• East European country ships to India for first time in decade
  • Ukraine wheat prices seen cheaper than those for French grain

France’s loss in wheat export markets following flooding this year is Ukraine’s gain as the east European nation ships wheat to India, the second-largest consumer, for the first time in a decade.

Ukraine delivered 240,000 metric tons of wheat to India in July and August as stocks in the Asian country fell to a nine-year low, UkrAgroConsult said in an e-mailed report. That’s after floods drove soft-wheat yields in France to the lowest since the early 1980s.

“Traditionally, India imports wheat mostly from France and Australia,” UkrAgroConsult said. “Given the wheat production decrease in France in the current season and quality problems, Ukrainian exporters have got a great chance to take its place on this market.”

France’s Agriculture Ministry cut its estimate of soft-wheat output for a second time on Monday, with production now seen down 31 percent at 28.2 million tons from a year earlier. India’s food ministry also favors waiving a 25 percent import duty because of a wheat shortage for 2016-17. It will become a net wheat importer for the first time in six years, UkrAgroConsult said.

Prices are higher for French wheat than Ukrainian. “If export prices for French milling wheat are usually comparable with Ukrainian, then now French wheat prices are $18-20 a ton higher,” the researcher said. “Only Russia can compete with Ukraine.”

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