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PARIS: European wheat edged lower on Friday as traders digested a US government report the previous day and assessed delays in sowings in France due to heavy rainfall.

Benchmark December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, was down 0.1% by 1700 GMT to 233.00 euros ($248.54) a metric ton.

The US Department of Agriculture on Thursday raised its forecast of Russia’s wheat crop this year by 5 million tons to about 90 million tons and pegged global ending stocks above expectations.

“This brought the USDA more in line with market estimates of the Russian crop,” a German trader said.

“Overall, the raised estimate underlined that Russia has enough wheat to dominate world export markets in the first half of 2024. It looks like only Russian government restrictions or the war could slow Russian exports soon.”

Traders were assessing disruptions to Ukrainian shipping after a cargo was hit by a missile this week.

Following the attack prices for shipment of grains from Ukrainian ports in the shipping channel rose by $20 a ton before easing back to former levels on Friday.

Traders were also monitoring ongoing rainfall in France where grain sowings further slowed last week and are now running well behind last year.

Farmers had sown 67% of the expected soft wheat area for next year’s harvest by Nov. 6, up from 61% last week, farm office FranceAgriMer said in a report. That compared to sowing progress of 91% by the same stage in 2022 and a five-year average of 83%.

Nearly uninterrupted wet weather over the past weeks has brought grain sowing to a virtual standstill in many parts of France, which is likely to lead to a drop in yields, technical institute Arvalis said this week.

In northern France heavy rains have caused local rivers to overflow and flood houses and fields, prompting the evacuation of residents.

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