PARIS: Euronext wheat futures extended losses in late trade on Thursday, falling to their lowest in almost two weeks as the market shrugged off a smaller-than-expected estimate of US sowings to focus on a strong euro and good crop conditions.
May milling wheat on Euronext settled down 2.50 euros at 152.75 euros a tonne, after touching its lowest since March 18 at 152.25 euros in closing deals.
Closey watched US Department of Agriculture (USDA) planting projections put the all-wheat area below the range of analyst estimations, helping US futures reverse an earlier fall.
But the European market remained focused on favourable crop conditions in the region, where the wheat area is also expected to be relatively stable this year.
The European market was also dented by a rally in the euro, which hit a 5-1/2 month high against the dollar. The euro's strength tempered export hopes after signs of brisk demand for European Union wheat this month.
Official EU data showed the bloc awarded another big volume of soft wheat export licences this week, with 969,000 tonnes cleared following just over 1 million tonnes last week.
However, the total so far this season remained 13 percent below the year-ago level and traders say a favourable euro is important to help squeeze out more export sales to avoid high carryover stocks.
In Germany, cash premiums in Hamburg were raised prior to the USDA data to compensate for the heavy overnight fall in Paris, but only partly.
Standard wheat with 12 percent protein content for April delivery was offered for sale at 2 euros over the Paris May contract against 1 euro over on Wednesday.
Buyers were seeking 0.5 euros over Paris.
“Buyers were not willing to give full compensation for the big overnight fall in Paris in view of the large wheat inventories still seeking buyers, with around 25 percent of the old crop in parts of north Germany still unsold," one trader said.