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PARIS: Strategie Grains has increased its monthly forecast of soft wheat exports from the European Union and Britain in 2020/21 by 1 million tonnes to 26.1 million, reflecting a shift in demand away from Russia, the French consultancy said on Thursday.

The increase to EU exports would keep soft wheat stocks at the end of 2020/21 at a low level, although Strategie Grains’ stocks forecast was little changed from last month at around 10 million tonnes as expected domestic demand was cut, it said in cereal report.

Plans by Russia to introduce export taxes from mid-February, as part of efforts to cool domestic prices, have created uncertainty about export supply and Strategie Grains said the country was expected to build up large wheat stocks by the end of the season.

Doubts over Russian supply had contributed to a rally in international prices to multi-year highs last month.

But with Russian prices now falling and large Russian stocks in prospect, international prices could fall back during spring if the outlook for global production next season remains favourable, Strategie Grains said.

The forecast for barley exports from the EU and Britain this season were also raised, by 400,000 tonnes to 7.5 million tonnes, as Chinese demand continued to support French shipments.