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UPDATE 2-French wheat export outlook cut again, pushing stocks higher

* FranceAgriMer cuts non-EU soft wheat exports for fourth

* Overseas competition adds to pricing pressure for farmers

* Farm office trims intra-EU exports forecast

* Raises wheat, barley and maize stocks forecasts
(Adds press conference comments)

PARIS, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Farm office FranceAgriMer lowered
its forecast of French soft wheat exports outside the EU in
2017/18 for the fourth month in a row, pointing to stiff
overseas competition and low prices that have made French
farmers reluctant to sell.

In cereal supply and demand data published on Wednesday,
FranceAgriMer pegged French soft wheat exports to non-European
Union countries in the 2017/18 season to June 30 at 9 million
tonnes, down from the 9.3 million tonnes estimated in January.

FranceAgriMer warned last month that it could make further
cuts to its non-EU export outlook because of competition from
Russia and Argentina.

"We've let export sales pass us by and if we don't win some
fresh business quickly we might have to lower the export outlook
again and increase stocks further," Remi Haquin, head of
FranceAgriMer's grain committee, told reporters.

The latest forecast would still mark a jump from 5 million
tonnes last season, when French exports were hit by a poor 2016
harvest, but is more than 1 million tonnes below the office's
initial non-EU export outlook for 2017/18.

Exporters of French wheat were being hampered by the
reluctance of farmers to part with grain at international prices
driven by lower-cost countries such as Russia and Ukraine,
FranceAgriMer officials said.

"France is struggling to match world prices," Haquin said.
"With farmgate prices at less than 140 euros ($173) a tonne,
it's tough for farmers to sell."

FranceAgriMer also lowered its outlook for 2017/18 soft
wheat shipments within the EU, to 8.45 million tonnes from 8.6
million, reversing part of an increase made last month.

But it said demand from other EU countries remains healthy,
partly because of the good quality of last year's French

The reduced export outlook led the office to increase its
projection for end-of-season soft wheat stocks, now seen at 3.25
million tonnes against the 2.9 million estimated last month.

FranceAgriMer adopted the farm ministry's reduced estimate
of 2017 French soft wheat production, published on Tuesday. But
the impact on its supply projection was more limited as the
office reduced expected use of wheat on farms.

For barley, FranceAgriMer raised its stocks forecast for the
end of 2017/18 to 1.05 million tonnes from 925,000 tonnes,
reflecting a cut to intra-EU barley exports to 3.3 million
tonnes from 3.4 million.

Its estimate of barley exports to non-EU countries was left
unchanged at 3.4 million tonnes.

Projected grain maize stocks were raised to 2.8 million
tonnes from 2.5 million tonnes, reflecting increased supply.

FranceAgriMer raised its estimate of harvest supply after
the farm ministry's update on Tuesday and also increased its
imports estimate.
($1 = 0.8107 euros)
(Reporting by Valerie Parent and Gus Trompiz; Editing by David
Evans and David Goodman)

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