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HAMBURG: European wheat futures fell on Monday on selling pressure after reaching a one-week high on Friday as dealers weighed up whether the safe shipping agreement for Ukraine’s grain exports will be extended.

Public holidays in France and Britain meant many market participants were absent. A fall in Chicago wheat futures on Monday after earlier rises also burdened.

Most active September milling wheat on the Paris-based Euronext unofficially closed down 1.0% or 2.50 euros at 241.50 euros ($266.23). On Friday the contract hit 244.75 euros, the highest since April 26, on concern about the future of the Ukrainian safe shipping deal which expires on May 18.

“I think there is some selling pressure in Euronext wheat today weakening the market during the French public holiday after last Friday’s highs,” said Matt Ammermann, StoneX commodity risk manager. “Overall, the market fundamentals remain tense, with worry about the renewal of the Ukrainian shipping agreement.” “US wheat futures have also turned down in early Monday trade.”

Russia has effectively stopped the Black Sea grain deal by refusing to register incoming vessels, Ukraine’s reconstruction ministry said on Monday.

Moscow has threatened to quit the agreement intended to help ease a global food crisis and said on Saturday it was unhappy about progress in the talks.

“I think some funds are reducing risk by selling Euronext instead of reducing their short positions in US wheat futures,” another trader added.

Some traders were focusing on cheap prices for Russian wheat offered internationally.

“Russian wheat was bought by Egypt last week below Russia’s semi-official lower export price limit of $275 a tonne fob,” a German trader said. “There is increasing market belief that Russia’s minimum price is flexible and can be moved down.”

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