European wheat prices little changed

European wheat prices were little changed on Friday but the market was underpinned by news of a purchase by major importer Algeria which was expected to include French supplies. By 1617 GMT May milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext, was down 0.15 percent at 163.50 euros a tonne, holding above its contract low of 162.75 euros which was set a week ago.

New crop September was up 0.15 percent at 168.25 euros a tonne. Algeria's state grains agency OAIC bought around 570,000 tonnes of optional-origin milling wheat at prices mainly around $198 to $198.50 a tonne, cost and freight included, in a tender that closed on Thursday. Traders said they thought the wheat was likely to be mainly sourced from the European Union, including some from France. One said some US hard red winter wheat could not be ruled out from the purchase.

"Algeria is good news but it's for June delivery, which means they are pretty much covered for the season, and there is not much going on the internal market," a trader said. "On the new crop we'll see if demand picks up or if there is a weather hiccup but otherwise the market remains heavy." In Germany, cash market premiums in Hamburg were firmed by strong demand for feed wheat.

Standard wheat with 12 percent protein content for April delivery in Hamburg was offered for sale up 1 euro at 6 euros over the Paris May contract. Buyers were seeking 4-5 euros over. Hamburg outright prices of about 169 euros a tonne were well below the 176 euros a tonne for April-June delivery for feed wheat in Germany's South Oldenburg market, one trader said.

"Internal market demand in Germany is stronger than for exports with prices in Berlin unusually above Hamburg at 171 a tonne for April delivery in Berlin," one trader said. "This is pulling up Hamburg. However, the mild weather is boosting expectations of a large harvest and new crop premiums for 12 percent protein for September delivery in Hamburg are only 1 euro over Paris."

Meanwhile early trading in Germany's 2018 new crop was reported this week at similar levels to the 2017 harvest, again showing expectations of good supplies. November feed wheat futures in London were down 0.30 pounds or 0.2 percent at 137.50 pounds a tonne. "The UK remains tight from a supply perspective but price values remain capped by the potential impact of feed wheat imports arriving before the end of the season," UK merchant Frontier Agriculture said in a market note.