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HAMBURG: Benchmark European wheat futures were little changed on Monday as a holiday in Chicago removed usual direction and traders awaited US crop estimates later this week.

December milling wheat, the most active contract on Paris-based Euronext, was down 0.75 euro, or 0.3%, at 243.75 euros ($289.2) a tonne at 1421 GMT in thin volumes.

Paris futures consolidated in the past week after retreating from an 8-1/2-year high in mid-August.

Markets are focusing on the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) to be published on Sept. 10 by the US Department of Agriculture, including closely watched projections of US corn and soy crops.

"People need a clearer direction, maybe this week's WASDE will do this," a futures dealer said.

Front-month Euronext September wheat was down 2.6% at 237.25 euros as participants adjusted positions before Friday's expiry.

In France, traders were continuing to assess wheat quality after a rain-damaged harvest that produced low readings for test weights, a key milling criteria.

After major importer Algeria reportedly eased its test weights requirements to facilitate offers of French wheat, traders were watching to see how large volumes of French wheat due to be shipped to China would be executed.

German exporters were seeking wheat with good test weights and were willing to pay more for quality.

"Exporters want wheat with test weights of 77, the standard required by Algeria and some other important importers," one German trader said.

Standard 12% protein wheat for September delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at around 9 euros over Paris December. But exporters were offering to pay 10 euros over for wheat with guaranteed 77 test weights.

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