European Union wheat prices were mostly lower on Thursday as Egypt overlooked French supplies at a tender and weekly data showed a slowdown in the pace of exports. Egypt choose Black Sea origins in a 240,000 tonne purchase on Thursday. The fact that French wheat was no longer the cheapest on a free-on-board basis, before adding higher freight costs, showed the struggle facing France in Egypt’s tenders this season, traders said.
“We’re really in trouble in Egypt. We never looked like winning this time,” one French trader said of the Egyptian tender. December milling wheat in Paris settled unchanged on the day at 177.50 euros a tonne, while March settled 1.00 euro or 0.5 percent lower at 184.25 euros. Front-month prices held up better than deferred positions as some traders booked profits on the large spread that has developed in recent weeks.
Volumes were light with many operators away from their desks to attend the annual European Commodities Exchange, an industry event taking place in Barcelona. Weekly EU data showed 416,000 tonnes of soft wheat export licences, a volume well down on last week’s 602,000 tonnes and kept the total so far in 2015/16 more than 2 million tonnes below the year-earlier level.
Analyst firm Strategie Grains raised its estimate of the European Union soft wheat harvest to a record 149.5 million tonnes, while trimming its export forecast and increasing projected stocks. Britain’s farm ministry said, however, its estimate of the UK wheat crop issued last week should be “treated with caution as further quality assurance checks are currently being carried out.” November feed wheat in London ended 1.00 pound or 0.9 percent lower at 115.00 pounds a tonne.