underlined its international competitiveness at a tender by Egyptian grain
authorities, boosting hopes of meeting an export forecast upgraded earlier in
the day by FranceAgriMer.
French crop bureau, on Wednesday lifted by 600,000 tonnes to an elevated 11.8m
tonnes its forecast for the country's wheat shipments outside the European
Union in 2013-14.
A figure at that
level would represent a 19.1% rise year on year, and beat even more
convincingly shipments of 8.52m tonnes outside the EU in 2011-12.
However, an upgrade
was supported by the strong volumes so far this season, estimated at 4.7m
tonnes to countries outside the EU, and the potential for logistical hiccups,
prompted by the scale of Canada's record harvest, hampering North American
February will be crucial months to reach this [11.8m-tonne] target," said
Olivia Le Lamer, the head of the grain unit at FranceAgriMer.
The comments came
hours before French wheat scooped 120,000 tonnes of a 300,000-tonne order by
Gasc, the grain agency for Egypt, the world's top wheat importing country.
The rest of the
order, which took Gasc's purchases this season nearly to 3m tonnes, was won by
relied on its cheaper shipping costs to Egypt than from France, by $12 a tonne
or so, to win the deal, for shipment January 10-20.
French supplies, offered as low as $294.67 a tonne, were broadly lower priced
than Romanian, for which the cheapest offer was for $295.96 a tonne.
Along with German
wheat, offered to Gasc at $304 a tonne, only three origins were represented at
FranceAgriMer estimates for French wheat 2013-14, change on last and (year on year)
Area: 4.978m hectares, -1,000 hectares, (+117,000 hectares)
Yield: 7.40 tonnes per hectare, -0.2 tonnes per ha, (+0.7 tonnes per ha)
Harvest: 33.516m tonnes, -32,000 tonnes, (+871,000 tonnes)
Domestic use: 14.725m tonnes, -225,000 tonnes, (-15,000 tonnes)
Grain exports inside EU: 7.03m tonnes, +90,000 tonnes, (-145,000 tonnes)
Exports outside EU: 11.8m tonnes, +600,000 tonnes, (+1.89m tonnes)
No offers were made
of Russian not Ukrainian supplies, nor of Canadian supplies, even after a
harvest upgraded last week to a record 37.5m tonnes, not of US wheat, which has
featured on previous Gasc bid lists this season.
It can be tricky
for North American wheat to beat rival Black Sea or European offers to win
Egyptian business, given the extra shipping costs across the Atlantic.
Wednesday, Rabobank highlighted the boost to US trade across the Pacific from
an enlarged Panama Canal, which would cut by 12% the cost of transporting grain
from the Corn Belt – a major grower of soft red winter wheat – to Asia, via
Gulf of Mexico ports.
Canal expansion is great news for American competitiveness," Rabobank
analyst Will Sawyer said, adding that it could begin to reverse the decline in
Gulf ports' take of US grain shipments, which has fallen from nearly 80% to
some 60-65% over the last decade as the growth of Asian demand has increased
the use of Pacific North West facilities.