PARIS, Sept 4 (Reuters) - French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union fell to a four-year low for the month of August, despite a large volume sent to China, as activity eased after a poor harvest, Refinitiv data showed.
Soft wheat exports to destinations outside the EU totalled 644,000 tonnes in August, the second month of the 2020/21 season, an initial estimate based on Refinitiv loading data showed.
That was the smallest August volume since 2016/17, although above a very low level seen in July.
China was the largest importer of French soft wheat for the month outside the EU, accounting for 255,000 tonnes.
Algeria, usually the biggest outlet for French soft wheat, was in second place with 179,000 tonnes.
Brisk Chinese demand for French wheat and barley has continued from last season, supported by a grain import drive by China and its trade clash with Australia.
However, limited French supplies may keep wheat exports below a 2019/20 volume of around 1.6 million tonnes, traders said.
A sharp fall in France’s harvest this year due to adverse weather will reduce soft wheat exports outside the EU by half compared with a record 2019/20 volume of 13.5 million tonnes, consultancy Agritel has forecast.
French barley shipments outside the EU remained strong last month at 282,000 tonnes, although below July’s very high volume.
August barley exports included 216,000 tonnes of feed barley and 66,000 tonnes of malting barley, with China accounting for all but 4,800 tonnes, which went to Cameroon, the data showed.
For sea exports within the EU and to Britain, soft wheat shipments last month were 98,000 tonnes, while all-grain shipments totalled 215,000 tonnes.
Most French grain exported inside the EU is transported via non-maritime routes.
Total grain shipments to all destinations from French ports in August - including barley, malting barley, maize, waxy maize and durum wheat - reached 1.16 million tonnes, also a four-year low. (Reporting by Forrest Crellin; Editing by Gus Trompiz and Mark Potter)
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