Trade and markets
 > Economic > Trade and Markets > Commodity markets > Price indices for oilcrops and derived products

Last Update: October 2016

Commentary on the recent development of price indices

In September, the FAO price indices for oilseeds and meals fell for the third consecutive month, while the index for vegetable oils recorded the second upward move in succession. Compared to the previous month, the strongest fall occurred in the price index for oilmeals, which decreased by 13.2 points (or 7.4 percent), while the oilseed index fell by 3 points (or 2 percent). By contrast the vegetable oils index gained another 3 points (or 1.7 percent), confirming a 26-month high.
The current oilseed and meal index levels mainly reflect the global 2016/17 supply and demand situation for soybeans. International soybean quotations weakened further, mostly on expectation of a record crop in the United States, with the harvest progressing under generally good weather conditions. In addition, preliminary forecasts for South America, where plantings are now underway in Brazil, also point to at a near-record output for the region as a whole. Furthermore, in China, the world’s largest importer, a rebound in domestic soybean production (supported by policy changes) combined with abundant supplies but subdued feed demand is expected to weaken growth in soybean import demand, thereby contributing to the downward pressure on international prices. By contrast, a number of factors capped price losses during September, notably, the exceptionally strong import demand for US-origin soybeans. Transitory weather concerns also lent temporary support to prices, with strong rainfalls hampering harvests in the United States Mid-West and low soil moisture levels slowing down planting operations in Brazil’s Centre-West.

The prospect of abundant global availabilities of soybeans, and hence soybean meal, continued to weigh on FAO’s meal price index, also because it coincides with persistently high supplies of feed-grains in some key soymeal importing countries.
As to the vegetable oils index, additional price gains compared to the previous month have been led by palm, soy and rapeseed oil. While palm oil prices have shown considerable volatility in the past weeks, a weaker than anticipated recovery of production in Southeast Asia, combined with low inventory levels in both key importing and exporting countries, resulted in a further month-on-month upturn in palm oil prices. Revived import demand by China and India also supported international prices, as did announcements of increased usage of palm oil for biodiesel blending in Malaysia. Soybean oil prices, differently from the corresponding seed and meal values, rose by about 1.6 percent, mainly reacting to a temporary shortage in global export availabilities, which compounded current concerns about global palm oil production. Rapeseed oil prices also strengthened, underpinned by projections that 2016/17 crop output could decline for the third consecutive year. Furthermore, in China, the country’s main rapeseed crushing region was hit by a typhoon that caused crushing companies to temporarily halt operations, thus considerably limiting domestic availability of rapeseed oil.




Components of the oilseeds price index: Soybeans, US, cif Rotterdam; Copra Phil./Indo., cif NW Eur. port; Rapeseed, Europe, 00, cif Hamburg; Linseed, Canada, No.1, cif NW Eur. port; Sunseed, EU, cif Rotterdam (please note that sunseed has been added to the index only in January 1976).

Components of the oils/fats price index: Soybean oil, Dutch , fob ex-mill; Sun oil, EU, fob NW Eur. port; Rape oil, Dutch, fob ex-mill; Groundnut oil, any origin, cif Rotterdam; Cotton oil, US, PBSY, fob Gulf; Coconut oil, Phil./Indo., cif Rotterdam; Palmkernel oil, Mal./Indo., cif Rotterdam; Palm oil crude, cif NW Eur. port; Linseed oil, any origin, ex-tank, Rotterdam; Castor oil, ex-tank Rotterdam.

Components of the meals/cakes price index: Soy meal, 44/45%, fob ex-mill Hamburg; Sun pell., 37/38%, Arg., cif Rotterdam; Rape meal, 34%, fob ex-mill Hamburg; Copra exp. pell., Phil., domestic; Palmkernel  exp., 21/23%, cif Rotterdam.