French soft wheat exports will recover from a poor start to
the new season to exceed last year's by some 1m tonnes, despite a harvest which fell
short of hopes, FranceAgriMer said.
The French farm bureau, in its first forecasts for the country's
full wheat balance sheet in 2012-13, pegged exports at 17.0m tonnes, up from
16.0m tonnes last season.
The estimate comes despite a drop of 39% to 765,000 tonnes
in France's wheat shipments in July, the first month of the season, led by a
62% slump in exports outside the European Union.
And it follows a day after FranceAgriMer cut by nearly
600,000 tonnes, to 36.1m tonnes, its forecast for the soft wheat harvest in the
European Union's top producer, and exporter, of the grain.
However, even so, the harvest represents an improvement of
more than 2m tonnes on last year's dryness-hit result.
And many commentators believe the weak July exports will not
prove representative of France's full-year performance.
A wet summer in many areas delayed crop development, besides
hampering harvest - although not to the same degree as further north in the UK –
causing a slower-than-expected rebuild in supplies for export.
Furthermore, in putting upward pressure on prices, it
rendered French wheat uncompetitive against Russian supplies merchants were
attempting rapidly to get shot of amid – unrealised – fears of Moscow implementing
export curbs following a drought-hit harvest.
Indeed, French wheat on Tuesday won its first victory since January at a tender by grain officials from Egypt, the top importer of the
The volume of Russian wheat offered dwindled to 60,000 tonnes
from more than 400,000 tonnes at the previous tender, last week, in what many
observers took as a sign of the country's exportable supplies running dry.
Nonetheless, at 17.0m tonnes, French soft wheat exports in
2012-13 are expected to remain well below the 19.7m tonnes two seasons ago,
when they were supported by a scramble for supplies after Russia imposed a full
ban on shipments.