EU wheat hovers near lows as traders weigh export prospects

Fawad Maqsood September 5, 2019

PARIS: Euronext wheat futures were little changed on Wednesday, consolidating close to 16-month lows as traders sought more clues on export prospects after a big European harvest that has dented prices.

A rebound in US wheat encouraged Euronext to steady, although a bounce in the euro against the dollar curbed gains in Paris, traders said.

Benchmark December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled up 0.25 euro, or 0.2pc, at 166.25 euros ($185.27) a tonne.

It earlier equalled Tuesday’s low of 165.75 euros, which was a life-of-contract low and the weakest level in over a year for a second-month contract.

“French wheat is going to have to be competitive and find export demand,” one futures dealer said.

“I’m not sure prices can rebound that much but if they are to rebound it will need exports to flow.”

Despite an export-friendly slide in the euro to under $1.10 in the past week, market sentiment in western Europe has been dented by hefty harvest supplies and competition from rival exporters such as Ukraine.

The market was seeking fresh indications on supply and demand, including crop forecasts next week from the US Department of Agriculture and a next tender by top French wheat buyer Algeria expected soon, traders said.

On Euronext, traders were also awaiting the expiry of September wheat on Sept. 10 to remove volatility linked to the liquidating of positions on the front-month futures.

Weekly data released by Euronext showed financial investors increased their net short position in the milling wheat futures and options in the week to Aug. 30.

In Germany, cash premiums in Hamburg were little changed, with heavy competition in export markets also continuing to weigh on market sentiment.

“The main near-term hope is that if Euronext and the euro continue their weakness more export business could be switched to the west EU,” a German trader said.

“But currently importers are generally on the sidelines as international markets remain on an overall downward trend. It is a safe bet to delay purchasing as buying tomorrow could save a lot of money.”

Standard bread wheat with 12pc protein for September onwards delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale unchanged at 0.5 euro under Paris December. Buyers were seeking at least 1.5 euros under Paris.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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