EU wheat prices fall as harvest gathers pace

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Nigel Hunt

European wheat futures in Paris fell on Monday as harvesting gathered pace across the Northern Hemisphere, tracking a similar setback in Chicago.

December milling wheat, the most active contract on Paris-based Euronext, fell 2.00 euros, or 1.1%, to 179.50 euros ($201.26) a tonne by 1620 GMT.

“With (the) harvest underway in the U.S. and across Europe, (wheat) markets have been sliding, while awaiting yield and production data,” Britain’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said in a report on Monday.

Chicago wheat futures also slipped with the most active contract down 1.9% at $4.93 a bushel.

“Hot and dry weather is forecast for much of Germany up to Friday and this should enable wheat harvesting to really get going,” one German trader said.

“Conditions look good and hopes are we should be able to bring in the large harvest forecast without last-minute weather shocks.”

The European Union’s crop monitoring service, MARS, on Monday cut its forecast for the EU soft wheat yield this year to 6.04 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) from 6.10 t/ha last month.

That would still be 7.3% above last year’s level and 1.6% higher than the average of the past five years, MARS said in a monthly report.

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“Buyers are keeping their purchase offers low, waiting for the new crop, which will be around 8% higher than last year’s drought-damaged crop, so improving supplies,” one Polish trader said.

“But farmers are also unwilling to sell grains at current low prices, with some saying they will prefer to put the new harvest into storage and wait for higher markets.”

Polish mills were offering to pay an unchanged 650-690 zloty a tonne (153-162.4 euros) for new crop wheat for July/August delivery.

Exporters were offering to pay an unchanged 715 zloty a tonne for 12.5% protein wheat for August delivery to ports. Sellers sought 720 zloty.

“Exports from Poland remain very quiet,” the trader added. “I am only aware of one large vessel loading wheat in Poland, a ship in Szczecin which has been taking on 15,300 tonnes of wheat for a rare destination, Namibia.”

In Germany, premiums in Hamburg were little changed.

Standard bread wheat with 12% protein for September onwards delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale unchanged at 4 euros under Paris December. Buyers were seeking at least 5.0 euros under.


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