European wheat firm on strong export demand

Fri Dec 7, 2012 8:02am EST

AMSTERDAM, Dec 7 (Reuters) - European wheat prices firmed on Friday,
supported by hefty export demand and a falling euro against the dollar, which
makes EU grains more competitive on world markets.
    * The European Commission on Thursday awarded its biggest volume of wheat
export licences in over two years at 712,000 tonnes. 
    * The total since the start of the 2012/13 season was now at 8.0 million
tonnes, against 6.6 million tonnes of licences cleared at the same stage in
2011/12, even though the EU harvested a smaller wheat crop this summer.
 
    * "There are more and more signs that the wheat supply in the Black Sea
region is gradually drying up, with the result that countries will increasingly
resort to importing wheat from the EU," Commerzbank said. 
    * "The robust demand for EU wheat is likely to keep the price of MATIF
(Paris futures) wheat high," it added.
    * By 1100 GMT front-month January on Paris-based milling wheat
futures <0#BL2:> was 0.3 percent higher at 268.50 euros, still far off its
contract high of 279.25 euros a tonne hit early last month.
    * The euro fell to a nine-day low against the dollar on Friday after the
Bundesbank slashed its growth outlook for Germany, with the single currency at
risk of more losses on prospects of a euro zone rate cut. 
    * Traders noted the thin volumes exchanged on European wheat futures, at
less than 750 lots, or 37,500 tonnes, as traders were seeking a clear trend.
    * Operators were also looking at crop development in France with rainy
weather hampering growth in some parts of the country, with a sharp drop in
temperatures expected next week.
 * Prices as of 1242 GMT
                                                                   
  Product             Last    Change   Pct Move End 2011 Ytd Pct 
 
  Paris wheat         268.50     0.75    +0.28   195.25    37.52
  Paris maize         253.00     1.00    +0.40   197.25    28.26
  Paris rape          476.75     2.25    +0.47   421.50    13.11
  CBOT wheat          844.50    -0.75    -0.09   671.25    25.81
  CBOT corn           744.00    -3.75    -0.50   654.75    13.63
  CBOT soybeans      1494.25     3.00    +0.20  1207.75    23.72
  Crude oil            85.88    -0.38    -0.44    98.83   -13.10
  Euro/dlr              1.29     0.08    +6.69     1.30    -0.24
 * All grain and oilseed prices for second position. Paris futures prices in
Euros per tonne, London wheat in pounds per tonne and CBOT in cents per bushel.

 (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Ivana Sekularac in Amsterdam;
Editing by Alison Birrane)