Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

EU price forecasts to ease volatility worries

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

The European Commission is to move to curb speculation on commodity markets, such as grain this autumn, in an effort to reduce market volatility.

Raluca Rusu, from DG Agriculture in the European Commission, will outline what controls could be put in place at the upcoming Teagasc tillage crops forum in the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, on Wednesday, September 7.

European Agricultural Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has announced that the EU Commission will start publishing regular updates on short-term market forecasts for cereals, oilseeds, milk, milk products and meat this autumn.

The aim, he said, was to create greater transparency and co-ordination between the big players in each commodity in order to ensure better functioning markets. Referring to the shock rise in grain prices last year, caused by Russia's export ban on grain, the commissioner added that the controls would "avoid any unilateral decision of a big exporter taking food markets by surprise".

It is expected that member states will be required to keep the Commission informed of public and private stocks of cereals, oilseeds and other crops.

Speculation on commodity markets has, in recent years, far exceeded the amount of physical grain and led to huge price rises and falls.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange trades 46 times the annual production of US wheat, 24 times the annual amount of maize and 35 times for petrol.

EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Michel Barnier, noted earlier this summer that raw material prices had become closely linked with the financial markets and said there was a need for greater transparency.

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He insisted that more systematic and detailed information on commodity and derivatives market activities was required.

The Frenchman has already floated the idea of imposing position limits and the need for a system that would penalise abuses in the commodity markets.

The Teagasc tillage crops forum begins at 2pm with a session on tillage technology and margins and continues at 3.10pm with a session on grain marketing.

Speakers include Barry O'Reilly, from the Department of Agriculture, Tim O'Donovan and Richie Hackett, from Teagasc, the IFA's Fintan Conway, Tom Bryan, from Boortmalt, and Glanbia's Murty McWey.

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