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France expects threat from Russia to wheat exports

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French crop officials, ending a series of upgrades to wheat export forecasts, highlighted the threat to the country’s trading prospects due to Russia lifting an export a tax on shipments of the grain.

FranceAgriMer, which had raised its forecast for French wheat exports outside the European Union, on Tuesday stuck by its April estimate of 10.6m tonnes.

The forecast defied strong data last week for March exports, which showed French shipments outside the EU reaching 1.5m tonnes, the best performance for 2014-15 so far.

However, Olivia Le Lamer, the head of FranceAgriMer’s grains unit, flagged growing uncertainties over prospects, saying that “we’re in a context that is not easy to read for the end of the export season. Russian exports will increase’

One such uncertainty was the euro, which has recovered nearly 8% against the dollar over the past month, so reducing the competitiveness of eurozone exports.

Ms Le Lamer, also highlighted that “at the same time the imminent lifting of Russia’s export tax suggests Russian shipments will increase”.