PARIS: Euronext wheat futures climbed to a 7-1/2 year high on Monday as Russia’s plans to tax exports stoked uncertainty about available supplies.
News that Algeria, the biggest buyer of European Union wheat, will hold a new wheat import tender this week added further support.
March milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled up 4.75 euros, or 1.8%, at 235.75 euros ($284.62) a tonne.
It earlier reached 236.00 euros, the highest since May 2013, but faced chart resistance at that level.
Chicago wheat, the global benchmark, did not trade because of a US public holiday.
Russia said on Friday it would impose a wheat export tax of 50 euros a tonne from March 1 to June 30, increasing an initial 25 euro levy to apply from Feb. 15, in its latest push to cool domestic food prices.
Doubts over Russian exports have unnerved investors already grappling with tightening availability of corn and soybeans that has fuelled multi-year price highs for those crops.
“There are quite a lot of Russian exports for nearby shipment but at prices approaching $300 even before the tax,” a French trader said.
Speculation about possible wheat export restrictions by Argentina, also facing rising food inflation, further supported futures, traders said.
In Poland, exporter purchase offers for Polish 12.5% protein wheat for January delivery to ports rose 60 zloty on the week to around 1,025 zloty (226.1 euros) a tonne.
“If the world market has to replace about 2.0 million tonnes of Russian wheat exports per month as some estimate, the wheat will probably be delivered from the United States, Australia and the EU, although EU is already oversold,” one Polish trader said.
“That means new chances to export from Poland too, especially if Polish wheat can remain relatively cheap.”
In a busy programme at Polish ports, ships at Gdynia are loading 30,000 tonnes of wheat for Morocco and 56,000 tonnes for South Africa, while another is waiting to load 52,000 tonnes for Mozambique.
In Szczecin, a ship is loading 26,000 tonnes for Morocco.