UPDATE 1-EU wheat dips to new 6-month low as Chicago weakens

Mon Jan 7, 2013 12:40pm EST

(Updates prices)
    PARIS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - European wheat futures declined on Monday, scoring
a new six-month low, following weak U.S. markets and a rise of the euro against
the dollar at a time when European wheat had already been less competitive on
world markets.
    * Benchmark March milling wheat on the Paris futures market was 0.3
percent lower at 242.75 euros ($320) a tonne by 1653 GMT after earlier hitting
242.50 euros, a level last seen for the contract on July 5. 
    * New crop contracts were also lower, with benchmark November down
0.6 percent at 218.50 euros a tonne.
    * "People are confused. Few of them had bet on such a wild drop in prices.
The question now is whether funds will continue to pull out (of grains markets)
to the benefit of stock markets," a Euronext trader said.
    * Market operators were seeking direction from a U.S. government report due
on Friday, which will include the USDA's final crop production report for the
2012 U.S. soybean and corn harvest. Initial analysts' estimates show a slight
increase in output. 
    * Traders will also look for USDA estimates for corn stocks as of Dec. 1.
    * "Trading is likely to be restrained this week ahead of the USDA world
supply and demand report on Friday," a German trader said. "The change in
release time means this report will be published at the end of the European
business day, so many people will not want to have uncovered risk on the table."
 
    * Volumes were higher than in recent days as operators returned after a
two-week break on the French cash market.
    * The euro rose against the dollar on Monday as investors took
positions ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the week. The U.S.
currency also retreated from a 2-1/2 year high against the yen as investors bet
the recent move was too far, too fast. 
    * Reuters provisional data confirmed a heavy pace of French grain exports
last month, with 1 million tonnes of soft wheat shipped out of French ports, up
from 750,000 tonnes in December 2011. 
    * French exports for the season remained below their level a year ago,
however, which could prompt farm office FranceAgriMer to cut its export forecast
in its monthly estimates due on Wednesday below the 10 million tonnes seen in
December, traders said.
    * The European Commission was due to publish the volume of weekly export
licences granted in the last week of 2012, but the release may be delayed for
technical reasons, an official said.
    
    GERMANY 
    * German wheat was quoted at large premiums over Paris partly because of the
good export outlook, with a ship loading German wheat for Iran providing the
latest example.
    * Standard milling wheat for January delivery in Hamburg was offered for
sale down 1 euro but well over Paris at 260 euros a tonne, with buyers at around
258 euros, as prices adjusted to the late fall in Paris on Friday.
    * "The export outlook is positive for west Europe with Russia and Ukraine
leaving the mainstream wheat export markets after their poor crops," one German
trader said.
    * "A 76,000 tonne deadweight bulk carrier is currently loading wheat in
Rostock for Iran, providing the latest indication of robust German exports," the
trader added. Deadweight is a ship's loading capacity.
    * There was also market talk that some EU consumers could be considering
importing U.S. wheat. The EU has a quota for duty-free U.S. wheat imports, which
otherwise are blocked from coming to Europe by heavy customs duties.
    * Repeated demand and tight supplies again kept German feed wheat around the
same level or even above milling prices. 
    * Feed wheat for January-March delivery in the South Oldenburg market near
the Netherlands was offered for sale down 1 euro but above milling wheat at 269
euros a tonne, with buyers at 266 euros.
    
    Prices at 1712 GMT   
            
  Product             Last    Change   Pct Move End 2011 Ytd Pct 
                                                                  
  Paris wheat           242.75   -0.75   -0.31   195.25   24.33
  Paris maize           236.75    1.00   +0.42   197.25   20.03
  Paris rape            450.25    3.00   +0.67   421.50    6.82
  CBOT wheat            748.00    0.75   +0.10   652.75   14.59
  CBOT corn             681.75    1.50   +0.22   646.60    5.44
  CBOT soy             1372.75    5.50   +0.40  1198.50   14.54
  WTI crude oil          92.95   -0.14   -0.15    98.83   -5.95
  Euro/dlr                1.31   -0.01   -0.98     1.30    1.08
 * CBOT futures prices are in cents per bushel, Paris futures in
 euros per tonne, WTI crude oil in dollars per barrel.
 ($1 = 0.7634 euros)

 (Reporting by Valerie Parent in Paris and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; writing by
Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Jane Baird)
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