Strategie Grains raised to 14% its forecast for the rise in European Union wheat exports outside the bloc in 2013-14, following a strong start to shipments, fuelled by a pick-up in volumes from France.
The influential analysis group raised by 300,000 tonnes to 22.2m tonnes its forecast for soft wheat EU shipments to importers outside the bloc.
While still below the US Department of Agriculture and International Grain Council forecasts of 23.0m tonnes, these groups include durum wheat in their data, of which shipments are typically over 1m tonnes.
The Strategie Grains revision takes the estimate for soft wheat exports from the EU, the second-ranked exporter after the US, even further above the 19.5m tonnes achieved in 2012-13, on its data.
And it came even as the Paris-based group trimmed its estimate for the EU harvest by 300,000 tonnes to 135.2m tonnes, reflecting a slightly smaller area figure, of 23.2m hectares, than previously factored in.
However, EU exports have started 2013-14, which began in July, at a strong pace, with officials clearing 6.91m tonnes of soft wheat for export as of last week, a rise of 81% year on year.
The data excluding a further 214,000 tonnes of wheat flour so far this season, and 159,000 tonnes of durum wheat.
Exports from France, the bloc's top soft wheat producer and shipper, picked up strongly last month, hitting 1.1m tonnes to destinations outside the EU, a large improvement on the July result of some 300,000 tonnes.
The slow start to the season reflected a late harvest, in turn a reflection of the brake on crop development caused by a cold spring.
North African demand
Official crop bureau FranceAgriMer on Wednesday raised by 200,000 tonnes to 11.2m tonnes its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the EU this season, a rise of 13% year on year.
And Strategie Grains highlighted in its upgrade strong demand for French wheat, particularly from Algeria, Morocco and Syria.
Algeria on Wednesday bought 500,000 tonnes of wheat at $290-291 a tonne, including freight, with the grain expected to come largely from France, with which the North African country has strong historic ties.
The extent of EU exports is seen in part down to a better harvest, up 8% on Strategie Grains estimates.
However, it also reflects the disappointing supplies of quality wheat available from the former Soviet Union, typically a strong price competitor, but whose harvest suffered from late rains which have also hampered autumn sowings, raising concerns over the 2014 harvest too.
More will be known later on international wheat market dynamics when Egypt's Gasc grain authority publishes results of its latest tender.