Bulgaria’s Rapeseed Imports Up 86%, Half from Non-EU Origins
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As usual, Rapeseed exports took place post-harvest time and did not change since the last FAS Sofia GAIN report, stagnating at 260,000 MT as of June 16 – of which almost 200,000 MT went to the EU market and 60,000 MT to non-EU. Most of this volume (153,000 MT) was exported in the first quarter of the MY, while exports for the first three quarters were at 219,867 MT. The primary destinations were the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain. Due to lower availability, exports to date were 4 percent less than a year ago (270,000 MT). Export demand has been better than that for Crush to date. According to AgFlow data, Bulgaria exported 15,018 tons of Rapeseed to Romania in Jan-May 2023, followed by the Netherlands (13,700 tons).
Local crushers imported more price-competitive imports to complement weaker domestic suppliers. Imports as of June 16 grew to 96,000 MT compared to 52,000 MT in the previous season or by 86 percent. About half of these imports came from non-EU origins. Imports of Rapeseed in the first three-quarters of MY2022/23 were at 42,647 MT, almost all from Ukraine. As of June 20, EU Customs data also shows Bulgarian imports from third countries at 41,121 MT of Rapeseed.
Imports accelerated later in the season, in April/early May, due to increasing demand for crushes and traders’ efforts to accumulate stocks in a situation of Rapeseed deficit in the EU. Rapeseed imports from Ukraine have been banned in Bulgaria, and four more Eastern European countries since May, and the ban will be in place until September 15. Despite the attractive prices of processed Rapeseed products and new investments in crushing facilities, the lower supplies impact the crush in MY2022/23.
According to the MinAg data, as of the end of May, crush use was reported to be 40 percent lower than in the previous season. Accelerated imports and depressed crushes led to the accumulation of more stocks. As of the end of May, ending stocks were reported at 54,000 MT or more than double that a year ago.
Bulgaria Rapeseed: Forecast For 2023/24
In Bulgaria, Rapeseed was planted in the optimal time window due to rains in the August/September period and had a good start of the new crop. Rapeseed benefited from warmer-than-usual temperatures and good seasonal precipitation in November-January. These conditions allowed late-planted Rapeseed to catch up in their development. Still, there were farm reports that select Rapeseed fields were reseeded in the spring due to frost/dryness. Spring weather was generally favorable and helped the recovery of the depleted soil moisture reserves.
Farmers reduced area under Rapeseed cultivation for two reasons: increasing pressure from pests due to the EU ban on neonicotinoids and the limited marketing window. Rapeseed planting as of early December 2022 was at 112,000 HA (16 percent lower than a year before), while after reseeding in the spring, as of June 1, the areas dropped to 94,000 HA (27 percent lower compared to a year early). Private estimates for the area are higher at up to 110,000 HA. The FAS Sofia estimate for the Rapeseed area is currently at 98,000 HA.
Due to the excellent start of the season and favorable spring weather, the expectations for average yields are increased above MY2021/22 average yield of 2.32 MT/HA. Independent crop observations show yields of 2.54 MT/HA with wide variations in the country’s regions from 1.5 MT to 4.0 MT/HA. The most recent EU estimates are for 2.78 MT/HA, while the most optimistic private estimates reach as high as 3.0 MT/HA. The current FAS Sofia projection is for 2.8 MT/HA compared to an earlier expectation of 2.6 MT/HA. However, due to the lower area for harvesting, total production is forecast at 275,000 MT.
Other sources: USDA
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