EU wheat prices ease slightly, harvest progressing well

A French farmer harvests wheat in Paillencourt, northern France, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
A French farmer harvests wheat in Paillencourt, northern France, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Nigel Hunt

European wheat futures were marginally lower on Monday as the harvest generally progressed well in key producers France and Germany, though rain showers slowed activity in some areas.

Benchmark December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext was down 0.1% at 180.25 euros ($200.76) a tonne at 1630 GMT.

Traders said showers caused some disruption in France over the weekend and were now moving to Germany.

“A mixture of showers and sunshine is forecast for the rest of this week, so we could see more of a stop-start to harvesting work in some regions. It depends on how heavy the rain actually turns out to be,” one German trader said.

“There has been very good harvest progress in south, central and east Germany in the past week, but I think only about 20% has been gathered in the north, so a lot has still to be done. The north is also forecast to receive more showers this week.”

Northern Germany is the country’s main production region for wheat exports.

Investors are already looking ahead to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report on Aug. 12, which is expected to include updated planting estimates, for a clearer indication of harvest prospects in the United States.

“Everyone is waiting for the Aug. 12 report. We know there will be a lot of wheat; what will make the difference is corn,” a European trader said.

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UK wheat futures were higher, boosted by the weakness of sterling, with November up 1.1 percent at 148.25 pounds a tonne.

Sterling slid more than 1% to a 28-month low on Monday as more investors scrambled to factor in the growing risk of a no-deal Brexit and the chance that new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will call an early election.

In Germany, standard bread wheat with 12% protein for delivery in Hamburg from September onwards was offered for sale unchanged at 4 euros below Paris December. Buyers were seeking at least 5 euros below.

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