PARIS: European wheat plunged on Friday as signs that the Black Sea grain export corridor may not be completely finished prompted traders to book profits made this week following Russia’s exit from the deal and strikes on Ukrainian ports.

Front-month September milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, closed 3.2% lower at 247.50 euros ($275.20) a tonne.

It still posted a weekly gain of 6.7%, the highest weekly rise since August last year.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said on Friday a new grain deal between Russia and Turkey might be possible if Moscow’s demands were met.

Traders stressed that there was no urgent need to replace lost supplies as exports through Ukraine’s safe shipping channel were anyway running at a very low level.

“Importing countries, especially Egypt, sometimes have financial problems and have little money to spare. They can wait for lower prices,” a trader said.

Russian attacks on Ukrainian grains infrastructure seemed not as serious as initially feared, traders said.

Two people were hurt in an earlier missile strike on an agricultural enterprise in the southern region of Odesa that destroyed 100 tons of peas and 20 tons of barley, regional governor Oleh Kiper said.

“Grains silos and port terminals are huge and would surely be a very easy target if you wanted to destroy them,” another trader said. “The facility hit today was small.”

“This is leading to hopes that we could see a renewal of the Ukraine grain shipping channel if the Russians get more concessions.”

Germany’s winter barley harvest is approaching its end in favourable mainly dry weather with the crop size larger than expected, the association of German farmers DBV said on Friday.

In France, the soft wheat harvest was 58% done and the winter barley one was virtually over, with crop ratings stable since last week.

On Thursday, the European wheat ended higher on Thursday after a volatile session with some traders making protective buying as concerns mounted about shipments in the Black Sea while others booked profit after a sharp rise in prices since the start of the week.

Front-month September milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, closed 1% higher at 256.25 euros a tonne after moving between 245.25 euros and 260.75 during the session.


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