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What’s the state of the grain market?
There is currently a significant gap between the internal market where, since the beginning of lockdown, there has been a decline in milling, ethanol and starch activities - with, as a result, less wheat consumed in the domestic market than was expected - and the external market, where demand remains very strong.
Traditional buying countries such as Egypt and Algeria have continued their calls for tender. Demand has even increased somewhat due to the build-up of stocks to avoid disruption during the crisis and the increase in demand in some countries such as Morocco, which is anticipating a poor harvest due to drought. The start of Ramadan also had an amplifying effect on cereal purchases. However, the external market remained fairly balanced in April as the main exporters (EU, Black Sea, US, CND) still had sufficient supply. At present, it is France that still has goods to export - even more so with the decline in domestic consumption - and which continues to ship large volumes faced with supply that’s slowing down in the Black Sea.
With regard to grain bulk freight rates, there is no particular change. The BDI (Baltic Dry Index) rose very slightly in April but has since fallen back and remains at a very low level.
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