Mercados y Comercio

FAO price indices for oilseeds, vegetable oils and oilmeals

In January 2024, the FAO price indices* for oilseeds and oilmeals both declined, shedding, respectively, 12.7 and 9.1 points (10.3 and 7.2 percent) month-on-month and standing 25.1 and 17.8 percent below their year-earlier levels. Meanwhile, the vegetable oil price index remained virtually unchanged, up marginally by 0.2 points (0.1 percent) from the previous month, but still 17.9 points (12.8 percent) below its January 2023 reading.

The continued decline of the oilseed price index reflected lower global soybean quotations, more than offsetting higher sunflower seed prices, while world rapeseed values remained practically stable month-on-month. International soybean prices dropped significantly in January, mainly due to improving weather conditions in parts of major producing areas in Brazil; continued favourable growing conditions across main soybean regions of Argentina; and prospects of lingering subdued import purchases from China as a result of weakening demand from the livestock sector. These factors outweighed the supportive impact of prolonged robust demand from the crushing industry in the United States of America. By contrast, global sunflower seed prices increased slightly in January amid reduced inventories in the Black Sea region, after rapid disposals through export and domestic crushing channels in recent months. In the case of rapeseed, international prices stayed virtually stable, as the downward pressure stemming from current heavy global supplies was counterbalanced by concerns over reduced winter rapeseed plantings for the 2024/25 season in Europe, following unconducive weather conditions and waning farming margins.

With regard to oilmeals, the marked decline in the price index was primarily driven by continued easing of world soymeal quotations. In addition to the pressure from prospective ample supplies from South America in coming months, world protein meal demand remained sluggish, particularly in China and the European Union, with their respective hog industry suffering from prolonged poor margins owing to a variety of factors, including subdued demand and rising costs.

As for vegetable oils, the steadiness in the price index reflected the combined effects of higher global palm and sunflower seed oil prices offsetting lower soy and rapeseed oil quotations. International palm oil prices increased moderately in January, primarily underpinned by seasonally lower production in major producing countries and concerns over unfavourable weather conditions in Malaysia. Meanwhile, world sunflower seed oil quotations edged up, driven by increased import demand, particularly from Türkiye. By contrast, international soy and rapeseed oil prices declined on account of, respectively, prospects for large supplies from South America and lingering ample availabilities in Europe.


* The monthly Monthly Price Update is an information product provided by the oilseeds desk of the Markets and Trade Division of FAO. It reviews the development of international prices for oilseeds, oils and meals as reflected by FAO’s price indices. Previous issues can be downloaded from the FAO website at the following webpage:

Please note that the views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of FAO.

Explanatory notes:

FAO's price indices are calculated using the Laspeyres formula; the weights used are derived from export values of each commodity for the 2014–16 period. The indices are based on the following international spot prices for nearest forward shipment (provided by Oil World):

  • 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; sunflower seed, fob Black Sea (please note that sunflower seed has been added to the index only in January 1976 and, until December 2012, referred to EU, cif Rotterdam).
  • Components of the vegetable oils 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.



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