Market News & Headlines >> French Crop Estimate Roils Wheat Market

Heavy rains in winter and late spring may have caused more damage to French wheat crops than expected, French grain analyst Strategie Grains said on Monday, after a huge cut to its forecast for France's harvest fueled a rally in international prices. 

A crop tour in major French grain belts last week showed widespread problems in terms of density of wheat ears and number of grains per ear, Strategie Grains' Laurine Simon told Reuters News Service. "We were surprised by what we counted in the fields," Simon said. "We had had a few doubts about the impact of winter rain but up till now reports from contacts had been satisfactory."

The firm stunned grain markets on Friday when it cut its French soft wheat production estimate by more than 4 million metric tons to 33.2 million in an update to clients.The revised outlook was well below other trade estimates and there is some skepticism about it in the market. "I still think the estimate is to be taken with a pinch of salt," one trader told Reuters. "The fields are in okay shape overall."