EU wheat eases as harvest seen withstanding heatwave

Euronext wheat fell on Friday as the U.S. market saw hesitant trading after a holiday break while decent harvest prospects across Europe despite recent hot spells weighed on sentiment.

Front-month September milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext was down 1.25 euros, or 0.7%, at 178.25 euros ($199.89) a tonne by 1540 GMT.

Volumes were light, with Chicago grain futures, the global benchmark, only reopening for U.S. daytime trading after closing on Thursday and early on Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

European prices have been capped by good potential for the European Union wheat harvest that is in its early stages, as well as uncertainty over export demand.

European Union farmers’ group Copa-Cogeca on Friday forecast EU common wheat production this year at 141.4 million tonnes, up 9% from last year.

In France, farming agency FranceAgriMer estimated that 75% of soft wheat was in good or excellent condition by July 1, down from 80% a week earlier, suggesting a negative impact from a record-breaking heatwave last week.

However, traders continued to anticipate decent yields due to good conditions before the heatwave.

In Ukraine, which like Russia competes with western European origins in export markets, wheat production could jump 17% to 28.8 million tonnes this year, supported by record yields, consultancy Agritel said on Friday.

Algeria, the main export outlet for French wheat, purchased around 360,000 tonnes of wheat in a tender on Thursday, traders said late on Thursday.

There was then talk on Friday that the purchase may have topped 400,000 tonnes.

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