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PARIS: European wheat eased on Wednesday following falls in Chicago and ongoing speculation that planned export taxes could prompt farmer selling in Russia and increase competition with European origins, traders said.

Benchmark March milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, unofficially closed 0.55% lower at 224.75 euros a tonne.

“The success of French wheat in Egypt’s purchase tender on Tuesday showed demand is being pushed to the EU although Russian wheat is not out of the game totally,” a German trader said.

Russia may launch its own price benchmarks for calculation of formula-based export taxes for wheat, barley and corn, which officials are discussing, Interfax new agency reported on Wednesday, citing Eduard Zernin, the head of the Russian union of grain exporters.

Strategic wheat reserves in Egypt, one of the world’s largest importers of the grain, are sufficient to cover the country’s needs until July 31 following its latest tender on Tuesday in which it purchased 480,000 tonnes, mostly French wheat, the supply minister said.

In Germany, a busy programme of ships loading wheat for export provided support, with Russia’s wheat export taxes expected to transfer demand to western Europe.

“Demand for EU wheat is likely to remain strong in the coming months and I think the remaining old crop stocks will be sold before the harvest this summer. I estimate Germany, Poland and the Baltic States have only around 3 million tonnes of wheat together to sell before the new crop,” the German trader said.

“This could be run down pretty quickly if there are large purchases in tenders from the likes of Algeria and Saudi Arabia.”

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