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Listen: As Indonesian and Argentinian biodiesel antidumping duties end, is there a respite for palm oil biofuel in Europe?

With biodiesel antidumping duties against Indonesia and Argentina to be removed, and palm oil banned as a biodiesel feedstock in Europe post-2020 following the RED II vote, Stephanie Wilson, S&P Global Platts agriculture managing editor, and George Griffiths, senior biofuels specialist look at the changes in regulation and the potential future of these emerging trade flows. Will palm oil be banned after all, or will a compromise be reached? And biodiesel pricing –- is biodiesel in Europe now home of the bears?

Related podcast update -- EU Commission anti-subsidy investigation: a glimmer of hope for EU biodiesel producers?

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Podcast Transcript


STEPHANIE WILSON: There has been much news recently on palm oil and antidumping duties but maybe you could synthesize it for us?

GEORGE GRIFFITHS: On Wednesday last week (17 Jan), there was a vote in the European Parliament on the RED II proposals, particularly relevant as this includes ‎the EU'S plans for biofuels post 2020.

This vote passed, with amendments voted on, meaning the future of food and feed based biofuels are capped, with the vote saying "biomass fuels consumed in transport, if produced from food or feed crops, shall be no more than the contribution from those to the gross final consumption of energy from renewable energy sources in 2017 in that Member State, with a maximum of 7% of gross final consumption in road and rail transport."

Perhaps more importantly for the global biodiesel market, that palm oil will be removed from the list of feedstocks for biodiesel production in Europe.

It is worth pointing out at this point that this decision is not final, as RED II needs to go to a trilogue stage, between the European Parliament, Commission and Council, where the final details will be confirmed.

So a nail in the coffin for palm oil based biodiesel producers I'm sure you'll agree, but the saga doesn't end there!

As I'm sure you remember from our previous podcasts, the thorny issue of antidumping duties against biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia has reared its head once again.

STEPHANIE WILSON: So what is the latest on antidumping duties?

GEORGE GRIFFITHS: These duties against Argentinian biodiesel were reduced on 7 September, paving the way for SME (soybean derived biodiesel) to flood back into Europe, and that is not hyperbole Steph, the extent of this trade flow has shocked many market participants, with over 700kt booked in 2017 alone, from virtually none.

But this looks set to increase further now, with the EU Council lifting its appeals at the European Court of Justice against the WTO ruling to lift antidumping duties.

This news, announced yesterday, had been circulating in the market for the latter half of the previous week, and will mean the Europeans wave goodbye to the antidumping duties on both nations.

This means that there is a brief respite for Indonesian PME producers to bring in biodiesel into‎ Europe before the current plans to prevent this flow come into force after 2020.

STEPHANIE WILSON: So how does the market see this news?

GEORGE GRIFFITHS: The market has reacted to this news, with FAME 0 flattening and falling along the curve‎, with the prompt nosediving also on this news, coupled with winter demand and high stock levels from the influx of SME recently.

We have seen multi-year lows on both FAME 0 and RME in Europe, as the sheer volume of product, and the expected increase, takes its toll on the market.

This is having a further impact into the UCOME market in Europe, adding to pricing uncertainty however I feel that may be the topic of another podcast, so I shall leave it there.