Paris wheat at two-week low as Egypt setback cools export hopes


PARIS, March 27 (Reuters) – Spot wheat futures on Euronext fell to a two-week low on Wednesday as a setback for French wheat in an Egyptian tender a day earlier dented export sentiment.

Benchmark May milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled 1.50 euros, or 0.8 percent, lower at 186.50 euros ($209.92) a tonne.

The contract had earlier slipped to 186 euros, its lowest since March 13, as it pulled further back from a one-month high of 191 euros hit in early trade on Tuesday.

A hesitant trend in Chicago, where wheat consolidated below a one-month low also struck on Tuesday, encouraged the subdued trend in Paris.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, booked 120,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat on Tuesday in a tender in which French wheat also lagged behind cheaper offers of Black Sea wheat.

The tender disappointment cooled demand hopes in France after brisk activity this month that has seen the European Union’s biggest exporter already ship a season’s best 1.5 million tonnes of soft wheat outside the bloc.

The mixed export picture made the premium for spot wheat futures over 2019 harvest positions less justified as the end of the July-June season starts to approach, traders said.

“The supply balance doesn’t warrant ending the season with a premium for old-crop prices,” one futures dealer said. “The question is whether the market should correct before the USDA report.”

Grain markets are turning their attention to Friday’s U.S. planting estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), widely followed projections that can cause price swings in futures.

Paris new-crop September wheat ended up 0.25 euro at 178.50 euros, consolidating below Tuesday’s one-month high of 180.25 euros.

New-crop prices have also found support from forecasts for dry, cool weather in the coming two weeks that has created concern about emerging weather risks for wheat plants, which have been in good condition so far in Europe.

Weekly data published by Euronext on Wednesday showed financial investors reduced their net short position in the exchange’s milling wheat futures and options in the week to March 22. ($1 = 0.8884 euros) (Reporting by Valerie Parent, writing by Gus Trompiz; editing by David Evans)


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