February 18, 2011
EU grants 356,000 tonnes wheat exports
The EU granted export licences this week for 356,000 tonnes of soft wheat, taking the total to 13.1 million tonnes since the start of the 2010/11 (July-June) season, official data showed on Thursday (Feb 17).
The weekly volume, the largest in a month, kept the total so far this season well ahead of the year ago figure of 11.3 million tonnes.
Demand for European wheat, notably for a good-quality French crop, has been boosted by poor weather in other countries including a drought in Russia and purchases by countries fearing rising food prices and civil unrest.
Some analysts, however, have pointed to a slackening in European exports in recent weeks as wheat from the region has become expensive, reflecting dwindling stocks.
In this week's total, 200,000 tonnes of wheat export licences were requested in France, nearly 126,500 tonnes in the Netherlands and 10,500 tonnes in Germany, the data showed.
The EU also granted this week licences to export 73,000 tonnes of durum, bringing the total so far this season to 873,000 tonnes, up from 360,000 tonnes a year earlier.
The weekly data also showed a continuing stream of imports of corn into the EU, with cumulative volumes this season reaching 4.4 million tonnes, versus 1.8 million a year ago.
High prices of feed grains including corn have led European animal-feed makers to seek supply from elsewhere.
Import demand may be further boosted by the EU executive's decision earlier on Thursday to suspend duties on feed wheat and barley, a move called for by feed makers to improve supply.