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Thomas Mielke


In the key note address Thomas Mielke, editor of OIL WORLD, will discuss the world situation and outlook for oilseeds as well as for oils and oilmeals for the remainder of this year and the year 2000. He will describe the environment Australian rapeseed producers and exporters are facing in their effort to dispose of their record crop estimated at 2.1 Mn T for the 1999/2000 season (this crop estimate was made in early August and is still subject to change).

The following highlights will be presented and discussed:

The world oilseed situation: The production outlook for the individual oilseeds in the major regions next season. Soybean prices fell to a 27-year low in June, pressured by the outlook of excessive supplies and burdensome stocks of oilseeds worldwide. However, considerable crop damage occurred from much too dry conditions in several major growing areas in the world during July and August, particularly in parts of East and West Europe, India and the USA. World oilseed production will still increase sizeably in 1999/2000, due to the expansion of plantings, but recent weather damage has considerably reduced the surplus and contributed to a stabilization of prices.

World production of rapeseed and canola is set to increase steeply by around four million tonnes in the 1999/2000 season, mainly due to bumper crops harvested in the European Union, Canada, East Europe, China and Australia. It is becoming more and more obvious that farmers worldwide have expanded plantings too sharply and thus created an excessive supply situation, which is pushing rapeseed and canola prices below those of soybeans on the world market.

The price prospects for rapeseed in the season 1999/2000 will not only depend on the supply and demand developments of other oilseeds, but also on the production outlook for palm oil. In fact, world palm oil production is increasing substantially in calendar year 1999 by an estimated 2.2 Mn T. The resulting boost in export availabilities of palm oil has contributed to the price pressure on all vegetable oils on the world market in recent months. The supply & demand outlook for palm oil as well as for soyaoil, sunflower oil, rape oil, lauric oils and other oils & fats will be discussed and its implications on prices analysed.

India has become a "second China". Demand is increasing much faster than production. This has created a domestic supply gap of alarming proportions. During Oct/Sept 98/99 India will become the by far largest importer of oils and fats, taking a spectacular 4.1 Mn T, most of which palm oil, but also substantial quantities of soybean oil, sunflower oil and rape oil. Thedevelopment in India will be of major importance in the medium term and future scenarios will be presented.

Policy changes in China have altered the structure of imports. More focus is now being placed on imports of oilseeds rather than oils & fats. For the season 1999/2000 China is likely to boost imports of soybeans to 4.5 Mn T and of rapeseed & canola to 2.5 Mn T. While Europe has been the major supplier until September, Australia and Canada are likely to expand their shares in the Chinese market in coming months, provided their export prices are competitive.

Thomas Mielke will also look into the crystal ball and discuss the medium-term global supply, demand and price outlook for some major oilseeds and oils for the next 1-5 years.

(August 1999)

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