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PARIS: Euronext wheat futures rose on Thursday to remain near a 7-1/2 year high, as the possibility leading supplier Russia will increase an export tax kept traders focused on tightening global supply.

March milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext was up 2.50 euros, or 1.1%, at 229.25 euros ($277.97) a tonne by 1541 GMT.

On Wednesday the contract had climbed as much as 3.7% to 232.75 euros, a front-month level not seen since May 2013, as speculation over what export levy Russia might apply roiled the market.

A weaker euro also lent support to Euronext, although chart resistance at 230 euros and some farmer selling following this week’s highs curbed momentum while the market awaited the outcome of Russia’s export tax discussions, traders said.

Russia’s agriculture ministry said in a statement on Wednesday it had proposed an increase in the wheat export tax to 45 euros ($55) per tonne starting from March 15.

The country’s economy ministry had said on Tuesday the government would consider changes to the tax by the end of this week.

An existing Russian plan to introduce a 25 euro per tonne wheat export levy from mid-February, in an effort to cool domestic prices, has already pushed up Russian export prices and led forecasters to reduce estimates for the country’s exports.

“The possibility that Russia’s export tax could be increased at the end of the week has lit the powder keg,” consultancy Strategie Grains said in a report.

In Germany, standard milling wheat with 12% protein for January delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at around 3 euros over Paris March, down from 3.5 euros over on Wednesday.

“Germany could win business but we have already sold a lot, importers are anyway not rushing to buy wheat this week because of the rise in prices,” a German trader said.

“Following the unwillingness of Russian exporters to offer in the Egyptian tender this week, the trade will be closely watching the level of Russian participation in upcoming tenders, especially Turkey.”

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