July 14, 2017 / 4:02 PM / in 4 months

EU wheat prices edge higher, French holiday slows trade

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - European wheat futures prices edged higher on Friday, tracking a rebound in Chicago, although trading was thin due to a public holiday in France.

December milling wheat, the most active contract on the Paris-based Euronext exchange, was up 0.50 euros or 0.3 percent at 181.75 euros a tonne at 1529 GMT.

“I think the Paris market today is again closely following the moves in Chicago, which is moving up again after the strong fall in the U.S. on Thursday,” Arnaud Saulais of Starsupply Commodity Brokers said.

“With the public holiday in France today the Euronext market does not have much impetus of its own today.”

Dealers said the market continued to keep a close watch on harvest progress.

“The harvest is starting again after the recent rains with variable yields for both wheat and barley whilst a potential deterioration in quality continues to be assessed in eastern France, Germany and Poland,” CRM AgriCommodities said.

Germany is hopeful of more export sales of high protein grades following weather damage to the U.S. spring wheat crop. There remains concern, however, that rains may have damaged quality, especially the loss of protein in German wheat.

“It has been rainy in Germany all week and sunshine is now urgently needed to dry out the grains so that the harvesters can speed up work and to avoid late quality loss,” one trader said.

”It is still too early to say if protein loss has actually taken place but farmers and regional traders are extremely cautious about making advanced sales of high protein wheat,“ the trader said. “There is growing worry with each day of rain.”

Standard bread wheat with 12 percent protein content was offered for sale at 2 euros under the Paris December contract for September delivery in Hamburg against 3 euros under on Thursday.

High-quality wheat with 14 percent protein content for September/December delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at an unchanged premium of 22-23 euros over Paris December.

Recent German end of season port export loadings were modest, with about 70,000 tonnes of wheat loaded for Saudi Arabia and 8,000 tonnes for Angola.

Feed wheat futures in London also edged up with November up 0.20 pounds or 0.1 percent at 149.30 pounds a tonne.

Britain’s wheat area is estimated to have contracted by 3 percent this year to 1.76 million hectares, according to a survey issued by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board on Friday. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; editing by Susan Thomas)

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