28 May 1999
HGCA hosts rapeseed debate

DIFFERING views emerged on the future for oilseed rape at a recent conference held by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).

One HGCA economist told delegates to expect oversupply next year.

She said there were a number of factors at work. Favourable Chinese rape eed crop prospects could mean lower imports.

Other Asian economies could also recover production. Another factor was that falling vegetable oil prices could put pressure on the market.

But she admitted there were a number of factors which could sway the equation towards scarcity.

These included: a continuing growth in demand in India and China, the possibility of adverse weather conditions worldwide, and an early seasonal decline in South American soybean marketing.

Terry Gosson, oilseeds trader with Agroceres, took a pessimistic view. He pointed out that rape oil was only a tiny part – about 6% – of the world trade in oils and fats. It also faced competition from other products, notably palm oil and soya oil which had 10 times the market share.

He forecast the world oil price being forced down below $400 (£250) per tonne. This would mean the UK growers price for oil seed rape going as low as £100 per tonne.

  • The Herald 28/05/99 page 27