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Last Update: septiembre 2018

Comentario sobra la reciente evolución de los índices de precios

(disponible sólo en inglés).

In August, the FAO price index for oilseeds registered a timid recovery of 0.8 points (or 0.6 percent) to 145.6 points. While the index still remained below the level observed in August 2017, the month-on-month increase marked the first rebound, albeit a small one, since May. Meanwhile, the price indices for vegetable oils and oilmeals continued to decline, shedding 3.7 and 6.2 points (or 2.6 and 3.4 percent) respectively. The meals index dropped for the fourth consecutive month, posting a 7-month low, while the oils index fell for the seventh month in succession, nearing a 3-year low.

After reaching a 13-month low in July, the price index for oilseeds saw a slight improvement in August, mostly reflecting developments in the global soybean market and continued strength in rapeseed values. While international soybean prices remained relatively firm until mid-August, they came under renewed downward pressure during the second half of the month, eventually posting multi-year lows. The following elements contributed to the initial (relative) strength in soybean prices: i) the continuing rapid pace of US exports and crushings; ii) reports of less favourable weather conditions in some US growing regions; and iii) concerns that Brazil’s approaching soybean plantings could be restrained by rising production costs. The pending resumption of trade talks between China and the United States – and, with it, hopes that China would return to the US market – also lent support to prices. Eventually, however, a number of price-depressing factors prevailed. First, the positive 2018/19 soybean production outlook, which rests on forecasts of record-breaking crops in both the United States and Brazil. Second, indications that China could search for soymeal substitutes and switch to low-protein animal feed formulas to trim the county’s dependence on soybean imports, combined with fears that soymeal demand in China could also slow as a result of the recent outbreaks of African swine fever. News that the latest China -US trade talks did not yield the hoped-for results also raised concerns, while the further depreciation of the Brazilian real continued to weigh on US dollar denominated export prices. As for rapeseed, international quotations continued to strengthen, reaching 9-month highs, mostly reflecting deteriorating crop prospects in the EU, Canada and Australia due to adverse weather conditions. Global sunflowerseed prices, by contrast, slipped for the fourth successive month, falling to the lowest level since November 2009, underpinned by bright production prospects in the Black Sea region.

Diverging from the oilseeds index, FAO’s price index for oilmeals continued to weaken in August, marking the fourth consecutive drop. The African swine fever outbreaks in China, the largest pork producer in the world, casted a shadow over protein meal demand. Moreover, larger than expected soybean crush volumes in the US exerted pressure on international soymeal prices.

As to vegetable oils, the drop in FAO’s price index mostly mirrored falling palm, soy and sunflower oil values. International palm oil quotations declined markedly for the fourth consecutive month on persistently subdued global import demand and the ensuing accumulation of inventories in major producing countries. Countries reporting lower-than-customary imports included India, the world’s leading buyer of palm oil, where import orders have been affected by both the implementation of higher import duties in March and the weak performance of the rupee, which depreciated by around 10 percent since the beginning of 2018. In fact, domestic currency weakness also contributed to demand setbacks in a number of emerging importing countries, notably Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Additionally, buyers in China, the second largest palm oil importer, were reported to have deferred their buying activities, as they waited for Malaysia’s announced zero-export tax on palm oil in September. Interestingly, in recent weeks, palm oil production in Malaysia has fallen short of expectations, suggesting that the lagged El-Niño impact on yields is lasting longer than anticipated. Notwithstanding, due to sluggish export demand, Malaysia’s inventory levels remain high. In Indonesia, the impact of weak export demand is felt less, as the country’s palm oil industry is benefitting from rising uptake by local biodiesel producers. With regard to soy oil, ample global supplies – tied primarily to strong crushing activities in the US  and Brazil – continued to weigh on international prices. As to the fresh fall in sunflower oil prices, the positive global production outlook, together with currency depreciations in Ukraine and the Russian Federation (the world’s top two exporters), contributed to the cooling of prices.  


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.