FAO vegetable oil price index falls to 8-month low

By UFOP | May 20, 2020

Decreases in prices of palm, soybean and rapeseed oils show through more strongly in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ price index than do increases in asking prices for sunflower oil. Consequently, the index declined for the third month running.

The April FAO price index for vegetable oils slipped 7.2 points, or 5.2 percent, compared to the previous month, to 131.8 points. This was the lowest level since August 2019 and also the third decline in three months running. The reason was falling prices for palm, soybean and rapeseed oils. In contrast, sunflower oil became more expensive. Palm oil dropped especially sharply compared to the previous month.

The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has stated that the slump was mainly due to the corona-related economic downturn and the associated sharp decline in diesel and biodiesel consumption to meet blending quota requirements. The pressure on prices was also exacerbated by the ruinous competition in crude oil production. Crude oil prices recently hit historic lows. UFOP has pointed out that, at the same time, larger than expected palm oil production and increased supplies in Malaysia put pressure on vegetable oil prices.

Prices for soybean oil and rapeseed oil were also pulled down. Soybean oil was under additional downward pressure from swelling supply based on a temporary significant increase in U.S. processing volumes. In contrast, international sunflower oil prices rebounded slightly in April on support from brisk import demand and concerns about shortages in exportable supply.


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