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European wheat futures little changed

Reuters, 24.04.20

European wheat futures were little changed on Tuesday, taking a breather after rising sharply on Monday on signs Russia may temporarily stop wheat exports.

Weaker US wheat markets in Chicago, pushed down by the slump in crude oil prices, also provided headwinds for European prices.

Front-month May milling wheat on the Paris-based Euronext exchange was up 0.25 euro or 0.1% at 204.00 euros ($221.4) a tonne at 1603 GMT. The contract had touched 206.00 euros on Monday, a life-of-contract high and the highest spot price since January 2019.

“Yesterday's rise was quite sharp, people need to catch their breath," a trader said. “We can see the same happening in Chicago."

Russia's deputy agriculture minister Oksana Lut said on Friday the country could suspend exports until July 1 once its second-quarter export quota was exhausted, which is expected to happen in mid-May.

Dry weather across Europe and the Black Sea region also supported the wheat market in the past days.

Consultancy IKAR sharply cut its forecast for this year's Russian wheat harvest on Monday.

Weather forecasts showed no rain in the northern half of Europe in the coming week with precipitation levels well below average, according to the US National Centers of Environmental Predictions.

In Germany, the busy programme of ship loadings and hopes of more demand if Russia restricts its exports supported cash premiums in Hamburg.

Standard bread wheat with 12% protein for May delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at around 6.5 euros over the Paris May contract against 6 euros over on Monday. Buyers were offering around 5.5 euros over Paris. “The extensive programme of ships loading wheat exports continues in German ports and is expected to continue into the middle to end of May," one German trader said. “The concern now arising is that Germany's wheat surplus available for export is fast selling out after the high exports in recent months." “If Russia restricts grain exports in May as some expect, this would mean Germany could face higher demand from international markets with smaller supplies to offer."

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