PARIS: Euronext wheat ended flat to slightly lower on Thursday, curbed by weakness in Chicago grain futures, while traders assessed the potential impact of Russia’s plans to introduce an ongoing export tax.
March milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled unchanged on the day at 224.75 euros ($268.87) a tonne.
The front-month contract was consolidating after touching a three-week low of 221.25 euros on Wednesday.
Prices of further-away delivery positions fell by up to 1 euro.
Euronext was curbed by weakness in Chicago wheat, but a further fall in the euro against the dollar lent some support.
Grain markets remained underpinned by tightening global supplies.
But gains have been more limited after multi-year highs, as traders await further direction from monthly US government crop forecasts next week and investment funds trim long positions.
“Commercial traders are still bullish while investor money could be tempted to derisk a bit,” a futures dealer said. European traders were also studying Russia’s announcement that a formula-based tax on wheat exports will take effect in June, a month earlier than previously envisaged.
The scheme, which represents an ongoing tax in addition to temporary export levies to take effect from Feb. 15, will rely on a price indicator to be developed by the Moscow Exchange.
While the details of the tax, aimed at cooling domestic food prices, were unclear, it could restrain Russian exports and shift more demand towards the European Union.
“With Russia getting out of the export sector, the EU will have to meet more demand up to the new harvest this summer,” one German trader said.
“The large wheat export shipments seen in Germany in January are now expected to continue in February, March and April.”
Standard milling wheat with 12% protein for February delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at around 6 euros over Paris March, up from 5.5 euros over on Wednesday.
Export premiums in France were also firm, particularly for April-June delivery, as a wide spread between March and May futures also weighed.