May 10, 2012


France's 2011-12 soft wheat forecast up by farm body



France's 2011-12 soft wheat ending stocks forecast was raised by FranceAgriMer on Wednesday (May 9), reflecting a cut in its export outlook.


The office increased its forecast of soft wheat stocks at the end of the current 2011-12 season to 2.36 million tonnes against 2.1 million seen last month. This was still down 19.2% on stocks at the end of 2010-11.


FranceAgriMer cut its estimate of French soft wheat exports outside the EU this season to 8.7 million tonnes, against nine million seen last month. The latest forecast was down 32.6% on a record 12.9 million tonnes of exports estimated for last season.


The office took account of French wheat's lack of competitiveness against other wheat, mainly US and Argentine, after the recent rise in prices, a source close to FranceAgriMer's management said.


"It's logical, French wheat is the most expensive in the world. The main business is within the EU," a grain trader said.


Algeria, France's main client outside the bloc, bought about 120,000 tonnes of US hard red winter wheat last week for shipment this month, US traders said. Wheat imports into the blocks were raised by 50,000 tonnes from last month to 350,000 tonnes.


The office also increased its projection of French corn ending stocks at the end of the 2011-12 season to 2.4 million tonnes, against 2.2 million tonnes, now up 6.2% on stocks at the end of the previous season.


The change was mainly due to a higher harvested crop estimate, at 13.9 million tonnes against 13.75 million last month, and a 50,000-tonne drop in non-EU exports to 400,000 tonnes, FranceAgriMer said.


The office raised by 50,000 tonnes at 1.15 million tonnes its forecast for the French 2011-12 barley ending stocks, now 19% below last season, mainly due to a higher estimate for the harvested crop.


For durum, FranceAgriMer's estimate remained virtually unchanged from last month with ending stocks at 118,000 tonnes, down from 305,000 tonnes at the end of 2010-11.