Uncertainty grows over future oilseed rape prices

Old and new crop oilseed rape prices have seen further divergence over the past week, according to traders.

Good demand from the Continent, tightening supplies and strengthening crude oil prices have supported old crop values, which rose to £255-257/t as Farmers Weekly went to press on Wednesday (28 April). The May Futures market in Paris saw a particularly impressive jump of €11.5/t last Friday, however there was limited impact on UK markets due to the weakness of the euro against the pound.

Many traders are now turning their attention to new crop prices, which were reported at between £235-242/t on Wednesday, with growing uncertainty as to where they would go from here.

Bullish factors include a recent survey that suggested the Ukraine may have lost up to a third of its rape crop due to winter kill, and any future strengthening of global oil demand and prices as economies come out of recession.

However, as the more bearish commentators pointed out, reports of crop losses can sometimes be inaccurate and there is the prospect for a large EU rape crop of circa 21m tonnes due to increased plantings and generally good growing conditions. Record crops in the US and South America could also mean that global soya production this year is 70m tonnes up on last year at nearer 250m tonnes, adding further pressure to world oil markets.

“We are a little bit in silly season and next harvest is still all to play for,” independent consultant Richard Whitlock said. “There’s been a good run of corn and soya drilling in the US, but we don’t really yet know what next season’s crop is going to be like.”

Wheat markets have also experienced a minor rally over the past week.

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