For the Quarter Ending September 2023
Sunflower oil prices in North America displayed an upward trajectory until August, followed by a decline at the close of September. In the United States, the price surged by around 10% in July, prompted by uncertainties surrounding exportable supplies after the Russian Federation terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This decision, coupled with dry weather conditions in the US affecting regional trade, complicated supply-demand dynamics. The spike in vegetable oil prices strained household budgets, posing challenges for consumers, particularly in light of sunflower oil’s use in the biofuel industry. Despite these challenges, the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the United States indicated positive growth, rising from 46.3 in June to 49 in July, signifying the second consecutive month of expansion in the manufacturing sector. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2023 in the United States stood at 305.69. Additionally, sanctions on Europe affecting oil and gas imports from Russia contributed to rising energy prices, impacting fuel costs for consumers and disrupting global supply chains.On the global front, the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index witnessed a decline in September, averaging 120.9 points, a 3.9 percent decrease from August. This decline was influenced by lower world prices in palm, sunflower, soy, and rapeseed oils. International palm oil prices continued to decrease due to elevated production in major Southeast Asian countries. Meanwhile, sunflower oil quotations significantly dropped, reflecting harvest pressure in the Black Sea region amid robust selling activities by farmers.
Sunflower oil prices in the Asia Pacific region experienced a continuous increase throughout July, primarily driven by Russia’s withdrawal from the UN-backed agreement. This move, impacting grain prices, created uncertainties and contributed to significant global increases in sunflower oil prices, including in China. Limited availability of sunflower oil for biodiesel production further raised its prices, adding to the overall upward price trend. Despite a decline in export orders in China and a subsequent decrease in the Chinese Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July, analysts anticipated a CPI increase in August. The depreciation of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar also played a role in raising imported sunflower oil prices for Chinese consumers. As September approached, sunflower oil prices witnessed a significant decline, benefiting consumers but posing challenges for producers by reducing profit margins. The economic slowdown in China, showing signs of improvement in September, contributed to decreased consumer spending.
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In the third quarter of 2023, the Ukrainian market for sunflower oil witnessed volatile trends. Prices surged in July due to concerns about grain exports from Ukraine and global production uncertainties, exacerbated by Russia’s exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Despite these challenges, July’s export data showed Ukraine continued to export substantial amounts of vegetable oil. August brought a slight improvement in optimism, with declining factory employment prompting businesses to reduce inventories and cut back on purchases. Input costs dropped significantly, and output prices continued to decline for the fourth consecutive month. The ongoing trade war increased transportation costs, including fuel expenses, contributing to the rise in sunflower oil prices both internationally and within Ukraine. Towards the end of September, sunflower oil consumption remained weak, with market transactions driven by specific requests. Sunflower seed exports doubled in September compared to the previous month, although they remained low compared to the same period the previous year.
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