Factors Affecting Sunflower Oil Prices Globally
Factors Affecting Sunflower Oil Prices Globally

Factors Affecting Sunflower Oil Prices Globally

  • 09-Mar-2023 5:37 PM
  • Journalist: Patrick Knight

The price of sunflower seed oil, an agricultural raw material primarily used for cooking, is comparable to several other seed oils and considerably less than that of olive oil. In order to increase consumer loyalty, millions of dollars have been spent on advertising of certain commodities around the world. The ability to create new sunflower varieties by altering the mix of fat components to meet market demand has made possible by medical advancements in biotechnologies and genetics. Sunflower seed oil has been the focus of more and more study articles in dermatology and patent products, from skin care to medical therapies, due to factors including cost-effectiveness and natural alternatives.  

Third in terms of oilseed production worldwide, fourth in terms of vegetable oil, and third in terms of oilseed meal among protein feed sources is sunflower. The markets for vegetable oils and oilseed meals, which are both quite dynamic and are, respectively, driven by palm oil and soybean meal, have seen fierce competition in recent decades. By regular and ongoing advancements in genetics, cropping techniques, and study of added value that increased market segmentation, the sunflower industry was able to sustain its competitiveness. As sunflowers are both oil- and protein-producing species, their seeds contain about 44% oil and 16% proteins. It is a competitor in both the palm oil-dominated market for vegetable oils and the soybean-dominated industry for vegetable products with a high protein content (more than 15%).


Source: United States Department of Agriculture

Sunflower is generally produced on a significant scale in a small number of nations. Two thirds of the world's sunflower production is centred in Europe, particularly Ukraine, Russia, and the Trakya region of Turkey. Argentina, China, the United States, and the eastern portion of Africa are the other main producers (South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia).  The EU-27 was the nation with the highest use of Sunflower Oil in 2022. In EU-27, this oil was consumed domestically in excess of five million metric tonnes in that year alone. In the same year, India consumed almost 1.85 million tonnes of sunflower seed oil, making it the third-largest consumer.    


Source: United States Department of Agriculture

Food security around the world was a big issue in the days and weeks that followed Putin's military incursion into Ukraine, and it is still a huge concern today, a year later, especially as the world continues to experience the highest inflation in decades. The last thing rich and poor nations alike would want right now is greater interruption to the trade in agricultural supplies, just when bright spots are beginning to emerge on the inflationary front, as there are no obvious signs that the year-long battle will end anytime soon.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) fell 3.2% from January, demonstrating that Sunflower Oil costs are lower globally. In recent years, Ukraine has contributed significantly to the world's supply of edible oils and produced one-third of the world's Sunflower Oil, accounting for roughly half of Sunflower Oil exports globally. According to the statistics, EU exports to Ukraine increased to pre-war levels in December after the EU region experienced turmoil because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This further resulted in the falling of commodity prices, including Sunflower Oil, and high inventories with suppliers who were recovering from the trade disruption.

According to data from a Black Sea agricultural consulting organisation, Ukraine exported 347,000 tonnes of sunflower seed oil in January 2023, a significant decrease from the 612,000 tonnes exported in January 2022 prior to the war. In the early stages of the Russian invasion, a decline in exports from Ukraine, the second-largest producer in the world behind Russia, caused prices for cooking oils such as sunflower-seed oil to skyrocket as consumers looked for substitutes. The United States Department of Agriculture projects that 2.65 million tonnes of sunflower seeds will be exported worldwide during the crop year 2022–2023.

If a new or expanded Black Sea Grain Initiative can be negotiated to prevent food commodity prices from increasing once more, the world will be paying close attention to it one year after the conflict. Sunflower Oil prices and other food-related input costs have finally returned to pre-war levels, but overall prices are still high by historical standards as a result of supply interruptions brought on by the pandemic. However, it is important to know that as the war rages on, exports from Ukraine, one of the biggest exporters of Sunflower Oil in the world, have still not fully recovered to levels in the months before to Russia's invasion on February 24, 2022.

In order to support the production of Sunflower Oil for export from Ukraine and uphold the livelihoods of workers and oilseeds suppliers in Ukraine, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is anticipated to lend US$ 90 million to MHP Group, one of the top grain, poultry, and edible oil producers in Ukraine and southeastern Europe. Conflict has hampered economic activity and the functioning of supply networks, which has hurt Ukraine's production of Sunflower Oil and sunflower seeds. It has also increased pressure on the availability and cost of agricultural products, necessitating further support for the industry. This will probably have a favourable effect on Sunflower Oil's pricing in the EU zone.  

According to the Seed Crushers and Oil Processors Association, a trade group based in the UK, the increased supply of sunflower seeds now leaving the Ukraine via land and sea routes has allowed European seed crushers to help make up for the reduced supply of Sunflower Oil leaving the country, driving prices further down. After the successful launch of a grain corridor out of Ukraine last year, Sunflower Oil prices began to decline.

Over the past few years, there has been a sharp increase in demand for Sunflower Oil in the US. 85% of the Sunflower Oil produced in the US is sold in the domestic market. The remaining 15% is mainly shipped to Japan, Canada, and Mexico. Due to improved export and adequate supplies, Sunflower Oil prices have been falling in the local US market as well. 

The situation in Europe is still unstable, and there is no sign of a breakthrough to the crisis, according to experts. It's expected that the cost and availability of inputs continue to pose difficulties for the Ukrainian agriculture sector. Operations at ports and in the logistics, sector are still being delayed by power shortages. Market participants around the globe are quite anxious because of this since it will impact the prices of Sunflower Oil globally.

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