EU Rapeseed Imports Seen Higher by Oil World as Inventories Fall

European Union rapeseed imports may be larger than previously expected as domestic supplies tighten for the oilseed used in cooking and biofuel, Oil World said.

The 27-country bloc, the world’s biggest grower and consumer of rapeseed, may purchase 3 million metric tons in the marketing year that began July 1, including 1.6 million between January and June, higher than previously estimated, the Hamburg-based researcher said in an e-mailed report today. Inventories at the end of the season may be 900,000 tons, 30 percent lower than a year earlier, according to the report.

“Prices of rapeseed and sunflower seed are currently supported by the sharply reduced supplies available for the remainder of this season,” Oil World said. “This is the result of the current small stocks and the prospective sizable decline in combined crush of the two oilseeds in the EU.”

Rapeseed futures for May delivery touched a nine-week high for the contract on Feb. 8 on NYSE Liffe in Paris. Oil World’s estimate for EU imports is in line with a forecast from the European Commission and compares with a U.S. Department of Agriculture projection for the bloc’s purchases at 3.4 million tons during the 2012-13 season.

EU sunflower seed production from August to January was 6.79 million tons, down 18 percent from a year earlier, Oil World said. Stockpiles by the end of July will slide to 600,000 tons, 36 percent less than a year earlier. Areas of southern and eastern Europe experienced dry weather last year.

Sunflower Exports

Sunflower seed exports to non-EU countries will total only 100,000 tons in the second half, after 190,000 tons were shipped in the first six months of the season and 570,000 tons were shipped in 2011-12, according to the report. Ninety percent of sunflower seed exports from Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania from August to October were shipped to other EU countries.

“The strong intra-EU exports along with the drought- stricken domestic supplies have decimated sunseed export availability of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania for countries outside the European Union, mainly Serbia, Morocco, Pakistan and the UAE,” or United Arab Emirates, Oil World said. “Shipments to Spain rocketed more than tenfold in the first quarter of this season to supplement the dismal crop harvested in the summer of 2012.”

Combined crushing of rapeseed, sunflower seed and soybeans rose to 18.49 million tons in the EU from August to December, up 4.7 percent from a year earlier. Rapeseed processing during that time was a record 10.4 million tons, and soybean crushing was “better than expected” at 5.17 million tons, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier. Sunflower seed crushing fell 7.3 percent to 2.9 million tons.

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