The volume of rapeseed traded is low, with limited demand from end-users and the US public holiday, while prices have been pushed lower by bearish international factors, notably an Indian import tax on vegetable oil. The world rapeseed crop is up, but low stocks point to a tight market this season.

John Thorpe, senior trader oilseed rape at Openfield Agriculture, described a very quiet market. “It’s not just rapeseed it’s right across the commodities,” he told Agritrade News.  “If you look at consumers, they can’t sell their products and it works its way back.

“We need to get Christmas out of the way and see what happens next, but it is extremely quiet at the moment,” he said.

AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds reported “another mixed week for oilseeds with gains (Fri-Fri) for Chicago soyabean futures but declines for the Paris rapeseed futures market.

“Mixed weather forecasts for South America were an important influence on soyabean prices, as was repositioning in the Chicago market ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday,” it said.

“For rapeseed, the continued fall out of India’s decision to hike its import tax on vegetable oils continued to weigh on prices,” the AHDB continued. “This then filtered through into lower UK delivered rapeseed prices.”

In its latest Grain Market Report, the International Grains Council forecasts 2017/18 global rapeseed production at 72.1 million tonnes, up from 71.3 million in 2016/17. “Reduced carry in stocks will likely ensure that supplies are tighter,” the IGC commented. It is predicting a 6.1% fall in rapeseed stocks by the end of the season, rising to 8.9% in the major exporting countries.

EU-28 production is forecast up 7.1% at 22.0 million tonnes, with that in Ukraine up 62.8% at 2.1 million. “Boosted by a significant expansion of seeding and enhanced productivity in a number of states, including France, Poland and the UK, output in the EU increased to a two-year peak,” the IGC explained, while it put Ukraine’s rise down to “bigger sowings and decreased winterkill.”

For 2017/2018, the IGC sees EU rapeseed plantings “broadly steady” at 6.7 million hectares. “Despite attractive prices relative to alternatives, principally common wheat, the potential for area gains was limited by difficult weather conditions, ranging from dryness in south-eastern areas to excessive wetness in northern regions, particularly in Germany,” the IGC said. It expected area in France to rise, “with fields reportedly in good condition ahead of winter dormancy.  Plantings in the UK may expand, but are unlikely to reach the highs of earlier years.”

“World use of rapeseed is set to reach a new high of 72.4m tonnes in 2017/18, albeit only fractionally higher than the previous year. Reflecting a bigger crop and improved availabilities, EU uptake is anticipated to reach 26.4m tonnes. (25.3m), although larger gains will likely be capped by abundant supplies of alternatives, with imports of soyabeans and soyameal likely to edge up,” the IGC forecast.