PARIS, May 3 (Reuters) - Consultancy Strategie Grains expects new-crop rapeseed prices to exceed those of 2020/21, which have rallied to record highs in recent months on tightening global supply and high crushing margins.
"Despite an expected increase in production and a slight decrease in crushing, EU stocks will decline," the consultancy said in a monthly oilseed report.
Growth in vegetable oils demand for food and biodiesel in 2021/22 should compensate for a slight fall in rapeseed crushing in the EU, it said.
Meanwhile, imports are expected to decline because of lower availability in the Black Sea region while Canadian canola looks likely to be uncompetitive over July–September.
"With a world rapeseed market that will remain in deficit and world vegetable oil balances that are even tighter in 2021/22, we think that new harvest prices on average will exceed those of 2020/21," it said.
Prices are expected to remain high until there is a clearer harvest outlook in the autumn.
Euronext rapeseed futures 0#COM: have soared since the start of the year, with front-month May COMc1 jumping to a record high for a front-month price at 700 euros on Friday before expiring sightly above 600 euros.
New-crop August COMQ1 hit a new contract high of 517.25 euros a tonne on Monday, up 32% since Dec. 31.
Strategie Grains kept its forecast for the 2021 rapeseed harvest in the 27-nation European Union almost unchanged at 16.78 million tonnes, against 16.80 million projected a month ago, adding that "fears persist due to cold spring weather".
Crop observers expect frosts last month to have inflicted further damage on struggling French rapeseed. However, crop conditions in other EU countries are seen as more favourable.
The outlook for this year's crop was 2.1% above an estimated 16.43 million tonnes in 2020, Strategie Grains said.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Sybille de La Hamaide Editing by David Goodman)