European shippers are lining up sales of 600,000 metric tons of French old crop wheat and barley to the Soviet Union for shipment by the end /f June, European grain traders said Wednesday.
The shippers have wasted no time in setting up the deals following the signing Tuesday by French banks of a 1-billion-French-franc ($172 million) credit arrangement enabling the U.S.S.R. to buy French grain.The credit line, guaranteed by Coface, the French export credit guaranteed office, is sufficient to cover between 2 and 2.5 million tons of French grain.
One trader said it seemed the lot would come from 1990 crop grain, and not new crop as previously thought.
The breakdown of the sales is likely to be 200,000 tons of wheat and 400,000 of barley, some traders said, although French exporters are pressing to sell proportionately more wheat.
But whether or not the sales will succeed rests with the European
"We need the (export) restitutions, but we don't know the commission's thinking on these right now," one U.K. trader said.
Restitutions, or rebates, are granted along with export licenses to bridge the gap between EC and world market prices, and to help exporters compete on world markets.
If they go through, these sales should give a much needed boost to French grain markets, which have been plagued by slow export sales and a buildup of cereals in intervention stores.