Analysis Crops

Sunflower oil price recovery continues

May 27, 2024 - Klaas van der Horst

Sunflower oil price remains in recovery mode over the past month, although the level of the end of last year has not yet been reached. What helps with the recovery is that sunflower oil is still the cheapest of the major edible oil types.

The price of sunflower oil is getting closer to the palm oil price again with the upward movement, which in May is on average at a significantly lower level than in April.

The lower price of sunflower oil has boosted exports. Ukraine, the world's largest producer, has exported 4.4 million tons of oil between September last year and April this year, which is 17% more than in the same period a year earlier. It is even the highest level since the 2019/20 period. The situation in Russia is less clear, but there seems to be even more available for export there.

The most recent prices of the 'major' edible oils according to the EU.

For the upcoming season, the US Department of Agriculture USDA expects a slightly lower global harvest of sunflower seeds and oil. In addition, the product stocks in exporting countries, especially Ukraine and Russia, seem fairly limited. In Ukraine, some of the oil mills are considering switching to rapeseed instead of sunflower seed due to lack of supply.

Palm oil is still the most imported and used edible oil in the EU. Source: European Commission.

Price is a consideration to buy sunflower oil or not, health is another, or sometimes a combination of both.

Lays India makes switch
Chips manufacturer Lays, a subsidiary of Pepsico, is partially switching from palm oil to sunflower oil for frying chips in India. According to the company, this is because sunflower oil is more heart-healthy than palm oil or coconut oil, as they contain much more hard, saturated fatty acids, as stated by the manufacturer. For many Indians, it takes some getting used to, as switching to a different method of preparation is not just a small matter, as various reactions show.

Klaas van der Horst

Klaas van der Horst is a senior market specialist in dairy at DCA Market Intelligence. He also closely monitors developments in politics and agricultural policy.