EU wheat edges higher as more grain ships diverted

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European wheat edged higher on Friday as traders monitored developments in the Red Sea, and an increasing number of bulk carriers, including grain cargoes, diverted to avoid attacks.

Front-month March on Paris-based Euronext milling wheat futures closed 0.35% higher at 217.75 euros ($236.18) a metric ton by 1700 GMT.

Attacks on shipping in the Red Sea region have in past days led to a rise the number of grain cargoes being diverted around the Cape of Good Hope, instead of using the Suez Canal, shipping sources said on Friday.

“About 3 million metric tons of about 7 million tons a month that normally goes through Suez has been diverted,” said Ishan Bhanu, lead agricultural commodities analyst at data provider and analysts Kpler. “So, this week, the number diverting away from the Red Sea has jumped from 20% to 45%.”

Wheat shipments via the Suez Canal fell by almost 40% in the first half of January to 0.5 million metric tons due to attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the World Trade Organization said on Thursday on social media platform X.

In another sign that more companies are reluctant to go through the canal, French group CMA CGM said on Friday it will temporarily divert its NEMO service connecting Europe, the Indian Ocean and Australia via the Cape of Good Hope.

Source: Reuters