Wheat surges to new highs as Russia plans to double export tax
* Russia unveils plan to raise wheat export tax to 50 euros/T
* Russia tax adds to concern over tightening world grain supply
* U.S., EU wheat futures hit new highs since 2013-2014
* U.S. soybeans, corn consolidate after multi-year highs
By Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral PARIS/SINGAPORE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - U.S. and European wheat futures soared to fresh multi-year highs on Friday as plans by leading supplier Russia to double a wheat export tax fanned concern about reduced global availability.
Chicago corn and soybeans edged down, consolidating after their own multi-year highs this week linked to similar worries about ebbing supplies of feed grains.
The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 2.2% at $6.84-1/2 a bushel by 1150 GMT, after earlier reaching $6.93, its highest since May 2014.
In Europe, front-month wheat on Euronext added as much as 2.6% to 235.75 euros ($285.82) a tonne, the highest since May 2013. Russia plans to impose a wheat export tax of 50 euros a tonne from March 1, increasing an initial 25 euro levy due to apply from Feb. 15, its economy minister said on Friday, in another push to cool domestic food prices.
The new tax level was higher than the 45 euros proposed earlier this week by the Russian agriculture ministry for application in mid-March.
"This is going to reduce Russian exports," Nathan Cordier of consultancy Agritel said. "The response of the market is in a way to stifle demand (with high prices)."
Traders are sceptical about the tax plans, which still have to be formally adopted by the Russian government, after the initial 25 euro levy failed to lower domestic prices.
The prospect of slower Russian exports has unnerved investors amid signs of tightening availability of all grains. The broad rally in grains has been supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's reduced forecasts of U.S. corn and soybean supplies in widely followed data this week.
CBOT corn was down 0.1% at $5.33-3/4 a bushel, while soybeans were 0.6% lower at $14.22-3/4 a bushel. Beneficial rains in parched Argentine crop belts were encouraging the pause in the corn and soy rally. Analysts were also awaiting monthly U.S. soybean crush data later on Friday. Prices at 1150 GMT Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2020 Move CBOT wheat 684.50 14.50 2.16 640.50 6.87 CBOT corn 533.75 -0.50 -0.09 484.00 10.28 CBOT soy 1422.25 -8.25 -0.58 1311.00 8.49 Paris wheat Mar 234.00 4.25 1.85 213.25 9.73 Paris maize Mar 215.50 3.25 1.53 198.50 8.56 Paris rape Feb 436.75 -2.75 -0.63 418.25 4.42 WTI crude oil 52.83 -0.74 -1.38 48.52 8.88 Euro/dlr 1.21 0.00 -0.26 1.2100 0.20 Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne ($1 = 0.8248 euros) (Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Louise Heavens)
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