By FWi Staff

WITH crushers unwilling to pay current prices for rapeseed, and farmers busy with their autumn field work, the UK rapeseed market remained quieter than ever last week.

Ex-farm prices eased slightly towards the end of the week to £152.50/t.

On the Continent, trade activity has also been limited by a weak rapeseed crush margin. The option of buying readily available inexpensive soyabeans, along with continued reports of competitively priced Australian rapeseed offers from January onwards, has put pressure on European rapeseed prices.

The Home-Grown Cereals Authority reported EU predictions of rapeseed last week for 1998 at 9.4 million tonnes, compared to 8.6m tonnes in 1997. However, sunflower seed predictions are down at 3.8m tonnes for 1998, compared with 4.2m tonnes last year.

Despite the expansion of oilseed production in the traditional exporting countries like the US, Canada and the EU, pointing to a higher global supply of oilseed in 1998/99, the price pressure is likely to be moderated by higher-than-expected world crushings.

The expected low palm-oil supply could raise the demand for other vegetable oils, said the HGCA, but could also create an even more burdensome oilmeal supply situation.