France’s wheat woes mean there could be opportunities for UK exporters
As analysts in France continue to downgrade French wheat expectations, UK traders are looking to take advantage of the gap in the market.
Early results suggest UK wheat has not suffered the forecasted yield or quality issues and industry experts expect to know more about the UK harvest by the end of the month. The wheat will have to meet quality specifications but requirements of most export markets are less demanding than those of UK millers.
Industry experts said a switch to high yielding milling wheats, such as KWS Lili, mean the UK is in a good position to capitalise on French problems.
Jonathan Lane, trading director at Gleadell Agriculture, said: "As an exporter, the introduction of KWS Lili and other high yielding milling wheats has expanded our options and given us greater ability to target premium markets that deliver value for growers.
"Assuming 75 per cent of the UK milling crop meets specification then we could have up to 1 million tonnes of suitable exportable surplus."
France is the major EU supplier to North Africa but the UK will have to compete with Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries also looking to fill the gap.
"Black Sea wheat is putting pressure on prices currently, but we expect this ease as the season unfolds at which time we expect the competitive appeal of UK wheat to improve," he added.
Mr Lane added exports to North African markets could be especially important this year.
"Exploiting this opportunity will be important to our balance of trade as Spain is likely to take less ukp wheat this year than in the past due to its good domestic crop and the availability of supplies from near-by markets."
France’s exportable surplus is expected to fall from 15-16MT to about 9-10MT. 5-6MT of this is likely to be exported as feed wheat.