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PARIS: European wheat futures fell sharply on Tuesday as signs of progress in negotiations to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine tempered concerns about lasting disruption to exports through the Black Sea.

May milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled down 12.25 euros, or 3.3%, at 357.50 euros ($396.22) a tonne, after earlier touching its lowest since March 3 at 347.50 euros.

Chicago wheat fell as much as 8% in US trading to reach its daily variation limit before paring its losses.

Following face-to-face talks in Turkey, Russia said it had decided to drastically cut military activity around Kyiv and Chernihiv, while Ukraine’s negotiators said they had proposed that Ukraine adopt neutral status in exchange for security guarantees.

The proposals triggered selling in commodity markets and gains in equities as investors saw the possibility of a ceasefire to end the conflict.

The wheat market has been particularly volatile since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, given the two countries account for about 30% of world exports of the staple cereal.

Signs of continuing exports of Russian wheat as well as demand for Indian supplies have also eased immediate fears of a global supply shortfall.

However, traders remained cautious about availability of wheat for the coming months and were waiting for import tenders on Wednesday by Algeria and Tunisia for fresh indications on prices and supply.

The European Union will allocate 200 million euros ($220 million) to Maghreb countries to help counter grain shortages resulting from the crisis in Ukraine, the EU’s executive said on Tuesday.

The return of rain in drought-affected parts of the US Plains and showers forecast this week in France and elsewhere in Europe after a dry end to winter were also pressuring wheat prices, traders said.

Rapeseed futures, which have rallied to record highs partly due to stalled sunflower oil supplies from Ukraine, also fell sharply.

May rapeseed on Euronext settled down 3.5% at 937.75 euros a tonne.

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