By Forrest Crellin
PARIS, April 1 (Reuters) – French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union in March reached their highest monthly volume this season, boosted by a jump in exports to Morocco, Refinitiv data showed.
Soft wheat exports to destinations outside the EU-27 and Britain totalled 937,700 tonnes in March, the ninth month of the 2020/21 season, an initial estimate based on Refinitiv loading data showed.
That surpassed a previous season’s high of around 876,700 tonnes in November.
Morocco was the leading destination, accounting for 348,400 tonnes, nearly three times the volume shipped there in February.
Algeria, usually the biggest outlet for French soft wheat, was in second place with 240,900 tonnes, followed by Egypt with 126,000 tonnes.
No wheat was shipped to China last month, adding to a lull after Chinese demand drove French exports in the first half of the season.
Traders and analysts have cited competition from Australian wheat as curbing recent French sales to China, while demand from Morocco has been fuelled by last year’s poor harvest there.
The monthly export volume outside the EU was nonetheless the smallest for March in three years, the data showed. French soft wheat exports this season are expected at a four-year low after a small 2020 harvest.
Feed barley exports reached a four-year high for March at 457,900 tonnes, all destined for China.
Two ships carrying 126,500 tonnes of French feed barley were held up at the Suez Canal when a stranded vessel blocked the waterway last week, but both have resumed their journey.
Malting barley exports reached a record high for a March at 169,100 tonnes, with China accounting for 77,600 tonnes and Mexico 61,400 tonnes, the Refinitiv data showed.
Grain shipments to all destinations from French ports – also including maize, waxy maize and durum wheat – reached 1.06 million tonnes, also the smallest March volume in three years.
Most French grain exported inside the EU is transported via non-maritime routes.
The Refinitiv data can be revised subsequently and may differ from later customs figures due to when ships are counted as leaving France.
(Reporting by Forrest Crellin; Editing by Gus Trompiz and)
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