WHEAT

- Feb 23 - Ethiopia seeks 70,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat

- Feb 19 - Egypt's GASC seeks an unspecified amount of wheat from global suppliers for Mar 15-25 shipment

- EU in week ended February 16 granted licenses to export 733 TMT of soft wheat, bringing the total this season to 16.954 MMT vs. 19.015 MMT a year ago

- EU in week ended February 12 awarded licenses to import 115,209 MT of Ukrainian wheat under an annual duty-free quota. The award meant that the EU had now awarded 634,180 MT or 66.8% out of a total volume of 950,000 MT available in 2016

- Stratégie Grains lowered its forecast of the 2016 EU soft wheat crop by 500,000 MT from January to 142.6 MMT (150.2 MMT in 2015), mainly due to reduced production area estimates in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania. It estimates the EU will export 28.3 MMT of soft wheat in 2015/16, up 200,000 MT from its peg the month prior, and 30.6 MMT in 2016/17, up 1.7 MMT from January. Soft wheat ending stocks for the EU in 2016/17 were pegged at 13.3 MMT (14.2 MMT estimate in Jan), down from 17.2 MMT (16.9 MMT in Jan) this season

- Stratégie Grains says Ukraine is expected to see its wheat output fall to some 18 MMT this year, from 26.5 MMT last year, after a drought-affected autumn sowing season

- Ukraine's Ag Min said Ukraine exported 25.6 MMT of grain between July 1-Feb 18, 2015/16, including 11.5 MMT of wheat, around 4 MMT of barley and around 10 MMT of corn

- FranceAgriMer said 94% of France's soft wheat crops were in good to excellent condition as of Feb 15 vs. 91% a year ago; durum rating at 90% in good to excellent vs. 86% a year ago

- Kazakhstan says China increase quota for Kazakh wheat

- Russian deputy PM says no decision yet on wheat export duty

CORN

- Feb 18 - USDA announced export sales of 106,162 MT of US corn for delivery to Costa Rica during 2015/16

- EU in week ended Feb 16 awarded 259 TMT of corn (maize) import certificates, taking the volume so far this season to 9.14 MMT vs. 5.628 MMT a year ago

- EU in week ended Feb 16 granted licenses to export 43 TMT of corn, bringing the total this season to 1.043 MMT vs. 1.787 MMT a year ago

- EU in week ended Feb 16 granted licenses to export 254 TMT of barley, bringing the total this season to 6.635 MMT vs. 5.546 MMT a year ago

- EU in week ended Feb 12 awarded licenses to import 5,500 MT of Ukrainian barley under an annual duty-free quota, bringing the total to 9,426 MT or 3.8% out of a total volume of 250,000 MT available in 2016

- Stratégie Grains lowered its 2016 EU corn crop forecast to 63.9 MMT down 700,000 MT from previous estimate, but still up 11% from the drought-affected 2015 harvest (57.6 MMT). It cited reduced area estimates in Hungary, Croatia, Italy and France for the cut

- Stratégie Grains slightly raised its 2016 EU barley crop forecast to 60.2 MMT (60.1 MMT previously), still down 1% from the 2015 crop

- FranceAgriMer said 94% of France's winter barley crops were in good to excellent condition as of Feb 15 vs. 91% a year ago

- FranceAgriMer estimated spring barley planting 5% done as of Feb 15, behind of last year's pace of 9%

- Buenos Aires Grain Exchange in its first forecast expects the 2015/16 Argentine corn crop at 25 MMT (28.2 MMT in 2014/15). The exchange raised its estimates of planting area for 2015/16 and 2014/15 to 3.3 mln ha (3.1 previously) and 3.65 mln ha (3.4 previously) respectively. Farmers started planting 2015/16 corn in September and harvesting is expected in March through June

- US Ethanol production for the week ended Feb 12 rose by 6,000 barrels to 975,000 barrels per day, it is up 1.1% from last year's level of 964,000 bpd. Meanwhile, stocks climbed by 262,000 barrels to a record high of 23.218 million barrels, up 10.1% vs. 21.084 million barrels a year ago

SOYBEAN

- Pakistani importers have purchased 60,000 MT of Brazilian soybeans for May shipment

- Across most of the major corn and soybean areas in Argentina, soil moisture is now quite favorable for crop development

- Buenos Aires Grain Exchange maintains its 2015/16 Argentine soy crop estimate at 58 MMT (60.8 MMT in 2014/15)

- Buenos Aires Grain Exchange forecasts 2015/16 Argentine sunflower crop at 2.3 MMT, down 8% from 2014/15 crop (2.5 MMT). Harvesting of Argentine sunseed crop was 27.1% completed as of Feb 18, ahead of last year's pace of 17.9%

- Argentina raised biodiesel export tax to 3.9% from 1.6% previously