UPDATE 1-European wheat down further, tracking U.S. wheat

Mon Mar 4, 2013 12:52pm EST

(Updates prices)
    PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - European wheat futures fell further in afternoon
trading on Monday following a steep drop on U.S. markets and a lack of new
fundamentals, traders said.
    * By 1705 GMT, May was down 1.67 percent or 4 euros at 235.75 euros a tonne,
slightly lower than its support level estimated at 236.00 euros.
    * U.S. wheat futures fell for the first time in five sessions on Monday as
melting snow eased concerns about persistent dryness in key growing areas of the
Great Plains. 
    * "We did a false exit of the downward trend. We are now back in this
bearish mode," said Alexis Poullain, an analyst for Agritel. "We struggle to
find new supportive factors with the 2013 crop appearing in good shape and
macroeconomic factors bearish," he added. 
    * FranceAgrimer said two thirds of winter wheat was good to excellent,
unchanged on the previous week and three percentage points below last year's
level, which is seen as positive. 
    * Warming temperatures in the drought-stricken U.S. Plains are melting piles
of snow that accumulated during two blizzards in late February, said Don Keeney,
meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.
    * Traders noted that the Saudi wheat purchase over the weekend, for 465,000
tonnes of hard wheat and 110,000 tonnes of soft wheat for delivery between
June-August, was a new sign of competitiveness on the U.S. markets.
 
    * Traders were also awaiting a U.S. government world supply and demand
report later in the week. 
    Feed wheat futures in London were lower with May off 1.75 pounds or
0.85 percent at 205.25 pounds a tonne.
    * "The fund short across U.S. wheat futures stands at a near recordand with
last week's (US) exports at just over half the expected volume, the bears remain
in charge of the market," UK merchant Frontier said in a market note on Monday.
    * Dealers said spring plantings were now underway with the earliest activity
centering on lighter soils in East Anglia.
    
 Prices at 1724 GMT: 
  Products              Last   Change    Pct move  End-2011            
  Paris wheat         248.25    -1.75    -0.70   195.25    27.14
  London wheat        204.00     0.50    +0.25   153.65    32.77
  Paris maize         218.75    -5.75    -2.56   197.25    10.90
  Paris rape          468.50     0.50    +0.11   421.50    11.15
  CBOT wheat          692.00   -21.25    -2.98   671.25     3.09
  CBOT corn          718.25    -6.00    -0.83   654.75     9.70
  CBOT soybeans      1472.75     8.25    +0.56  1207.75    21.94
  Crude oil           89.79    -0.89    -0.98    98.83    -9.15
 
 (Reporting by Valerie Parent in PARIS and Nigel Hunt in LONDON; Editing by
Alison Birrane)