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PARIS: French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union last month were the lowest for an April in nine years, as exports to Morocco and Algeria eased, Refinitiv data showed.

Soft wheat exports to destinations outside the EU-27 and Britain totalled 665,600 tonnes in April, the 10th month of the 2020/21 season, an initial estimate based on Refinitiv loading data showed.

That was the lowest April volume since 2011/12, the data showed.

Last month’s haul was also more than a quarter less than March’s 908,400 tonnes. The March figure was revised down from an initial estimate, but was still a season high.

Traders say export activity has waned due to dwindling supplies from a small 2020 French harvest, slackening demand from importers and a price rally that left French wheat uncompetitive overseas.

Morocco was again the leading destination in April, accounting for 238,900 tonnes, nearly a quarter less than the volume shipped there in March.

Egypt was the second largest non-EU destination with 126,000 tonnes, equal to the volume shipped in March. Algeria, usually the biggest annual outlet for French soft wheat, took just 75,500 tonnes in April after 240,900 in March. No wheat was shipped to China last month for the second month in a row, adding to a lull after Chinese demand drove French exports in the first half of the season.

French soft wheat exports are expected at a four-year low over the full July-June 2020/21 season.

Feed barley exports reached 168,900 tonnes in April, all destined for China.

There were no shipments of malting barley from French ports last month, the Refinitiv data showed. Grain shipments to all destinations from French ports - including maize, waxy maize and durum wheat - reached 1.1 million tonnes, also the lowest April volume in nine years. Most French grain exported inside the EU is transported via non-maritime routes.

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