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PARIS: French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union in January fell for the second month in a row as loadings for China dropped after a strong first half of the season, an initial estimate based on Refinitiv data showed.

Soft wheat exports by sea to destinations outside the EU and Britain came to 561,000 tonnes in January, the seventh month of the 2020/21 season. That was below the 797,000 tonnes recorded in December and the season’s high of 877,000 tonnes in November.

Last month’s volume also marked the lowest soft wheat shipments outside the EU for a January since 2016/17, the Refinitiv loading data showed.

Exports to China fell to 68,000 tonnes, or a single vessel, after three straight months of the country being the biggest destination for French soft wheat.

Algeria was the largest importer of French soft wheat outside the EU in January, accounting for 219,000 tonnes, confirming a recovery in demand after minimal volumes in October and September. Morocco was the second-largest destination, with 94,000 tonnes shipped.

Farm office FranceAgriMer last month raised its 2020/21 forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the EU for the fourth month in a row to 7.27 million tonnes.

However, it still expects exports to be well below last season’s record following a small French harvest.

French grain exports to China were focused in barley last month, with 370,000 tonnes, more than double the volume shipped in December.

January barley exports included 320,000 tonnes of feed barley - which all to China - and 109,000 tonnes of malting barley, the largest volume for a January on record, the Refinitiv data showed.

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