Posted by: REUTERS

European wheat futures were little changed on Wednesday hovering around a one-month low as demand from Algeria helped stem a 7 percent slide in prices over the past two weeks.

Benchmark December milling wheat on the Paris-based Euronext settled 0.25 euro, or 0.1 percent, lower at 173.50 euros a tonne, matching Tuesday’s low.

“Sales to Algeria are supporting the market a little bit but not that much as prices paid were not that high,” a trader said.

Algeria bought about 500,000 tonnes of wheat at prices of $214 to $216 a tonne costs and freight included in a tender that closed on Tuesday, European traders said.

The origin of the wheat, sought for shipment in October, is optional but traders said they thought it was likely to be mainly sourced from France, its traditional supplier, with some from the Baltic States.

Current shipments to Algeria were also supporting demand sentiment and pushed up premiums on the French cash market, according to brokers.

Seven cargoes are loading or waiting in French ports to load wheat for Algeria in the coming days, port data showed.

However, Egypt’s purchase of 420,000 tonnes of Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian wheat on Tuesday was a stark reminder of the strong competition for European wheat on the world market.

German cash premiums in Hamburg rose after rain again disrupted Germany’s wheat harvest, raising fears of last minute harvest damage.

Standard bread wheat with 12 percent protein content was offered for sale at 2 euros over the Paris December contract for September delivery in Hamburg, up from 1 euro higher on Tuesday.

“There is considerable nervousness about the rain in Germany this week, which has fallen repeatedly just as harvesters were about to roll,” one German trader said.

“However, temperatures have been low which could reduce the damage to wheat and we could come out with just a black eye rather than serious injury if the weather changes as is forecast in coming days. If grain can dry out quickly, quality damage can still be avoided.”

Warmer, sunnier weather is forecast in Germany starting from Friday into the weekend but with some rain still possible.

High-quality wheat was again offered for sale well above the price of milling wheat on hopes that damage to the U.S. spring wheat crop will push demand for high protein grades to Germany.

Wheat with 14 percent protein content for September/December delivery in Hamburg was at an unchanged premium of 23-24 euros over the December contract in Paris.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide and Clement Rouget in Paris and Michael Hogan in Hamburg, writing by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by David Clarke)

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