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Paris Wheat Gains on Crop-Damage Worry as Conditions Deteriorate

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Milling wheat futures rose for a fourth day in Paris amid concern excessive rain will damage plants in France and the U.K., after French crop conditions last week deteriorated from December.

The share of France’s soft wheat rated good or excellent fell to 66 percent as of Feb. 11 from 74 percent as of Dec. 3, crop office FranceAgriMer wrote last week in its first crop-progress report this year. The country is the European Union’s biggest wheat grower.

“The worries persist in many regions, as a result of the late sprouting in autumn and the excessive rain of these last weeks,” Paris-based farm adviser Agritel wrote today in a market report. “It already seems likely that the national yields won’t be at the top of the range of recent years, already not very high.”

Milling wheat for March delivery rose as much as 0.5 percent to 245.50 euros ($327.74) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in the French capital and was at 245.25 euros by 5:21 p.m. The contract has slipped 1.4 percent this year. U.S. trading is closed today for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Wheat sowing in the U.K., the EU’s third-biggest grower, will probably be lower than a November estimate of 1.76 million hectares (4.35 million acres) because wet weather kept farmers from planting, Jack Watts, a senior analyst at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, said last week.

Rapeseed for May delivery was unchanged at 467.25 euros a ton in Paris, while corn for delivery in March added 0.1 percent to 225.25 euros.

“French and U.K. rapeseed production prospects are questionable, keeping new crop prices steady,” Dave Norris, an independent grain broker in Harrogate, England, wrote in a market comment today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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