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Crude's surge fuels EU thirst for rapeseed oil

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The jump in crude prices will raise Europe's thirst for rapeseed oil thanks to the crop's use as a feedstock for biodiesel, the US Department of Agriculture has said.

The department has, in a briefing expanding on its influential World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report published earlier this week, forecast a "steady increase" in European Union rapeseed oil demand.

"Its stable price, compared to crude petroleum prices than have doubled since early 2009, has improved the profitability of biodiesel production [in Europe]," the briefing said.

The price of rapeseed has risen less than 20% this year in Paris.

Flowering setback

The report added that poor prospects for rapeseed crops in Hungary, Poland and Romania were behind its 600,000-tonne downgrade, to 18.6m tonnes, in its forecasts for Europe's rapeseed production this year.

"Eastern Europe had below-normal rainfall in April that depleted topsoil moisture," the briefing said.

"In May, rainfall across Eastern Europe remained light, and hot temperatures during the flowering stage reduced yield potential for rapeseed."

The shortfall will in part be made up by larger exports, which the US said would total 400,000 tonnes more than previously thought during the current crop year and 2009-10.


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