July 11, 2017 / 1:20 PM / a month ago

British wheat exports at slowest in almost three years

Wheat grows in front of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site near Bridgwater in Britain, August 4, 2016.Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's May wheat exports were at the lowest monthly level since July 2014, keeping the country on track to be a net wheat importer in the 2016/17 season, customs data showed on Tuesday.

Exports in May totalled only 29,509 tonnes, against imports of 185,245 tonnes.

"The strength of exports earlier in the season increased domestic demand and a smaller harvest in 2016 have all been driving forces behind U.K. import requirements," said Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board senior analyst Brenda Mullan.

Cumulative wheat exports so far in the 2016/17 season (July/June) were 1.4 million tonnes, down from 2.57 million tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

In contrast, cumulative wheat imports climbed to 1.66 million tonnes, up from 1.39 million tonnes a year earlier.

Dealers said that exports had started strongly this season, partly because of Algerian demand. Algeria traditionally relies heavily on shipments from France, which had a poor crop last summer.

Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by David Goodman

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