Trade and markets



Price indices for oilcrops and derived products
The indices are derived from a trade-weighted average of a selection of representative internationally traded products. Please note that in November 2013 some modifications have been introduced to the way the indices are calculated ; for details and to access the series of indices along with commentary on latest price developments click here.

Oilcrops, oils and meals market assessment - May 2015
Summary : The latest forecasts for the 2014/15 season point towards a further easing of the global supply and demand balance for oilseeds products. Driven by bumper soybean crops in the United States and South American countries, global oilseed production is expected to expand significantly for the third consecutive season. Such an increase, together with sizeable opening stocks, will facilitate a strong expansion in global supplies of oils/fats and even more so of meals/cakes. On the demand side, growth in oils/fats consumption could slow in 2014/15, largely due to a subdued demand from the biodiesel sector, while global meal consumption is seen expanding at an about-average rate. As production of oilseed products is anticipated to exceed utilization by an ample margin, especially in the case of meals, a sharp rise in global inventories appears likely. Year-on-year, carry-out stocks are currently projected to increase by 11 percent for oils/fats and by a stunning 34 percent for meals/cakes, mainly due to soy/ meal. Responding to the positive supply and demand prospects, international prices for most oilseeds and oilseed products eased during the first half of 2014/15. In April 2015, FAO’s price indices for the oilseed complex not only ranged 20–30 percent below their corresponding 2014 values, they also tumbled to 5–6 year lows. The latest harvest updates in the Southern Hemisphere and the first planting indications for next season in the Northern Hemisphere, suggest that international prices could remain under pressure for the next few months. With regard to international trade, current forecasts indicate a deceleration in the volume of transactions in both oilseeds and oilseed products – despite the recent slide in prices. Incomplete and highly tentative forecasts for 2015/16 suggest that, after three consecutive rises, global oilseed production could contract in the coming season, with the largest dip seen for soybeans. Nonetheless, considering the current season’s prospective record-high carry-out stocks, a production decrease would not necessarily lead to tightness in global markets. Read full document

The Oilcrops Monthly Price and Policy Update (MPPU) is an information product provided by the oilseeds desk of the Trade and Markets Division. As a complement to our bi-annual market reports, this brief note follows two purposes: first, to review the development of international prices for oilseeds, oils and meals as reflected by FAO’s specific price indices and second, to spot recent policy and market events - selected from a variety of sources - that are deemed important for the global oilseed economy. The brief shall be issued in the second week of each month, for a total of 10 issues per year. The note, which will be available in English only, will be posted on this web page as well as sent to subscribers of the Oilcrops Market Network.

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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook: Oilseed Projections 2015-2024
(i) In nominal terms all oilseeds and oilseed product prices are projected to increase less than the assumed inflation rate over the outlook period. Resulting real prices will decline slightly, based on the assumption of further efficiency gains in the sector which enables it to satisfy the growing global demand at real prices below the current level. The price relationships within the sector will shift slightly. Due to saturation in per capita food demand in many emerging economies and reduced growth in biodiesel production from vegetable oils, real vegetable oil prices will decline faster than real protein meal prices.
(ii) During the outlook period, global oilseeds production is expected to continue its expansion, yet at a growth rate of 1.6% p.a. it will fall short of the 3.5% p.a. experienced during the last decade. Production of rapeseed in Canada and the European Union is expected to grow much slower than in the previous decade as high oil-containing oilseeds like rapeseed are more affected by the slower growth in vegetable oil prices.
(iii) International oilseeds trade accounts for a consistently high share of global production of around 31% during the next decade. The main flow continues from the Americas (United States and Brazil) to Asia (mainly China). Globally, crushing of oilseeds into meal (cake) and oil dominates the use of oilseeds; direct food use is significant only in a few Asian countries. By 2024 more than 87% of the world oilseed production will be crushed.
(iv) Vegetable oil includes the oil from crushing oilseeds (around 53%), palm (36%), palm kernel, coconut and cottonseed. World vegetable oil production will remain concentrated among a few countries in the coming decade. Despite a slowdown in area expansion, significant growth still occurs in the main palm oil producing regions of Indonesia and Malaysia. The other source of growth is soybean oil produced in the crush of the increasing soybean production. Demand growth for vegetable oil is expected to slow down in the coming decade due to a) reduced growth in per capita food use in developing countries at 1.1% p.a. compared to 2.7% in the previous decade, and b) stagnant biodiesel production from vegetable oils due to the gradual fulfilment of quotas and expected reductions in biodiesel production targets.
(v) Protein meal production and consumption is dominated by soybean meal. Compared to the past decade, consumption growth of protein meal slows down significantly, reflecting both slower growth in global livestock production and a degree of saturation in the inclusion of protein meal in feed rations. Commercial farms have increasingly optimised the use of protein meal in feed ration in important developing countries, especially China dampening demand. Chinese consumption of protein meal is projected to grow by 2.0% p.a. compared to 7.8% p.a. in the previous decade, still exceeding the growth rate of animal production however.
(vi) Growth in world trade in oilseeds is expected to slow down considerably in the next decade, compared to the previous decade. This development is directly linked to the projected deceleration of oilseed crush in China. Because livestock production increases rapidly in the main protein meal producing countries, domestic use of protein meal increases and trade will only expand slightly in the coming decade, resulting in a declining share of trade in world production.
(vii) Whereas, oilseed and protein meal exports are dominated by the Americas, vegetable oil exports continue to be dominated by Indonesia and Malaysia . Vegetable oil is one of the agricultural commodities with the highest share of trade compared to production at 39%. It is expected that this share remains stable throughout the projection. In addition to the issues and uncertainties common to most commodities (e.g.macroeconomic environment, crude oil prices and weather conditions), each sector  has its specific supply and demand sensitivities. The low stock level at the end of the outlook period is a source of uncertainty for the stability of prices, for example, if the sector is affected by adverse weather events. Biofuel policies in the United States, European Union and Indonesia are a source of major uncertainties in the vegetable oil sector, because they have an impact on a large share of the demand in these countries.
» Full chapter on oilseeds, oils and meals

See also:
» Chapter on biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel)


Oil crops include both annual (usually called oilseeds) and perennial plants whose seeds, fruits or nuts are either consumed directly as food or crushed to obtain oil (used by the food, oleochemical, biofuel and other industries) as well as protein-rich meal (used as feed in the livestock sector).

Some of the crops included are also fibre crops in that both the seeds and the fibres are harvested from the same plant. Such crops include coconuts, kapok fruit, cotton, linseed and hempseed.