EU rapeseed imports lag behind 2023 levels

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Sergei Chuyko
© GettyImages/Sergei Chuyko

Related tags Rapeseed Canola FEDIOL La Niña imports

Vital signs indicate ongoing tightness in Europe's rapeseed market, say analysts.

The EU Commission's recent grain trade data update revealed that rapeseed imports are significantly lagging behind last year's levels. As of May 3, 2023-24 imports stood at 4.9Mt, a decrease of 1.9Mt year on year, notes an oilseed market report from CRM Agri.

The data also highlighted a 60% reduction in EU purchases from Australia compared to the previous season, when Europe’s crushers heavily relied on a record Australian harvest.

Strong demand from EU crushers

Meanwhile, demand for rapeseed from Europe’s crushers remains strong, encouraged by EU rapeseed oil prices which, at $1,080 per ton, still hold premiums to rival vegetable oils, says the CRM Agri team.

Oilseed processors in the EU and UK crushed 1.63Mt of rapeseed last month, an April record, according to data from industry group Fediol.

Crop prospects

Although reports differ as to the severity of crop damage, a USDA forecast of 3.7Mt for Ukraine’s 2024 rapeseed harvest looks less pessimistic than when it was released two weeks ago.

“In Australia, while potential remains for La Niña to bring rains and bumper yields, as it did two years ago, lingering dryness in the top growing state of Western Australia, as well as South Australia, appears to be dissuading some farmers from planting canola in the first place.

"Latest industry estimates are of a 5.4Mt harvest, well below the USDA’s 6.5Mt forecast. Certainly, factoring in the 1.3Mt or so used domestically, Australia’s canola exports next season look unlikely to come close to 2022/23’s record of 6.1Mt," commented the UK oilseed market specialists. 

Nonetheless, not all supply signals are on a tightening trend. Canada’s 2024/25 crop prospects have improved with rains in the Prairies. As the country’s farm ministry, AAFC, remarked: “Recent precipitation has led to a much-needed improvement in topsoil moisture conditions for most of the region.”

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