 point higher on Monday at 71%, against 11% last year and the 54% average.
  • Winter wheat harvest is approaching 75%, versus 63% last week, 71% last year and the same 5-year average
  • Hard red winter wheat harvest nearly 30% complete as it moves north into the Central U.S.
  • Harvest is largely finished in Texas and Oklahoma, with only about 13% left to go in top producer Kansas.
  • Nebraska’s crop is 25% harvested while Colorado’s harvest is 12% complete.
  • Test cutting will likely begin in Wyoming and South Dakota in the next week to 10 days.

Crop conditions are holding mostly steady, though heavy wind and hail in South Dakota this past week likely damaged crops. Yields in the Southern Plains continue to average between 20-30 bpa. Preliminary reports from harvest progress in Nebraska point to more favorable yields (50bpa for dryland and 100bpa for irrigated).

  • Soft red winter wheat harvest is nearly 85% complete, even though scattered showers have caused rain delays in the Midwest over the past week.
  • Crop conditions are in good shape, with 57% of the crop rated as good to excellent in Monday’s Crop Progress report.

Test weights are trending higher than last year. Harvest progress should continue at a steady clip over the next week as dryness settles into the Eastern half of the country.

  • Soft white winter wheat crops in the Pacific Northwest are nearly completely headed.
  • Spring crops continue to lag 2-3 weeks behind historical paces but are largely rated in good to excellent condition across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Hard red spring wheat crop development also continues to lag behind average paces due to a slow start to spring in the Northern Plains. But even with the late start and delayed crop development, USDA reported 64% of the spring wheat crop to be in good to excellent condition last Monday. Rains in the Northern Plains through the weekend should keep those condition ratings high.

Durum crops are also developing late this year. But overall crop development remains favorable. Condition ratings in North Dakota and Montana stand at 88% and 66% good to excellent as of last Sunday.

Wheat Exporters


The fall corn export outlook is by no means certain. The Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt should see 1/10 to ¾” during the period over 30% of the region. Temperatures are forecast to be above normal. Canadian Prairie rainfall for the period will vary between 1/3rd to 2” over 65% of the region with a few amounts greater. Temperatures are forecast to be near to above normal.

Wheat exports rose 19% from last week’s volumes to 10.5 million bushels through the week ending June 30. Wheat export sales reached 17.6 million bushels last week, crushing expectations which ranged from 5.5 million to 14.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the young 2022/23 marketing year are trending slightly below last year’s pace so far, with 33.7 million bushels.

Western hemisphere and Asian buyers continued to be the top purchasers of new U.S. wheat export sales last week.

Increases to weekly hard red winter and hard red spring shipments were the key drivers of higher wheat exports in USDA’s latest Export Sales report. Soft red wheat export volumes through the week ending June 30 were fractionally higher also and will likely trend higher in the weeks to come as harvest progress wraps up in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.


French consultancy Agritel offered a forecast for 2022/23 Russian wheat production. The group expects it to reach 3.138 billion bushels, which would be a year-over-year increase of more than 13%, if realized. Russia is the world’s No. 1 wheat exporter.

Russian consultancy IKAR increased its estimates for the country’s 2022 wheat production, moving it to 3.197 billion bushels from its mid-May forecast of 3.123 billion bushels. It also raised its expectations for Russian wheat exports to 1.506 billion bushels.


Ukraine’s total grain exports in June tumbled 43% lower year-over-year amid the country’s ongoing struggles due to the Russian invasion. Port traffic is largely non-existent, forcing Ukraine to ship goods via rail (which is much less efficient).

EU Soft Wheat Production

European Union grain trade association Coceral raised its soft wheat production estimates to 5.254 billion bushels, citing improved weather in Spain. The group also slightly raised its estimates for French soft wheat production, which is in contrast to some other forecasts because the country has recently been suffering through ample hot, dry weather.


French farmers had harvested 82pc of the hard wheat crop by 11 July, compared with about half a week earlier. French wheat, as of July 11, the percentage of soft wheat rated good to excellent improved by one point to 64%. However, the rating continues to report below the 7-year average of 67%. The harvest is 50% complete, ahead of last year’s level.


The BA Grain Exchange keeps Argentine seedings at 6.2 million but caution that the dryness may lead to eventual reductions. No production estimate as of yet but Rosario is at 17.7 (down 800 K) and the USDA is optimistic at 19.5 million.


A devastating heat wave this spring has tanked Indian wheat prospects after five years of bumper crops. Private wheat exports from India were banned in mid-May to ensure domestic availability.

Egypt has contracted to buy 180,000 tonnes of wheat from India, Supply Minister Aly Moselhy said in a news conference on Sunday. Shipment will happen once the cargo “reaches the ports” in India, Moselhy added.

India likely shipped a record-setting 367 million bushels of wheat this year, with much of that volume recorded following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. At the moment, the country is not expected to restrict rice exports.

Global Wheat Importers


Egypt is the world’s top wheat importer and sources a large percentage of its supplies through Ukraine.

Egypt’s Supply Minister Aly Moselhy said in a news conference on Sunday the country has strategic reserves of wheat sufficient for 5.7 months, He added that the country has procured 3.9 million tonnes of wheat in the local harvest so far.

He added that the strategic reserves for sugar were sufficient for more than six months and those for vegetable oils are sufficient for 6.2 months, while the country is self-sufficient for rice for 3.3 months. The country is a significant importer of all these commodities.


Pakistan has received multiple offers in its international tender to buy 18.4 million bushels of milling wheat, which closed earlier today. Additional details about the sale were not immediately available.

South Korea

South Korea purchased 4.6 million bushels of wheat sourced from the United States, Canada and Australia in a tender that closed last Thursday, approximately one-third of the total was sourced from the U.S. The grain is for shipment starting in July.

COT on Commodities

COT on commodities covering the week to July 12 saw selling pressure from hedge fund begin to ease. The net long dropped to 900k lots, lowest since June 2020 but the 52k reduction was well below the 190k average seen during the previous four weeks.

Specs turned net buyers of crudeoil, copper and sugar with selling seen in natgas gold soybeans corn wheat and coffee. The gross position (long & short) was cut by 177k reflecting a high degree of uncertainty and vacations lowering exposures


via Ole S Hansen @Ole_S_Hansen

Commodity Round Up

  • Bloomberg Commodities Index declined 2.1% (up 14.4% y-t-d).
  • Spot Gold dropped 2.0% to $1,708 (down 6.6%).
  • Silver fell 3.1% to $18.71 (down 19.7%).
  • WTI crude sank $7.20 to $97.59 (up 30%).
  • Gasoline slumped 6.8% (up 44%),
  • Natural Gas surged 16.3% to $7.02 (up 88%).
  • Copper sank 8.2% (down 28.8%).
  • Wheat lost 12.9% (up 1%),
  • Corn dropped 3.2% (up 2%).
  • Bitcoin fell $1,023, or 4.7%, this week to $20,860 (down 55%).

Risk markets continue to respond to the war in Ukraine and the supply crisis from the Coronavirus outbreak and lockdowns.

Source: TC, USDA, Farm Progress, Reuters

From The TradersCommunity Research Desk