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PARIS: European wheat futures rose on Friday to their highest in more than nine months on growing concern over potential crop losses from dry and cold spells in top wheat exporter Russia.

September wheat, the most active contract on Paris-based Euronext, settled 1.9% up at 249.50 euros ($268.86) a metric ton.

It earlier reached its highest since July 28 at 252.50 euros, with technical impetus from the opening of a chart gap, before paring gains in the face of chart resistance at 250 euros.

After Russian authorities said on Thursday that some grain belts hit by frosts this month will re-sow crops, reports of more frosts overnight added to worries about damage to Russian wheat.

Dryness in southern Russia is also continuing to unsettle wheat traders, with weather charts showing limited rain relief for the coming days in most of the zone.

“We are certainly still in a weather market regarding Russia,” one futures dealer said. “Investment funds are continuing to be active in wheat.”

Sovecon has reduced its forecast of Russia’s 2024 wheat crop by 3.4 million metric tons to 89.6 million tons, now below last year’s 92.8 million tons, the consultancy said on Friday.

In widely followed world crop forecasts released near the end of the Euronext session, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also projected Russian wheat production would be lower in 2024/25, though the country would remain by far the world’s biggest exporter.

Record Russian exports this season had helped to push international wheat prices to a 3-1/2 year low in March.

In France, the condition of the country’s main wheat crop improved slightly last week but was still at its weakest in four years, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed. Maize sowing was lagging well behind the average pace of recent years. Traders are waiting to see if a warm spell this week will boost field work after soggy conditions so far this year.

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