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Europe's heatwave takes, some, toll on French wheat crop


France’s soft wheat crop prospects sagged amid Europe’s record-breaking heatwave, official data showed, but the decline was not sufficient to ring alarm bells with investors.


FranceAgriMer, the French agriculture bureau, said that 75% of the domestic soft wheat crop – the European Union’s biggest – was in “good” or “excellent” condition as of Monday.


That represented a 5-point decline from the reading the week before, and was the weakest rating of the season, reflecting an intervening heatwave which took temperatures to record highs in some European countries, including France where an all-time top of 45.9 degrees Celsius (114.6 Fahrenheit) was recorded.


“The latest heatwave is having a visible impact on crop assessments in France,” said Commerzbank.


‘Outlook remains positive’

However, the bank also noted that the reading was up 2 points year on year, and “still well above the extremely poor crop assessments for the failed 2016 crop”, when the reading “dropped to a good 40% by the end of harvesting”.


Furthermore, the rating of this year’s durum harvest eased only 1 point week on week to 70% good or excellent.


“The outlook for the French wheat crop remains positive, in other words,” the bank said, although adding that ratings “must not fall noticeably further in the coming weeks” if harvest results are to match last year’s levels.


Paris wheat futures for December stood unchanged at E183.75 a tonne in late morning deals.


Spring crop ratings

In fact, spring barley suffered a lager deterioration in its crop rating, of 10 points to 76% “good” or “excellent”, a drop which left the figure in line with that last year.


For corn, the rating deteriorated by 3 points to 79%.


Paris corn futures for November nudged 0.1% higher to E174.50 a tonne.

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