January 2001 Edition
Palm Oil Leads Growth in Vegetable Oil Trade
World vegetable oil consumption is forecast to rise 16.3 percent higher in 2000/01 than consumption three years ago, while world trade in vegetable oil is expected to increase only 10 percent over the same period. In 2000/01, world trade in vegetable oil is forecast to increase slightly under one percent from the previous marketing year, despite a nearly four percent increase in consumption. Contributing to the lack of growth in vegetable oil trade is the increase in local crushing capacity worldwide, shifting demand to oilseeds at the expense of their products. For example, in 1997/98 China imported a combined total of 3.4 million tons of soyoil, rapeseed oil and palm oil. In 2000/01 China is forecast to import only 2.2 million tons of those same oils, while dramatically increasing the amount of oilseed imports to be crushed locally. Of the four major vegetable oils, palm oil has seen the greatest increase in trade, growing an estimated 32 percent since 1997/98, a rate almost equal to the growth in its production. However, in order to maintain higher levels of trade, palm oil prices have also fallen more sharply than other vegetable oil prices. Palm oil prices have now fallen over 65 percent from their season average price in 1997/98.
Approved by the World Agricultural Outlook Board/USDA