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European Union wants wheat exports supervised, not reduced
PARIS ,The European Union's decision to change the way wheat export licences are granted through the daily channel is aimed at improving control on exports, not reducing the amount of wheat exported, EU officials said on Friday.
The European Union's grain management committee on Thursday decided to set a "nil value" on licences granted under its daily export scheme, starting Friday.
"The point of this decision is to have traders bid through the weekly tender and not hide their bids through the daily channel," an EU official said.
Traders had seen the measure as a way for the Commission to put a brake on exports in the coming weeks, a view that the officials denied.
"If Brussels had wanted to slow down exports, it had many other ways to do so, such as suspending the weekly tender," an official said. "Plus, it would not have granted as much as 565,000 tonnes yesterday".
Separately the EU granted licences for 768,000 tonnes of wheat through the daily system in the week up to Thursday.
Traders can obtain export licences both at the weekly tender on Thursday - where the Commission and member states decide on a volume and a refund - or through daily submissions where refunds are fixed.
When they carry a "nil value", daily licences have a shorter validity, only contain a blank entry - widely known as a dash - and will not be guaranteed in advance.
Officials said the validity period of these certificates was 60 days, instead of around five months for regular certificates.
By 1432 GMT Euronext Paris milling wheat futures were down between 0.75 and 1.00 euro, with November down 0.75 euro at 124.25 euros per tonne on volumes of 143 lots wheat futures commodities futures trade on Euronext milling wheat futures hit a 2003 record of 2,176 lots on Thursday when the EU granted a large amount of export certificates, Euronext said on Friday.
"It was the first time the volume topped the level of 2,000 lots this year," a Euronext spokeswoman told Reuters.
The only time this volume had been exceeded in the past was in June 2002 when 2,638 lots were sold in one day, she added.
The European Union's grain management committee on Thursday granted licences to export 565,000 tonnes of unsubsidised free-market wheat at its weekly tender.
That came in addition to some 768,000 tonnes of certificates given in the previous week through the daily channel.
The wheat futures closed between 0.50 and 1.50 euro higher after the news.
MGR Archive 28.7.2003
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