EU wheat at 5-month high on brisk exports

Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:48am EST

PARIS, Nov 21 (Reuters) - European wheat futures rose on Thursday to their
highest in more than five months as strong export demand continued to bolster
prices in western Europe.
    * Interest from Morocco, which is set to suspend import duties on wheat from
January, was bringing fresh demand for French wheat at a time when the origin is
already profiting from fading competition from Black Sea wheat, traders said.
    * A rise in wheat futures in Chicago, which held close to a one-week
high with support from larger-than-expected weekly U.S. exports, also lent
support to Paris prices. 
    * January milling wheat in Paris was up 0.50 euro or 0.2 percent at
206.00 euros ($280) a tonne at 1631 GMT. It earlier rose to 207.25 euros, a
highest price on the contract since June 5.
    * The front-month contract outperformed further-away delivery months,
fuelled by some short-covering, but it was still struggling to break clear of 
major resistance between 206 and 207 euros, dealers said.
    * Morocco, a top buyer of French wheat, is due to waive its import tariff on
soft wheat from Jan. 1 to April 30 in an attempt to boost supply.
 
    * "The Moroccans are looking to buy every day. They're setting up shipments
to arrive right from Jan. 1," a French trader said.
    * Weekly European Union export data on Thursday confirmed the bullish
context. The EU awarded 581,000 tonnes of soft wheat export licences, taking the
total so far in 2013/14 to 10.6 million tonnes and keeping the EU on course for
a record volume this season. 
    * The bright export outlook led the market to shrug off a setback for French
wheat this week in a latest tender by Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer.
    * Egyptian state buyer GASC turned down several offers of French wheat to
book instead 120,000 tonnes of Russian wheat on Tuesday, and the following day
warned that French prices were too expensive.  
    * Slow selling by farmers was also contributing to firm prices in France.
    * "The market isn't getting supplied on the near term, we're having to run
after the grain," the trader said.
    
    GERMANY
    * Healthy exports also encouraged premiums in Germany to follow the stronger
international trend, but doubts over new export demand fuelled a growing price
gap between buyers and sellers.
    * Standard new crop milling wheat for January delivery in Hamburg was
offered for sale at 4 euros over the Paris March contract, up 0.5 euro
but with buyers far away seeking 2.5 euros over or less.
    * "There is export optimism which is supporting selling prices but not
really signs of any new export sales," one German trader said. 
    * Traders cautioned that western European wheat still faced competition,
with Romanian wheat appearing to have clinched a new sale to Lebanon on Thursday
and U.S. wheat showing signs of improved export vigour.  
    
    
 * Prices as of 1631 GMT
                                                                 
  Product             Last    Change   Pct Move End 2012 Ytd Pct 
 
  Paris wheat           206.00    0.50   +0.24   250.25  -17.68
  Paris maize           176.75    2.75   +1.58   237.75  -25.66
  Paris rape            378.50    4.75   +1.27   456.25  -17.04
  CBOT wheat            648.25   -7.25   -1.11   778.00  -16.68
  CBOT corn             428.75   11.75   +2.82   698.25  -38.60
  CBOT soy             1282.50    8.75   +0.69  1418.75   -9.60
  WTI crude oil          95.13    1.28   +1.36    91.82    3.60
  Euro/dlr                1.35           +0.28     
 * CBOT futures prices are in cents per bushel, Paris futures in
 euros per tonne, WTI crude oil in dollars per barrel.
 
 
 ($1 = 0.7429 euros)

 (Reporting by Valerie Parent and Michael Hogan in Hamburg, writing by Gus
Trompiz; editing by David Evans)