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PARIS: European wheat prices fell more than 7% to a four-month low on Friday after Russia and Ukraine signed a long awaited deal with the United Nations to open Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, traders said.

Benchmark December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, unofficially closed down 6.1% at 314.75 euros ($321.77) tonne, after hitting 311.50 euros, a price unseen on the contract since late March.

The session also recorded by far the highest volume traded on the December 2022 contract so far at 60,893 lots.

By the same time the most traded wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was down 5% at $7.66 a bushel.

The accord signed on Friday in Istanbul crowned two months of talks brokered by the United Nations and Turkey aimed at what UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called a “package” that would both restore Ukrainian grain exports while easing Russian grain and fertilizer shipments despite tough Western sanctions on Moscow.

“Wheat prices had soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because on concerns that there would be no more exports. Now if some maritime routes open again, the situation is quite different and so is the price trend,” a French trader said.

However, traders were still awaiting to have a clearer picture of the deal and the volume of grain it would allow to pull out of Ukraine through the Black Sea.

“We still know hardly any details and this is frustrating. But I think markets are reacting to the very signing of the deal, which many people even this morning doubted would take place,” a German trader said.

News that China had made hefty purchases of Australian and French wheat this week came as little relief.

The grain harvest was progressing well in Europe.

In France, FranceAgriMer said 84% of the soft wheat had been harvested by Monday, running two weeks ahead of last year, while maize crop conditions deteriorated as the country experienced a hot spell.

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