UPDATE 1-EU and UK rapeseed crop could make modest rebound -Strategie Grains

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PARIS, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Rapeseed production in the European Union and Britain could reach 18.2 million tonnes in 2021/22 in a slight rebound from a very low 17.2 million tonnes this year, consultancy Strategie Grains said in its initial projection for the next harvest.

A recovery in production will be limited by another difficult sowing campaign, which is expected to keep the rapeseed crop area stable compared with the last harvest at about 5.5 million hectares, the consultancy said in its oilseed report.

Late-summer drought hampered field work in France and Romania, while in Britain growers have turned away from rapeseed because of poor yields and insect problems.

Strong yields could allow a bigger increase in next year’s output. But even if the harvest matched record yields from 2014/15, rapeseed production would still be shy of 20 million tonnes, Strategie Grains said.

Europe is set to end the current 2020/21 season with low stocks because attractive crushing margins linked to high vegetable oil prices have kept industrial demand for rapeseed relatively strong despite the poor harvest, the consultancy said.

Imports are expected to remain high to help to cover rapeseed demand, but Strategie Grains maintained its outlook for a volume of 5.9 million tonnes, down from last season’s record 6.3 million tonnes.

“World demand for rapeseed is very strong and EU importing countries are in fierce competition with other countries (China, Mexico, Japan, etc) in their purchases,” Strategie Grains said. “That is restricting EU imports.”

Tight supply should see rapeseed prices continue rising for the rest of the season, though the arrival of a large South American soybean harvest could curb price momentum, it added.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz Editing by Edmund Blair and David Goodman