EU rapeseed imports hit record level
EU-28 rapeseed imports from third countries reached a new record high at approximately 6.5 million metric tons in the 2020-’21 marketing year. This is a result of the significant rise in demand for rapeseed oil and rapeseed meal. Ukraine, the main supplier, lost much of its importance due to a small harvest.
Although the EU rapeseed harvest was somewhat larger in 2020 than a year earlier, total supply in the EU-28 in the 2020-’21 marketing year was not even 300,000 tons larger than that in the weak 2019-’20 marketing year. This was due to lower beginning stocks, which were estimated at 17.6 million tons. At the same time, the monthly demand outlooks needed constant adjusting, because demand for byproducts was more dynamic than expected. Such demand gave a boost to processing accordingly. The 2020-’21 processing volume increased 6.4 percent to 23.1 million tons of rapeseed.
The continuous rise in demand was initially covered by EU production. Starting in the first half of the marketing year, more and more rapeseed had to be imported from Canada and, later, from Australia to meet demand. Due to the smaller supply following a reduced harvest in Ukraine, imports from there amounted to only around 2.2 million tons in 2020-’21. This translates to a 24 percent drop over 2019-’20 and a decline in the share of Ukrainian origins in total imports from 49 percent in 2019-’20 to 34 percent.
The gap was partially closed by deliveries from Canada, which rose 13 percent to 2.1 million tons. Canada’s share in total imports only rose marginally, by 1 percentage point to 32 percent.
Australia delivered a total of 1.8 million tons from February 2021 onwards. The country’s share in total rapeseed imports amounted to 30 percent. In the last few weeks of the marketing year, the EU-28 received just less than 190,000 tons from Australia. Additional Australian imports will be required should the start of the harvest in the EU be further delayed.