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UPDATE 1-CME's new EU wheat futures trade in debut session

(Updates after close, adds trader comments)

PARIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - CME Group’s long-planned European Union wheat futures generated trade on their debut session on Monday, a first step towards building liquidity in a market dominated by Euronext.

CME aims to expand in the EU, which is collectively the world’s biggest wheat production zone, by offering similar delivery and trading features to its Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures, the global benchmark for grain markets.

CME’s EU wheat futures <0#WZE:> showed a traded volume of 411 50-tonne lots by Monday’s close. Activity was concentrated in the December and March delivery positions, with a handful of trades also recorded in May, September and December 2017 positions.

Traders said the volume represented a promising start but cautioned that the futures would have to gain momentum over time, given the failure of a number of grain derivatives to take off, including CME’s Black Sea wheat and Euronext’s premium wheat contracts.

“It’s a very decent volume to start with, I was only expecting a dozen or so lots to trade,” one futures dealer said.

CME’s December futures closed at 157.25 euros a tonne, compared with an opening trade at 156.00 euros.

It showed a slight discount to Euronext’s December 2016 futures, which closed at 158.25 euros a tonne. The most active position on Euronext showed nearly 14,800 lots traded for the session, a relatively low daily level for the benchmark.

The price spread between the two exchanges reflected less strict wheat quality specifications for CME’s contract, but the price difference was small, reflecting a poor 2016 French crop, which has reduced higher-quality milling wheat supply, traders said.

CME is hoping to attract European market users with its delivery system based on inland silos and transferable storage certificates, in contrast to Euronext’s use of a small number of port silos. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Valerie Parent, editing by William Hardy)

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