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France February Soft-Wheat Exports Rose 89% Near 2-Year High

French soft-wheat exports, the European Union’s biggest, surged 89 percent in February from a year earlier as shipments to Algeria rose 16-fold and those to Morocco more than doubled, customs data showed.

France shipped 1.88 million metric tons of soft wheat in the month, the most in a single month since March 2011 and rising from 993,227 tons a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations using trade data published online today.

French wheat and barley exports are forecast by the country’s crop office to rise in the year through June after drought reduced harvests in Russia and Ukraine. Soft-wheat sales will rise 4.9 percent to 16.9 million tons, it said. Exports in the first eight months of the crop year climbed 17 percent to 11.4 million tons, customs data show.

Paris-traded milling wheat for May delivery was at 212.25 euros ($319.05) a ton by 2:19 p.m. in the city, compared with $260.24 a ton for wheat in Chicago for delivery the same month.

Soft-wheat sales to Algeria, the largest buyer of French wheat, jumped to 414,014 tons from 24,500 tons a year earlier. France was the world’s fifth-biggest wheat shipper last year, after the U.S., Australia, Russia and Canada, based on data from the International Grains Council.

Shipments of soft wheat to Morocco advanced to 271,370 tons from 127,948 tons in February 2012, deliveries to Yemen advanced to 137,499 tons from 33,000 tons and Tunisia took 106,598 tons from none a year earlier.

The monthly volume of barley exports almost doubled to 582,043 tons from 293,121 tons in February, boosted by rising deliveries to Belgium as well as shipments to Syria and Turkey, where none was shipped a year earlier.

French exports of durum wheat, the hard variety used to make pasta and couscous, dropped 41 percent to 89,560 tons from 150,668 tons. Corn exports in February fell 8.9 percent to 464,112 tons from 509,642 tons a year earlier as shipments to the Netherlands and Spain slipped.

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