UPDATE 2-French wheat exports to plunge in 2020/21 after record - FranceAgriMer
* Non-EU soft wheat exports seen at 7.75 mln T after 13.6 mln T
* FranceAgriMer factors in smaller French harvest, competition
* Wheat stocks seen down in 2020/21, barley stocks to swell (Adds more details, bullets)
PARIS, July 8 (Reuters) - Farm office FranceAgriMer raised its estimate for 2019/20 French soft wheat exports outside the European Union to a new record on Wednesday but forecast shipments would fall steeply in the new season on the back of a much smaller harvest.
For the 2019/20 season that ended on June 30, FranceAgriMer pegged soft wheat exports to non-EU destinations at 13.6 million tonnes, compared with 13.45 million forecast last month and 41% above the 2018/19 level.
That would be a record volume, surpassing an estimated 12.9 million tonnes in 2010/11.
FranceAgriMer said the end of the past season confirmed brisk overseas demand for French wheat, notably from China which emerged as a major customer.
In its first projections for 2020/21, FranceAgriMer forecast soft wheat shipments outside the EU would fall to 7.75 million tonnes, down 43% from 2019/20 and the lowest in four years.
The office incorporated the French farm ministry's first forecast for this year's soft wheat harvest, projected down nearly 21% at 31.3 million tonnes due to adverse crop weather.
Market participants consulted by FranceAgriMer put the harvest in a similar range of 31-32 million tonnes, but expressed surprise at the ministry's reduced area estimate of 4.4 million hectares, Marion Duval, deputy head of the office's crop unit, said during an online news conference.
This year's wheat harvest is seen as hard to predict after uneven yields in earlier winter barley harvesting.
Competition, including from Australia, was also expected to curb French wheat exports in 2020/21, FranceAgriMer said.
Soft wheat stocks at the end of 2020/21 were forecast at 2.6 million tonnes, compared with an increased estimate of 3.0 million for 2019/20.
For barley, the office projected ending stocks would rise in 2020/21 to 2.1 million tonnes, compared with a reduced 2019/20 estimate of 1.6 million, as lower expected demand offset reduced harvest supply.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Forrest Crellin; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Pravin Char)
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