Rising prices in top wheat exporter Russia have improved prospects for European Union wheat shipments this season despite limited supplies after a weather-hit EU harvest, Strategie Grains has said.
In a monthly grain report, the analytical firm raised its forecast of EU soft wheat exports in 2018/19 by 0.6 million tonnes to 19.4 million tonnes.
This would remain below last season's exports of 20.5 million tonnes, with an expected 10 percent drop in EU soft wheat production this year capping the EU's export surplus, it said.
But after a brisk start to its export campaign, Russia was losing competitiveness for shipments from December, making French and German wheat more attractive overseas, Strategie Grains said.
Weather-reduced supply in several major wheat production zones worldwide meant the EU could be led to export as much as possible and partly make up for less active Russian shipments, it added.
Limited supply and rising prices of wheat and barley were also expected to drive high demand for maize in livestock feed in the EU.
This would fuel strong maize trade within the EU and record maize imports from outside the bloc, Strategie Grains said.
It raised its forecast for 2018/19 EU maize imports by 100,000 tonnes to 21.1 million tonnes, which would surpass an already record volume of 17.9 million last season.