EU replaces US as main importer of Argentinian biodiesel

14 May 2009 16:37  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The EU has now replaced the US as the main importer of Argentine biodiesel, traders said on Thursday.  

Market players said this was an inevitable and unsurprising consequence of the recent EU imposition of anti-dumping tariffs on subsidised US imports of biodiesel.

Argentina has become the fourth largest producer of biodiesel after the EU, US and Brazil, according to market sources.

Most of Argentina’s biodiesel is already destined to foreign markets and production capacity is expected to triple in the next three years.

Formerly the US was the sole importer of biodiesel from Argentina, and sources said this would realign the dynamics of the market.

Where the US used to import, Argentina could take that position, and producers in Europe have said that this is as much of a threat as subsidised B99 once was.

“What you have to bear in mind is that this is not really a dramatic change," a trader said on Thursday.

“Although the US was the sole importer, most of that product was touch and go. It was fulfilling the ‘splash and dash’ loophole that was closed back in October.”

A spokesperson for the European Biodiesel Board said on Thursday that their priority was to get a definitive duty on imports in order to maximise the production capacity in Europe.

“Of course [this shift] may lead to a reorganisation of trade - this is almost inevitable - but what we have to focus on is the issue of B99; it’s still very early days yet, and no one could say for sure whether this will really harm European producers in the same way that B99 did,” said Amandine Lacourt,  spokesperson for the EBB.

Cargoes from Argentina into Europe have been increasing steadily for the last eight weeks. Data from the ICIS chemical tanker shipping report of 8 May shows around 150,000 tonnes of biodiesel and FAME (fatty acid methyl ester) expected to enter northwest Europe during the next week.

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By: Alexander Nimmo
+44 208 652 3214

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