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PARIS: European wheat prices ended nearly flat on Tuesday after falling earlier in the session and being slightly firm in late trade, following a trend in Chicago, supported by tight global supplies.

Most traded December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, closed 0.1% lower to 246.25 euros a tonne.

"It has been hesitant all day, mainly following ups and downs in Chicago," a trader said.

"Uncertainty about the final harvest in Europe and in France in particularly is supporting prices but a lot of the concern has already been priced in."

Consultancy Agritel estimated on Tuesday that the French soft wheat harvest this year would be below the average of the past 10 years at 34.93 million tonnes, due mainly to heavy rain this summer which also hurt the quality of the grain.

That was well below the 36.69 million tonnes forecast by the French farm ministry early this month.

In Sweden, traders said the quality problems with the French harvest had generated more export interest in Swedish wheat.

"The weaker quality in France has increased Swedish premiums for wheat meeting the specifications of the Algerian purchasing agency OAIC big ports in the Baltic Sea," one Swedish trader said.

Export prices for Swedish wheat are at premiums of around 5 euros a tonne over the Euronext December contract for handy size bulk carriers for September loading.

"Wheat harvesting in Sweden is around 50%-60% complete," the trader added. "So far quality has been good but heavy rain over the country during the past week has increased worries about the remaining part of the harvest."

"We see slightly lower test weights compared to last year but no problem to fulfill milling specifications of 77/78, average protein levels coming in around 12.5 %."

Test weights are an important quality criteria for milling wheat.

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