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FAO price indices for oilseeds, vegetable oils and oilmeals

In April, the FAO price index* for oilseeds continued to increase for the eighth consecutive month, gaining 2.4 points (or 1.3 percent) to a new record high. By contrast, the indices for oilmeals and vegetable oils fell from their all-time highs registered in March, shedding, respectively, 9.6 and 14.3 points (or 6.2 and 5.7 percent) month-on-month. Noticeably, all three price indices trailing the oilcrops complex remained markedly above their year-earlier levels, particularly in the case of vegetable oils.

The continued strength of the oilseed index mainly reflected higher soybean and rapeseed values, which more than offset lower sunflowerseed quotations. International soybean prices rose marginally in April, largely underpinned by i) a strong pace of crushings in Brazil and the United States of America thanks to profitable processing margins; ii) robust global import purchases, particularly from China; and iii) worries over the impact of recent frost on soybean crops in Argentina. On the other hand, appreciation of the US dollar, as well as rising Covid-19 cases in China that had cast a shadow over demand prospects, contained further rise of soybean prices. In the meantime, world rapeseed prices climbed to all-time highs in April. Besides protracted global supply tightness, reports of lower-than-expected planting intentions for the 2022/23 season in Canada buoyed rapeseed prices. By contrast, international sunflowerseed values declined after rising for three months in a row. Despite the uncertain production outlook in Ukraine amid the continuation of the conflict in the country, sunflowerseed prices retreated from record highs seen in March. Reportedly, European Union markets are still well supplied for the time being. 

Regarding oilmeals, the decline of the price index was driven by lower soy, sunflower and rapeseed meal values. In China, the world’s top protein meal consumer, although hog inventories had already recovered to the level they existed before the African Swine Fever outbreak hit the country, the meal inclusion ration in feed rations declined in response to poor hog margins. In addition, robust crushing activities globally driven by high vegetable oil prices resulted in ample oilmeal supplies that need to be absorbed by the livestock sector.

As for vegetable oils, the price index fell from the record high registered in March, but remained significantly above its value in the corresponding month of last year. The decline was driven by lower world prices of palm, sunflower and soy oils that more than offset higher rapeseed oil quotations. International palm oil prices dropped moderately in April, mainly weighed by subdued global import purchases amid high costs as well as a weakening demand outlook in China. Nevertheless, uncertainties about export availabilities out of Indonesia, the world’s leading palm oil exporter, contained further declines in international prices. Meanwhile, world sunflower and soy oil prices also fell month-on-month, largely tied to demand-rationing following the record high prices seen lately. By contrast, rapeseed oil prices stayed firm in April, sustained by lingering global supply tightness.


* 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: https://www.fao.org/markets-and-trade/publications/en/?querystring=oilseeds

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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