PARIS: Euronext wheat rose on Thursday, led by a jump in front-month futures as their expiry approached and latest tenders underscored export demand that is tightening European supplies. Front-month March milling wheat on Euronext settled up 8.50 euros, or 3.7%, at 237.50 euros ($286.88) a tonne.
In late deals, it reached a one-month high of 238.00 euros as it neared last month's peak of 240.25 euros that had marked a 7-1/2 year high for a front-month price. May futures settled up 1.9%, while new-crop positions saw more modest gains.
After being supported earlier this week by concern over cold weather damage to US wheat, the focus on Euronext shifted back towards supply tensions in Europe. Some market participants were covering positions after the closing of options against March futures and ahead of the futures' expiry next month, traders said.
"There is a bit of a squeeze on short positions," one futures dealer said. "Export loadings in Europe are also looking big for March."
Tenders issued by Pakistan and Tunisia also highlighted continued demand for a shrinking European Union surplus at a time when export taxes planned by Moscow have cast doubt over Russian shipments.
"German wheat was used to supply some Pakistani purchases late last year so there will be optimism of new sales," a German trader said.
"Asian wheat buyers were also more active today as the Lunar new year holiday period comes to an end."
Physical premiums in Hamburg also saw technical adjustments. Nearby delivery moved from February to March and was now calculated against the Paris May contract, which was trading about 10 euros below the previously-used Paris March contract.
Standard bread wheat with 12% protein for March delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at around 11 euros over Paris May, with buyers seeking about 9 euros over. An official estimate of US wheat acreage below average analyst expectations and a reduced forecast of this year's Russian harvest by consultancy Sovecon also supported wheat prices, traders added.