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PARIS: Euronext wheat and rapeseed futures fell sharply on Monday, pressured by forecasts for rain relief for North American crops and expected larger harvests in Europe. A US market closure because of a public holiday also amplified selling momentum in Europe, traders said. September milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled down 4.50 euros, or 2.2%, at 200.50 euros ($237.91) a tonne.

The front-month contract earlier fell to its lowest since mid-April at 199.50 euros as it tested the psychological 200 euro threshold. The more active December contract settled 3.75 euros down at 203 euros after touching a 10-day low at 202 euros.

Farming groups Copa and Cogeca forecast that soft wheat production in the European Union would rise 7% this year. A tender by Egypt, in which it booked 240,000 tonnes of Romanian and Russian supplies, underscored stiff export competition from the Black Sea region. In France, good wheat and barley yields are still expected but forecasts showing more showers next week added to concerns over quality.

Early reports from winter barley harvesting, which made some progress before weekend rain, suggested favourable yields but varying malting quality, traders said. In rapeseed, Euronext August futures settled down 14.75 euros, or 2.7%, at 521.75 euros a tonne, with forecasts of beneficial rain for Canadian canola encouraging Euronext to retreat from Friday's three-week high.

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