German rapeseed oil exports reach record level
German rapeseed oil exports increased again in the 2020-’21 crop year, following a significant decline in 2017-’18 and 2018-’19. In fact, with total exports of rapeseed oil amounting to 1.3 million metric tons, they even outstripped the peak of 1.2 million tons in the 2016-’17 marketing year. This translates to a 36 percent rise over the previous marketing year. The largest recipient country of rapeseed oil by far in 2020-’21 was the Netherlands, which acts as a central hub for world trade in agricultural commodities. The country was followed by Belgium, Denmark, France and Norway as the most important destinations for German rapeseed oil. Belgium purchased around 102,600 tons from Germany (up 8 percent), whereas Denmark imported 57,300 tons (down 6 percent). France received more than it did the past marketing year. The country remained an important market for Germany, with purchases amounting to 54,700 tons (up 10 percent). Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Finland also imported significantly more than 2019-’20, whereas exports to Poland, Hungary and Austria declined.
The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has underlined the significance of the European biodiesel industry as the most important recipient of rapeseed oil. The UFOP has ascribed the growth in exports from Germany and import demand from other European states to the low availability of rapeseed and rapeseed oil due to harvest declines throughout Europe. The neighboring countries also had to meet biofuels mandates to avoid penalties. The association has added that during the winter months of November to April practically only rapeseed oil-based biodiesel can be used for blending to meet winter-grade diesel quality requirements. This genetic edge provided by the fatty acid composition of rapeseed oil entails a sales potential that could only be achieved during this period using hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which is more expensive than rapeseed methyl ester (RME).
The UFOP has recommended that, in view of the supply to the market and development of prices, the biodiesel industry should consider offering an incentive for farmers to grow sunflowers in 2022 by presenting appropriate forward contracts. The association has pointed out that, along with rapeseed potential, there is also a land and feedstock potential that can be exploited to improve biodiversity and expand crop rotations. In view of the fact that coronavirus-related restrictions can be expected to be maintained or tightened, feedstock supply of used cooking oils and fats is unlikely to increase. The option of counting biofuels based on waste category 1 and 2 animal fats, which will be permitted in Germany for the first time in 2022, will not change this. The UFOP sees this as just a compensation of export volumes that will be missing elsewhere.