UPDATE 2-FranceAgriMer cuts 2020/21 soft wheat export outlook

(Adds export details)

PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday lowered its forecast of French soft wheat exports in the current 2020/21 season as it factored in downward revisions to a weather-hit harvest.

In its latest supply and demand forecasts, FranceAgriMer pegged French soft wheat exports outside the European Union this season at 6.6 million tonnes, down from an initial projection of 7.75 million in July and now 51% below a record 13.46 million tonnes in 2019/20.

Like other forecasters, FranceAgriMer has been anticipating a steep drop in exports in 2020/21 after France's wheat crop fell by around a quarter this year due to adverse weather.

The office factored in the French farm ministry's estimate of France's 2020 soft wheat crop that has been lowered to 29.5 million tonnes since an initial forecast of 31.3 million in July.

France would ship between 1.5 and 2.5 million tonnes to Algeria, sharply below at least 5 million tonnes in previous years, also due to an expected change in import tender terms that would open the door to Black Sea origins, Thierry de Boussac, a representative of French grain exporters group Synacomex said.

Sales to China, estimated at between 800,000 and 900,000 tonnes so far this season, should reach at least 1 million tonnes in total over the 2020/2021, possibly up to 2 million provided French wheat remains competitive and China has increasing needs both for human and feed use, he also said.

Exports to Morocco, another traditional market for French wheat, were estimated at around 1 million tonnes in 2020/21 while West Africa was seen importing between 1-1.5 million tonnes of the grain.

Expected soft wheat exports to other EU countries and Britain in 2020/21 were revised down to 6.4 million tonnes from an initial outlook of 7 million tonnes in July.

Soft wheat stocks at the end of this season were now projected at 2.9 million tonnes, compared with an initial forecast of 2.6 million given in July.

That compared with estimated 2019/20 ending stocks of 3.0 million tonnes.

In a first 2020/21 supply and demand outlook for maize, harvesting of which is getting under way, FranceAgriMer forecast stocks would rise to 3.1 million tonnes from 2.0 million in 2019/20, mainly due to higher production. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz, Sybille de La Hamaide and Forrest Crellin; editing by David Evans)

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