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Supply Chain

Wheat Hits Fresh Highs As Global Supply Fears Persist

Chicago wheat rose to a nine-year high while Paris futures notched fresh records on Wednesday as rising Russian prices and doubts over harvest quality in Australia kept attention on tightening global availability of milling wheat.

Soybeans and corn edged up in Chicago as markets consolidated ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, with traders assessing demand prospects as US harvesting winds down.

Wheat markets have been counting on a big crop in Australia to help to replenish export supplies. However, early harvest results have shown lower than expected protein levels and heavy rains are threatening to damage unharvested crops, which could limit the amount of milling-grade crop.

"Global wheat stocks are low and protein levels are a concern," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 0.2% at $8.69 a bushel by 12:22 GMT. It earlier rose to $8.74-3/4, the highest since December 2012.

On Paris-based Euronext, March wheat was up 0.7% at €310.50 ($348.04) a tonne after setting a new record for a second-month position at €311.00.

A Record High For Euronext Contract

Front-month December rose to a record high for a Euronext contract at €313.50. Euronext drew support from a 16-month low for the euro against the dollar.

The euro's drop has heightened concern among traders that brisk European Union exports this season may leave the bloc with very low stocks.

Concerns about global availability of wheat have also been fuelled by rising prices in Russia, where the government is considering further export restrictions to curb domestic inflation, and transport disruption from flooding in Canada.

Dryness affecting US winter wheat has also raised early doubts about next year's harvest. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) surprised analysts on Monday by reducing its rating of the winter wheat crop.

CBOT soybeans were up 0.3% at $12.76-3/4 a bushel and corn added 0.7% to $5.92-1/4 a bushel.

The USDA on Tuesday cut its US farm exports forecast for next year, citing weaker soybean demand from China and lower bean prices.

Uncertainty over export prospects has offset recent buoyant domestic demand for US soybeans and corn.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more Supply Chain news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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