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French wheat quiet as market awaits tax decision
PARIS ,French wheat prices were stable to slightly higher on Monday as buyers came back after Friday's pause, but trade was light ahead of an EU decision later this week on whether to put a tax on grain exports, traders said.
On the cash market, wheat delivered to Rouen between August and December was stable at around 126 euros a tonne but prices gained 0.50 euro a tonne by train to Italy and Fob Creil - traditionally for clients in northern Europe.
"The problem remains the same: find grain to supply low-covered consumers," a trader said, stressing that the volume of wheat sold by French co-operatives after only two months this season was already very high.
Euronext milling wheat futures were mixed by 1510 GMT with November up 0.25 euro at 129.25 euros per tonne and January up 0.75 euro at 130.75 euros per tonne but in very light volumes of 55 and 23 lots respectively.
March was down 0.25 euro at 131.25 euros per tonne in a volume of six lots.
"Speculation remains high on whether Brussels is going to put a tax on exports or not. We hope to have an answer this week," a trader said.
The EU grain management panel, which did not meet last week due to holidays, will resume meetings on Thursday.
But if uncertainty prevails about a tax, limiting volumes traded, traders stressed that they do not expect prices to stop rising if such a measure was approved.
"Tunisia bought French wheat at prices which included a 10-euro tax," a trader said. "Plus, we have a drop of some ten million tonnes in the French wheat and maize crops," he added.
Last week, Tunisia bought 175,000 tonnes of wheat, of which 125,000 tonnes was bought in France at between 173.87 and 185.57 euros per tonne C&F.
The feed wheat market was very quiet with prices stable at around 117 euros per tonne delivered in Rouen in August/September.
Maize was untraded both on the futures and cash markets.
"People want to see what Brussels is going to do and the uncertainty is blocking the market," a trader said.
WHEAT EXPORTS UP: French wheat exports were 1.6 million tonnes in June, taking total sales to EU and non-EU countries for the 2002/03 season to 15.7 million tonnes, up 41 percent on the previous campaign, customs data showed on Monday.
Within the annual July-June total, sales to other European Union countries slipped back four percent on the 2001/02 figure to 6.96 million tonnes. But exports outside the bloc more than doubled to 8.8 million tonnes against 3.4 million previously.
Egypt took the lion's share of the French wheat exports with 2.6 million tonnes - up 263 percent on 2002/02 - followed by Algeria with 1.9 million tonnes and Morocco with 0.8 million.
Barley exports totalled 496,000 tonnes in June, taking the season's total to five million, up 16 percent on 2001/02.
Within the total, three million tonnes were sold to other EU countries, down five percent on 2001/02, and two million tonnes exported outside the bloc, up 73 percent on the previous season.
French maize exports reached 638,000 tonnes in June, making the season total 7.8 million, down from 7.9 million. Spain was the top destination, taking 2.18 million tonnes.
MGR Archive 26.8.2003
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