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EU wheat subdued as USDA report, U.S.-China talks awaited

Euronext wheat futures were little changed in thin trading on Friday as traders awaited U.S. government crop forecasts due to be published near the end of the European session.

Paris prices were holding near contract lows, reflecting favourable wheat harvest prospects in the northern hemisphere as well as worries over renewed tensions in trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing.

Benchmark September milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext was unchanged on the day at 170.50 euros ($191.66) a tonne by 1529 GMT.

It was trading close to a life-of-contract low of 169.75 euros struck on Monday and again on Thursday.

Chicago wheat ticked higher as U.S. grain and soybean futures saw a lull following a slide this week.

Investors were waiting to see if U.S.-Chinese trade talks due to continue on Friday would overcome tensions that triggered fresh tariffs from Washington earlier in the day, while also bracing for widely followed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supply and demand forecasts at 1600 GMT.

Rainfall in western Europe has eased immediate worries about crop stress, adding to a broadly positive outlook for wheat harvests in major production zones.

In France, farm office FranceAgriMer estimated in a weekly report on Friday that 79% of French soft wheat crops were in good or excellent condition by May 6, unchanged from a week earlier.

In Germany, rainfall was welcomed by traders after a recent dry spell had threatened a re-run of last year’s drought conditions.

“Rain in past days was good news and with more expected in coming days some of the worries about the new crop are reducing,” one German trader said.

“The relatively low temperatures also mean more water could reach wheat roots instead of evaporating.”

In Hamburg, standard bread wheat with 12 percent protein for September onwards delivery was offered for sale at 0.25 euro under Paris December against 0.5 euro under on Thursday.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Valerie Parent and Gus Trompiz in Paris and Michael Hogan in Hamburg. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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