A sharp fall in France’s soft wheat harvest this year due to adverse weather throughout the crop cycle will reduce exports from the European Union’s largest grain producer by nearly 40% in 2020/21, consultancy Agritel forecast.
Torrential autumn rain hampered sowings and spring drought has reduced soft wheat yields this season. Agritel kept its estimate for France’s 2020 harvest at 29.22 million tonnes, down from 39.5 million last year.
The lower availabilities will weigh on French soft wheat exports, seen falling to 13 million tonnes in the current 2020/21 (July-June) season, down from 20.9 million tonnes in 2019/20, also hampered by a lack of competitiveness, Agritel analyst Nathan Cordier told an online press conference.
Of these, France would ship 6.3 million tonnes outside the European Union and Britain, down from a record 13.5 million in 2019/20 after a bumper harvest, he said.
China is set to remain a large export market for French wheat this season, helped by trade disputes with some of its major traditional suppliers, Cordier said. He estimated French soft wheat exports to the Asian giant at 1.15 million tonnes in 2020/21, compared to a record 1.6 million tonnes last season. Sales to Algeria, France’s largest export market, would fall sharply to 2.6 million tonnes, from 5.6 million last season, due to stiff competition from Baltic countries, Poland, Sweden and Germany.
Agritel expects no sale of French wheat to Egypt, one of the world’s largest wheat importers, which should mostly turn to Russia and Ukraine this season, he said.
The quality of this year’s wheat crop is good enough to meet clients’ needs, Cordier said, estimating that 84% of the grains have protein levels above 11% and 98% show specific weight well above the standard of 76 kilograms per hectolitre. REUTERS