In W38 in the canola landscape, on September 15, the European Commission (EC) decided not to extend the bans on Ukrainian imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower. However, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Romania have chosen to maintain these bans, while Bulgaria has lifted its restrictions. In response, Ukraine has pledged to implement legal measures, possibly including an export licensing system, to prevent surges in grain arrivals within 30 days. Moreover, Ukraine has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary for continuing the embargo on Ukrainian cereal imports despite the EC lifting its restrictions.
Bulgarian farmers initially protested the parliament's decision to cancel temporary restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural imports, leading Bulgaria to introduce its own restrictions on Ukrainian grain, following the lead of other Eastern European countries. As a result, Ukrainian sunflower seed import to Bulgaria will be temporarily halted until import quotas are agreed upon between Bulgaria and Ukraine to support domestic production. Bulgarian grain producers are also calling for bans on imports of soft wheat, maize, and canola.
In the 2022/23 season, Russia's exports of vegetable oils reached 6.05 million metric tons (mmt), a 33% increase from the previous season. This includes rapeseed oil exports, which surged by 69% to 1.52 mmt. However, in 2023, the rapeseed harvest may decrease by 500 thousand metric tons (mt) compared to the previous year, totaling 4 mmt. Furthermore, the Russian government has signed a bill restricting the import of nine agricultural crops from unfriendly countries to promote domestic breeding efforts and reduce reliance on imports. These restrictions, affecting potatoes, sugar beets, wheat, rye, barley, corn, soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower, are set to take effect on October 1 and will initially last until the end of 2023.
Meanwhile, German rapeseed oil exports rebounded in the 2022/23 season, increasing by approximately 19% compared to the previous season, totaling nearly 1.3 mmt. However, this volume fell short by 6% compared to the 2020/21 season. The Netherlands was the largest recipient of German rapeseed oil in 2022/23, receiving over 710,400 mt, mainly for global re-export. In the 2021/22 season, exports to the Netherlands were almost 19% lower. Belgium ranked second, receiving 110,800 mt, which was about 28% higher than in 2021/22. Other significant destinations included Denmark, France, and Norway.
In Ukraine, as of September 18, 999,600 hectares (ha) have been sown with winter rapeseed, which accounts for 82.5% of the forecast. Sowing goals have already been met in six regions, with the Kharkiv region surpassing its target by 8.2%. Additionally, between Jul-23 and Aug-23, Ukraine's rapeseed oil exports exceeded the results of the same period in 2022 by more than 20 times.
Lastly, the first production forecast data for the 2023 harvest recorded a decrease of 31.3% for Spain's rapeseed compared to the 2022 campaign to 183,600 mt, which in turn experienced an increase of 47.6% compared to the average in the last five campaigns.