Palm oil prices slip, as soybean values edge up

1 RM (Malaysian Ringgit) = 0.21 USD
1 USD = 0.80 GBP

*Exchange rates calculated and market prices reported on May 1 2024

Crude Palm Oil

Average Palm Oil Export Prices

  • Indonesia
    $935 tonne (+$75/tonne)   

  • Malaysia
    $995/tonne (+$103/tonne)

Average Palm Oil Export Prices May 24

Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Malaysia palm market

After hitting 17-month highs at the beginning of April, prices fell throughout the rest of the month. The average for the whole of the month was 4,142RM/tonne (US$870), which was 0.7% less than the average in March 2024, but 9.5% more than the average for April 2023. The opening April 2024 price was 4,331RM/tonne (US$909), with a month high just two days later of 4,447RM/tonne (US$934). Prices then began to slip significantly and the last price of the month was 3,813RM/tonne (US$801), representing a 12.0% drop on the month. The end of April price was 14.2% higher than at the end of April 2023 and 46.3% less than the-all time high at the end of April 2022.

Malaysia palm prices CPO Settlement Price RM May 24

Soybean oil

April 2024 Soybean Oil Export Prices $/tonneApril 2024 Soybean Oil  Export Prices $/tonne

Reduced Brazilian exports pushes soybean prices up

Soybean export prices increased in March and early April following a smaller crop projection for Brazil and reduced selling by the country. Despite, this Brazil still remains the most competitive soybean exporter. Increased supplies of soybean meal from the US and South America weighed a little on export prices. US soybean prices have come under pressure because of ample global supply projections. Soybean meal prices have fallen in line with lower soybean oil prices. Palm oil prices have increased because of reduced supply in Malaysia. There were lower Black Sea sunflowerseed oil prices because of a large exportable surplus in Russia, with the gap between the oil and palm oil unusually wide.

The US Department of Agriculture latest expectations are:

“The global oilseeds production forecast is slightly lowered this month on a decrease in South Africa soybean production more than offsetting an increase in Paraguay soybean production. Global oilseeds trade is marginally down on lower U.S. soybean and Canada rapeseed exports despite higher Paraguay soybean trade. Although U.S. soybean ending stocks are higher, global ending stocks are down approximately 800,000 tons due to a decrease in Russia and Canada soybean stocks. Oilseed crush is slightly higher on raised Ukraine sunflowerseed and Canada rapeseed crush offsetting lower global soybean crush. Meal trade rose aligned with higher production of sunflowerseed and rapeseed meal. Ending oil stocks are up on an increase in palm oil stocks in Indonesia and European Union soybean oil offsetting rapeseed oil stock declines. While soybean oil production was lowered slightly, total vegetable oil production grew on higher sunflowerseed oil production in Ukraine and rapeseed oil in Canada. The projected U.S. season-average farm price for soybeans is down 20 cents to $12.55 per bushel.”

Average 2022/24 Soybean Oil Prices $/tonne

Average 2022-24 Soybean Oil Prices $/tonne May 24

Rapeseed oil
Average 2022/24 Rapeseed Rotterdam (Canola) Oil Prices $/tonneAverage 2022/24 Rapeseed Rotterdam (Canola) Oil Prices $/tonneSunflower oil
Average 2022-24 Sunflower Seed Oil Prices $/tonne

Average 2022/24 Sunflower Seed Oil Prices $/tonne May 24

Shipping Update

Shipping costs level off after falling from January peak

Shipping costs had fallen from their January highs, but have recently showed signs of levelling off. More tension in the Middle East will have supported higher shipping costs, but the conflict has not intensified as much as many had feared after missile exchanges between Israel and Iran. The March ship accident in Baltimore port has had little impact on overall shipping costs.

In its April 25th report, the Drewry World Container Index was US$2,706 per 40-foot container, similar to the week before and 55% higher than the year before.

From the April 25th 2024 Drewry World Container Index report:

  • The composite index remains stable at $2,706 per 40ft container this week and has increased by 55% when compared with the same week last year.    
  • The latest Drewry WCI composite index of $2,706 per 40ft container is 90% more than average 2019 (pre-pandemic) rates of $1,420.
  • The average composite index for the year-to-date is $3,260 per 40ft container, which is $550 higher than the 10-year average rate of $2,710 (which was inflated by the exceptional 2020-22 Covid period).
  • Freight rates from Rotterdam to New York and Shanghai to Los Angeles decreased 3% to $2,214 and $3,395 per 40ft container respectively. Similarly, rates from Rotterdam to Shanghai and Shanghai to New York dropped 2% to $749 and $4,369 per 40ft box respectively. Likewise, rates on Los Angeles to Shanghai declined 1% or $8 to $700 per feu. Conversely, rates from Shanghai to Rotterdam increased 2% or $67 to $3,056 per 40ft container. Also rates from Shanghai to Genoa increased 1% or $38 to $3,615 per feu. While rates from New York to Rotterdam remain stable. Drewry expects freight rates ex-China to hold steady in the coming week.

Shipping Update May 24

View Drewry shipping data here.

Disclaimer: The information in this document has been obtained from or based upon sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of writing. The document should be for information purposes only and is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete.