French Wheat Exports Seen by Senalia Rising on Demand Next Month

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- French wheat exports that have slowed in recent weeks are likely to rebound next month as supplies diminish in Russia and Ukraine, said Laurent Martel, who heads the biggest grain storage group at France’s Port of Rouen.

Exports from Rouen, Europe’s biggest cereal-shipping hub, fell 32 percent in the week through Oct. 3, compared with a week earlier, the port said yesterday. Shipments have been “very slow” since the marketing season began on July 1 as buyers preferred cheaper grains from the Black Sea region, Martel said in an interview at the 52nd European Commodities Exchange in Edinburgh. Silos are full at Senalia, a cooperative union that loads 2 million to 4 million metric tons of grain annually, he said.

“Importers were jumping on the opportunity to have some wheat from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan before they ran out,” said Martel, Senalia’s director general. “Until the end of October it will be very slow from France, but then there’s going to be massive demand.”

Milling wheat prices have climbed 33 percent this year on NYSE Liffe in Paris on speculation that dry weather would spur Russia to restrict exports this season. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has purchased the grain from France in at least four tenders in the past month, after favoring Black Sea region supplies earlier in the season.

Senalia can load as much as 800,000 tons of grain a month, Martel said.

“We’re optimistic because we know demand would be there,” he said. “We would prefer it to be more spread out, because it could be very concentrated.”

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