Bloomberg News

French Corn-Export Forecast Is Reduced on Ukrainian Competition

January 09, 2013

French corn exports in the current season will be lower than expected a month ago on competition with supplies of the grain from Ukraine and South America, crop office FranceAgriMer said.

Shipments of French corn are poised to fall to 6.33 million metric tons in the 2012-13 crop year through June, compared with a previous outlook of 6.69 million tons, FranceAgriMer wrote in online documents. Deliveries came to 6.85 million tons in the prior period.

France is the European Union’s largest corn producer and exports more than a third of its crop within the 27-nation bloc. Ukraine will deliver about 12 million tons of corn in the year through August, according to the country’s agriculture minister. The Brazilian port of Paranagua said this month its shipments of corn and soybeans will climb as much as 14 percent this year.

“The big problem is the imported corn,” Xavier Rousselin, head of arable crops at FranceAgriMer, said today at a press conference in Montreuil-sous-Bois, near Paris. “Ukraine corn goes readily into Spain. The ships from Latin America have no problem unloading in Rotterdam.”

Stockpiles of corn were projected by the crop office at 2.77 million tons at the end of 2012-13, up from 2.43 million tons a year earlier. Inventories were previously forecast to drop to 2.17 million tons.

Wheat Shipments

The outlook for soft-wheat exports was lowered to 17.3 million tons from 17.4 million tons, still above the 16.2 million tons of the grain shipped by France in 2011-12, according to the crop office. The forecast for soft-wheat sales outside the EU was maintained at 10 million tons.

Soft-wheat stocks are expected to be 2.29 million tons at the end of June, similar to a year earlier and above a December forecast of 1.96 million tons.

Relatively warm weather in December and at the start of January helped late-planted wheat to develop in northern France, according to Remi Haquin, president of the cereals council at FranceAgriMer.

“The wheats that were sown a little late benefited from the mild weather,” said Haquin, who grows grains in the northern region of Picardy. “We are now largely at a normal development stage.”

December was “particularly mild,” with temperatures in France on average 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, according to forecaster Meteo France. Winter wheat develops its primary root system during autumn before dormancy, and a longer growing period may allow for a more vigorous crop in spring.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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