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Strategie Grains cuts wheat crop, export forecasts

Consultancy Strategie Grains cut its forecasts for European Union soft wheat production and exports for the current and upcoming seasons.

The French firm now expects EU soft wheat output of 129.5 million tonnes in the 2023/24 season, down from a forecast of 129.7 million in February.

That would be 3.5% higher than 2022/23 production which it revised lower to 125.1 million tonnes.

“Although the return of rains in west Europe points to better conditions for ongoing crop development, rainfall levels are not sufficient to fully remove the risk of drought in the longer term, particularly in France and Spain,” the consultancy said in a monthly report.

Regarding soft wheat exports, Strategie Grains cut its outlook for the current season by 100,000 tonnes to 30.0 million due to a lower-than-expected flows from Bulgaria and Romania.

It reduced its export outlook for EU soft wheat exports in 2023/24 by 300,000 tonnes to 30.3 million tonnes.

“European wheat exports to third countries are not expected to increase significantly, despite the large-scale availability, because competition with other world exporters will be fierce,” it said.

However, this estimate could be revised upwards to take account of import requirements of North African countries.

“Harvest outlooks are deteriorating week by week in North Africa and unless significant rains arrive by the end of March, this group of countries will need to import significantly more grain, notably wheat and barley, from the EU27,” it said.

For barley, Strategie Grains cut its forecast for the next EU harvest to 52.1 million from 52.3 million tonnes last month, 1.8% above 2022/23 production.

It left its maize 2023/24 production outlook unchanged at 63.4 million, up 24% on last year’s drought-hit crop.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Jason Neely)

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