January 2, 2019 / 6:08 PM / 21 days ago

EU wheat firms with Chicago in thin post-holiday trade

PARIS (Reuters) - European wheat futures rose on Wednesday, supported by higher prices in Chicago and a sharp fall in the euro, but low volumes after the New Year holiday subdued the market.

FILE PHOTO: Wheat is seen in a partially harvested field during a rain shower in Neugartheim, near Strasbourg, France, August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

March milling wheat on the Paris-based Euronext exchange settled up 0.75 euros, or 0.4 percent, at 204.00 euros ($231.52) a ton.

Euronext closed early on Monday ahead of the New Year holiday and trading was slow to resume, with many market participants not expected to return until next week.

Chicago wheat rebounded after slipping to its lowest in over a month on Monday. [GRA/]

Meanwhile, the euro dropped around 1 percent against the dollar after disappointing euro zone data, making grain priced in the currency cheaper overseas. [FRX/]

“The market retains a buying edge but there’s not enough participation today,” one futures dealer said. “The export question remains whether the U.S. will sell more and if there will be room too for more French sales.”

Euronext spot futures notched up their biggest annual gain since 2010 last year amid a steep drop in global wheat production and expectations that tightening supply in top exporter Russia would lead to more demand for U.S. and west European wheat.

However, prices were capped at the end of 2018 by still vigorous Russian shipments and the absence of export restrictions from the country’s authorities.

Russian wheat exports rose sharply to 1.2 million tonnes in the last week of December, but trade is expected to be thin during the Dec. 30-Jan. 8 New Year holiday, the SovEcon agricultural consultancy said.

In Germany, cash premiums in Hamburg were little changed as trading slowly resumed after the holidays.

Standard bread wheat with 12 percent protein for January delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale unchanged at 2.0 euro over Paris March.

Feed wheat in the South Oldenburg market for delivery from January onwards was offered above milling wheat, at around 219 euros a tonne, but with prices difficult to assess in thin trade.

Feed grain supplies have been tight after drought damaged last year’s German harvest, triggering higher than usual imports. However, a trader said more feed grain shipments were due to arrive in German ports this month, especially from the EU Black Sea region.

“A shipment of about 45,000 tonnes of Bulgarian feed wheat is set to arrive this week in Germany along with about 55,000 tonnes of maize from Romania,” the trader said.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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