Wheat Forecasts Grow Bleaker for Europe’s Top Exporters

The outlook for wheat harvests in the European Union’s top shippers is growing slimmer, shrinking export prospects for the season that kicks off next month.

The soft-wheat crop in France, the bloc’s largest grains producer, is seen at 30.3 million tons this year, down by more than a fifth from last year’s near-record haul, the European Commission said Thursday. Romania’s harvest will run more than 10% below the five-year average, and Germany’s crop is also dropping from last year.

Europe’s wheat growers have faced a season of tumultuous weather, bookended by an overly wet autumn that hampered plantings and spring drought that cut yields. EU soft-wheat exports in the coming year may fall by more than a quarter, to 25 million tons, versus 2019, the commission said.

Wheat Forecasts Grow Bleaker for Europe’s Top Exporters

Still, a cooler, rainier May and June have helped to stabilize conditions, German farmers union DBV said in a report Thursday. French soft-wheat conditions held unchanged for a fourth week as of June 22, FranceAgriMer data show. Harvests have just begun across the bloc, with the bulk of the crop to be collected in July.

Rising crop forecasts in other key shippers like Russia have helped to keep wheat prices at bay, and bulging global corn and barley harvests could help to offset some of the shortfall. Paris milling-wheat futures are trading lower than a year ago, and it’s unclear how the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately impact trade.

“Activity on the international scene remains weak and exporters are eagerly awaiting calls for tenders, in a context of great uncertainty about the dynamics of demand,” Paris-based adviser Agritel said in a note.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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