EU facing shortfall in sunflower oil due to Ukraine war -producers

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Union is facing a shortfall in sunflower oil as war blocks exports from key supplier Ukraine, vegetable oil industry group FEDIOL said on Friday.

EU refineries source 35%-45% of their sunflower oil from Ukraine and available stocks in the EU are estimated to cover four to six weeks, it said in a statement.

“Beyond that period, it is likely that lack of availability of crude sunflower seed oil and limited alternatives will lead to a shortfall of refined/bottled sunflower seed oil on the European market ...this will be felt up to the consumer level,” FEDIOL said.

Sunflower oil, which is obtained by crushing sunflower seed crops, is mainly used for cooking. With Ukraine and Russia accounting for about 80% of global exports of the product, the Russia’s invasion of its neighbour has left importers such as the EU and India searching for alternatives.

The war has halted Ukrainian sunflower oil shipments to the EU that usually represent around 200,000 tonnes per month, FEDIOL said.

EU producers were trying to mitigate the impact of the war by diverting limited volumes of sunflower oil destined for biodiesel fuel towards the food market, it said, adding other products such as rapeseed oil, soybean oil and tropical oils may also be used.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; editing by Jason Neely