highlighted the rising prospects for European wheat exports, which are helping
keep US merchants on hold, by putting a rise of 17.4% on the cards in French
shipments to importers beyond the EU.
farm office raised by 500,000 tonnes to 10.0m tonnes its estimate for exports
from France, the European Union's top wheat producer and shipper, to countries
outside the bloc.
The upgrade implies
a year-on-year rise of nearly 1.5m tonnes in non-EU exports of wheat from
France, the region's top producer and exporter of the grain.
And it comes at a
sensitive time for the world wheat trade, with the disappointing level of
exports from the US, which has been expected to pick up import orders as
European and former Soviet Union supplies wane, behind a fall in Chicago prices
to five-month lows.
Indeed, the Agrimer
data come the day after the US Department of Agriculture cut its forecast for
US wheat exports in 2012-13 by 50m bushels (1.4m tonnes) to 1.05bn bushels
The downgrade, in
the much-watched monthly Wasde crop report, cited "the slow pace of US
sales and shipments to date and higher expected competition from foreign
America's doorstep, has been revealed as turning, unusually, to Germany for
Indeed, the Wasde
also raised estimates for European Union wheat exports by 500,000 tonnes,
besides those from Australia and Canada.
The cut to US
export hopes, reflected in a higher estimate for US wheat inventories at the
close of 2012-13, was blamed for a fall of more than 3% in Chicago wheat
futures on Tuesday.
Chicago's March lot
fell further to a five-month low of $8.09 a bushel, before regaining some
ground to stand at $8.12 ¼ a
bushel at 13:00 local time (19:00 UK time) a decline of 1.1% on the day.
Less for EU neighbours
contrasts with that of Paris milling wheat, which closed down 0.2% at E262.00 a
tonne on Thursday, after losing a relatively modest 1.8% in the last session.
competition for French supplies was highlighted by an Agrimer downgrade of
480,000 tonnes, to 7.7m tonnes, in the estimate of shipments to other EU states
– despite a need for imports by countries including the neighbouring UK.
The UK, usually a
wheat exporter, is widely expected to import more than 2m tonnes of the grain
in 2012-13, following the worst harvest in a generation at a time when demand
is being spurred by increased bioethanol manufacture.
Agrimer kept at
just under 2.0m tonnes its forecast for French wheat stocks at the close of
2012-13, representing a stocks-to-use ratio of a thin 5.9%, down from 7.0% last
season and 8.4% at the end of 2010-11.
Purchases from Argentina?
The cut in supplies of French wheat for export elsewhere in the
EU also reflected a feed dynamic, with the bloc expected to import hefty
amounts of corn in 2012-13, and with, In Argentina, rains during the ongoing harvest expected
to increase amounts of wheat downgraded to feed.
"Argentina will have more feed wheat than expected and that
is going to be reflected in higher imports into the EU as part of the
reduced-tariff quotas," Xavier Rousselin, the head of FranceAgriMer's crop
The comments come amid continued speculation that Argentina
has lowered to 4.5m tonnes, from 6m tonnes, its wheat export quota because of disappointing