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PARIS: European wheat prices ended the week slightly higher as concerns eased about an escalation of tensions in the Middle East, a big wheat importing region, and supported by a rise in US markets.

Benchmark May milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled 0.4% higher on Friday at 206.50 euros per metric ton, the highest closing price since March 25. The contract traded as high as 207.75 euros earlier in the day.

Explosions echoed over an Iranian city on Friday in what sources described as an Israeli attack, but Tehran indicated it had no plans for retaliation - a response that appeared gauged towards averting a region-wide war.

Grain futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade jumped in overnight trade before paring gains as Tehran played down the incident.

Traders had feared that expanding violence in the Middle East could impact shipments in the region and from Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter and an ally of Iran.

On the supply front, traders were on the lookout for any impact from recent weather on crops. Warm weather over the weekend benefited crops, but cold temperatures and a lack of sunshine in the past week halted crop development, they noted.

“With the hot and sunny weather, we had a feeling that summer was approaching, but it was short-lived. That’s what spring is all about, a chaotic path from winter to summer,” a French trader said.

Some 64% of French soft wheat was rated as in good or excellent condition by April 15, unchanged from the previous week but down from 93% a year earlier, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday.

The rating was the lowest for the time of year since 2020, when French wheat crops were also affected by heavy rain during planting, data published in a cereal report by FranceAgriMer showed.

Also in the news were reports that a vessel operated by Russian grain trader RIF loaded with wheat for Egypt’s GASC had obtained a phytosanitary certificate after staying idle an a port for more than a month.

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