PARIS: Incomplete wheat export data from France, the European Union’s biggest supplier, for the last four months because of a technical glitch has angered traders as they try to track supply and demand in the face of lower stocks and record prices.
The technical problem at the country’s customs service that submits data for France to the European Commission, is becoming a major issue as the EU experiences a brisk start to the 2021/22 export season.
EU wheat prices hit record prices this week as potential rain damage to Australia’s harvest raised the prospect of more EU exports than expected. The Commission’s latest weekly update on Tuesday showed the 27-country EU had exported 10.27 million tonnes of common wheat, or soft wheat, since the start of the season on July 1.
However, the Commission’s EU total includes just over 822,000 tonnes of French exports compared with about 3.2 million tonnes in loading data compiled by Refinitiv. That suggests that EU soft wheat exports so far this season are about a quarter above the level indicated by the Commission.
The data hitch means the Commission has not published complete French data since July. France’s customs service is working on the fault, linked to a database change, and it should be resolved in the coming weeks, a French finance ministry official said.
The technical issue has also affected data for other grain crops, notably large French barley exports. Traders tracking EU grain flows say they are particularly exasperated by the lack of weekly information because French customs have managed to issue complete data in their monthly trade updates. The traders have also had their patience tested before.