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EU wheat eases but brisk exports limit losses

wheat LONDON: European wheat futures were lower on Friday, dragged down by a fall in US prices, but remained underpinned by brisk export activity at a time when rival exporting regions face weather-related supply problems.


January milling wheat on the Paris futures market was down 1.00 euros or 0.4 percent at 272.75 euros a tonne by 1229 GMT.


On Thursday, it touched a two-week peak of 277.00 euros, close to a contract high of 279.25 euros hit three weeks ago.


Lower-than-expected US wheat exports have triggered a pullback in Chicago prices.


"At the end of the week the market felt like falling after the gains this week," a Paris futures dealer said, noting the failure of US wheat to hit the $9 threshold.


"There were also the US exports that really were disappointing."


The European Union cleared 438,000 tonnes of wheat export licences this week, keeping the volume this season well above the year-earlier level.


In a tender this week, Algeria bought between 325,000 and 375,000 tonnes of optional-origin milling wheat for February shipment, traders said on Thursday, citing France as the likely supplier.


Prices in Britain were underpinned by difficult planting conditions with many fields saturated since the end of September.


"The area drilled up to the end of November is about 80 percent of the total winter crop area for harvest in 2012," crop consultants ADAS said in a report issued on Friday.


"Later drilled crops and those that were mauled into wet seed beds have struggled to establish. An estimated 7 percent of the drilled area may be unviable depending on the over winter conditions," the report added.


May feed wheat futures in London were off 1.25 pounds or 0.6 percent at 227.75 pounds a tonne.


Copyright Reuters, 2012


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