Official data released by the National Center for Agricultural Support (KOWR) confirmed that UCOME production has doubled each quarter during last year. In parallel, our cross-check with Eurostat data suggests that the physical incorporation of Fame exceeded the 800 KT mark.
In Q4-18, a total of 234 KT of Fame had been produced in Poland, close to the all-time record reached in Q3 (240 KT). A major evolution was the share of UCOME, which represented 5% of the total with 12 KT produced. This quarter was characterized by the slowest trade activity in recent history, with both imports (23 KT) and exports (65 KT) falling to multi-year lows. It is too early to talk about a trend, but lately the Polish market has clearly increased its reliance on the domestic industry.
Figures for the whole of 2018 highlighted a dynamic local production, with 860 KT of RME, 21 KT of UCOME, 1.5 KT of TME and 0.5 KT of fatty acids ME* produced. Overall, the 883 KT output was 2% lower than in 2017. Exports decreased significantly by 36% to a multi-year low of 353 KT. That is, in our view, the sign that the new biofuels law has efficiently removed the loophole of the “ghost blending.” Imports, however, grew fast by 19% to 319 KT, a multi-year high. The result was that the trade balance, once one of the biggest in the EU, reduced steeply to only 34 KT. In 2016, it was of 560 KT.
The clear conclusion of these data is that the clean-up of the biofuels’ regulatory framework at the end of 2017 produced excellent results. Our calculations, assuming no inventory variation, put the physical incorporation of Fame at 829 KT in 2019, up from 615 KT in 2017.