French wheat shipments outside EU rose in February

Reuters – French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union increased in February as loadings to Algeria and Morocco rose again, offsetting a lull in exports to China, an initial estimate based on Refinitiv data showed.

Soft wheat exports by sea to destinations outside the EU and Britain came to 821,000 tonnes in February, the eighth month of the 2020-21 season.

That was up sharply from 561,000 tonnes in January and also slightly above the December volume, although below a season’s high of 877,000 tonnes in November.

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Algeria remained the largest importer of French soft wheat outside the EU in February, accounting for 309,000 tonnes, the biggest monthly volume shipped to the country so far this season.

Morocco was the second-largest non-EU market for French soft wheat with 138,000 tonnes shipped, also marking a season’s high for the destination.

Soft wheat exports to China remained around 68,000 tonnes, or a single vessel, in line with January and continuing a lull in activity after China was the biggest destination for French soft wheat in October-December.

Cumulative French soft wheat shipments outside the EU and Britain over July-February were at about five million tonnes, the loading data showed.

That compared with farm office FranceAgriMer’s full-season forecast of 7.45 million tonnes, a four-year low reflecting a small French harvest last summer.

French barley exports to China fell back to 170,000 tonnes, less than half the season’s high seen in January.

February barley exports outside the EU included 152,000 tonnes of feed barley — all to China — and 61,000 tonnes of malting barley, representing the largest malting barley loadings for a February since 2014-15, the Refinitiv data showed.

Total grain shipments by sea to all destinations from French ports — also including maize, waxy maize and durum wheat — reached 1.14 million tonnes in February, in line with January.

The Refinitiv data, based on shipping data from various sources, can be revised subsequently and can also differ from later customs figures due to when ships are counted as leaving France.

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