Mercados y Comercio

FAO price indices for oilseeds, vegetable oils and oilmeals

In December, the FAO price index* for oilseeds dropped marginally (0.4 points, or 0.3 percent) month-on-month, whereas the oilmeal index rebounded by 6.7 points (5.3 percent). In the meantime, the vegetable oil index declined markedly, down 10.1 points (6.5 percent) from November and hitting its lowest level since February 2021. While the price indices for oilseeds and oilmeals remained above their respective year-earlier levels, the vegetable oil index was down by nearly 20 percent from its value in the corresponding month a year ago.

The marginal decline of the oilseed index reflected the combined effect of steady soybean prices and moderately lower rapeseed and sunflowerseed values. International soybean prices in December remained virtually unchanged around multi-year highs, chiefly supported by persistent dry conditions across major growing regions in Argentina and robust demand for exports from the United States of America. However, the upside momentum of prices was contained, as global soybean production is still seen rebounding to a record high in the 2022/23 marketing season, tied to a potential bumper crop in Brazil due to generally conducive weather conditions. In addition, rising COVID-19 cases in China since early December curbed domestic consumption temporarily and kept soybean prices under check. As for sunflowerseed, international prices declined slightly in December amid favourable yield outcomes in the Russian Federation. Likewise, world rapeseed quotations also dropped after rising for two consecutive months, reflecting a positive global production outlook.

With regard to oilmeals, the price index diverged from the downtrend observed for the oilseed index and rose markedly on higher world soymeal values. Lower soybean crop prospects and reduced crushing activities in Argentina, the world’s leading soymeal exporter, fuelled increases in global soymeal quotations.

As for vegetable oils, the decrease in the index in December was driven by lower international quotations across palm, soy, rapeseed and sunflowerseed oils. World palm oil prices dropped by nearly 5 percent after a short-lived recovery in November, chiefly underpinned by a sluggish global import demand, despite lower outputs in major palm oil-producing countries due to excessive rainfalls. Meanwhile, world soyoil prices fell markedly, largely due to positive prospects of seasonally rising production in South America, with a prospective record harvest in Brazil more than offsetting lower crop prospects in Argentina. As for rapeseed and sunflowerseed oils, international prices dropped on account, respectively, of ample global supplies and subdued import demand, particularly from the European Union. Lower crude mineral oil prices also exerted downward pressure on world vegetable oil quotations. For 2022 as a whole, the annual averages of all three price indices firmed markedly compared with their 2021 values. The indices for oilseeds, oilmeals and vegetable oils rose by 19, 17, and 23 points (or 13, 15, and 14 percent), respectively, reaching their record annual highs.


* 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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