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HAMBURG: European wheat futures edged higher on Monday as the market recovered from last week’s four-month low with attention turning to widely followed US government crop forecasts due this week.

March wheat on the Paris-based Euronext exchange was up 1.50 euros, or 0.5%, at 267.00 euros ($305.29) a tonne at 1655 GMT.

The contract had slipped on Thursday to a four-month low at 259.00 euros on concerns over a poor EU export outlook before rebounding with Chicago wheat.

The market rose ahead of world grain and oilseed supply and demand forecasts from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Wednesday, which are expected to cut forecasts for South American crops after bad weather.

“It’s pretty quiet, with the USDA report Wednesday and people watching to see what comes out of the meeting between Macron and Putin,” one futures trader said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the top Western leader to visit Moscow since Russia began massing troops on the border with Ukraine, told Vladimir Putin at the start of talks in the Kremlin on Monday that he aimed to avoid war and build trust.

The standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine has fuelled volatility on wheat markets, although trader fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have waned.

Gains on Euronext remained capped by concerns about lagging French and European exports, underscored by Friday’s news that China had agreed to allow imports of wheat and barley from all parts of Russia.

Falling wheat prices in rival exporter Russia were a disappointment for German traders.

“West EU wheat is likely to face an uphill struggle to win major international wheat tenders in the face of low prices from the Black Sea with no acute indications the Russia-Ukraine tension is likely to involve actual fighting in the immediate future,” one German trader said.

“Russia has also just reduced its wheat export tax which could help traders make new sales.”

Standard 12% protein wheat for February onwards delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at about 12 euros over Euronext March.

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