PARIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) – European wheat futures were little changed in thin trading on Thursday ahead of closely watched U.S. government crop forecasts.
December milling wheat on the Paris-based Euronext exchange was up 0.25 euro at 169.50 euros ($187.04) a tonne by 1525 GMT.
The benchmark contract was steady after a fall on Wednesday, partly due to adjustments following Tuesday’s expiry of September futures.
A slight rise in Chicago wheat on Wednesday lent support to Paris prices in the run-up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) U.S. and world crop forecasts due at 1600 GMT.
After the USDA caught grain markets by surprise with an increased U.S. corn production forecast last month, analysts are on average expecting the agency to trim its outlook for corn and soybean crops in its September report.
European traders were also watching to see the USDA’s take on global wheat supply and demand after large northern hemisphere harvests and growing weather risks to southern hemisphere crops.
In Germany, premiums in Hamburg slipped as weak demand continued.
“German exports look set to remain pretty depressed with Saudi Arabia, our biggest customer, starting to buy from Russia,” one German trader said.
Traders are expecting Russian wheat to claim part of a 780,000 tonne purchase made by Saudi state buyer SAGO on Monday following a change in tender specifications made it possible to offer Black Sea origins.
Standard bread wheat with 12% protein for September onwards delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale at 1.5 euros under Paris December against 1.0 euro under on Wednesday. Buyers were seeking at least 3.0-3.5 euros under Paris against 2 euros under on Wednesday.
“German flour mills seem to have much of their supply requirements up to the end of December and perhaps 55% of their needs for January and February,” the trader added.
“There are good wheat supplies available after this year’s larger crop so domestic consumers are in no hurry to buy.”
Rapeseed futures on Euronext were firm, with November futures up 0.3% at 382.75 euros a tonne, near a life-of-contract high of 385.25 euros struck last week.
A sharp rise in U.S. soybean futures, amid hopes that China may buy U.S. farm goods ahead of trade negotiations with Washington, and a Canadian estimate of a smaller canola (rapeseed) crop this year, lent support to Euronext prices.
$1 = 0.9062 euros Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; editing by David Evans