Oil report

UPDATE 1-EU, UK rapeseed crop area seen down slightly - Strategie Grains

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PARIS, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Consultancy Strategie Grains expects sowing for the 2021 rapeseed crop in the European Union and Britain to be slightly lower compared with this year’s harvest, marking another potential erosion of the oilseed’s position in Europe.

In its first assessment of rapeseed sowing for next year, Strategie Grains estimated the area drilled at 5.45 million hectares compared with 5.47 million harvested this year, it said in a summary of an oilseed report.

European farmers faced dry conditions during the late-summer planting window for rapeseed, particularly in France.

Rapeseed sowing and yields have declined in the past two years in Europe because of adverse weather and insect damage.

Strategie Grains did not explain its area projection in its report summary.

The firm did not change its estimate of this year’s rapeseed production in the European Union plus Britain, which was left unchanged at 17.1 million tonnes versus an estimated 17.3 million tonnes in 2019 and well below the 20.3 million tonnes harvested two years ago.

For EU and British imports, the consultancy increased its forecast for the 2020/21 season to a record 6.3 million tonnes.

That compared with its previous estimate of 6.2 million tonnes a month ago and would surpass a current record of 6 million tonnes last season.

Higher imports would be needed to offset lagging EU production and sustained consumption, particularly during peak winter demand for rapeseed-based biodiesel, it said.

EU rapeseed prices were expected to rise as in 2019/20 and a rally could come earlier than last season given a smaller harvest in major supplier Ukraine and competing demand from China, it added.

For sunflower, which endured summer drought and heatwaves, Strategie Grains cut its 2020 EU and British harvest forecast to 9 million tonnes from 9.6 million, citing lower than expected yields in Romania. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by David Goodman and Barbara Lewis)