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Throughout the 1990’s, the world supply and demand situation for soybean oil showed a continuous progression of new record highs. World production in 1999/2000 of a record 24 million metric tonnes compares with the previous year’s 23.9 million. The U.S., the world’s largest soybean oil producer, generally accounts for about a third of total production. Brazil, the world’s second largest producer, typically accounts for about 16 percent of the world total. Of the important edible vegetable oils, soybean oil is the world’s largest with about 28 percent of the edible oil market in 1999/00, followed by palm oil and rapeseed oil. World usage of soybean oil in 1999/00 of a record 23.9 million tonnes equals consumption in 1998/99. The U.S. is the largest consumer with China a distant second. World carryover stocks at the end of 1999/00 were estimated at 2.3 million tonnes, unchanged from a year earlier. Nearly a third of the total carryover is in the U.S. Global soybean oil exports in 1999/00 were estimated at 7.1 million tonnes vs. the previous year’s record high 7.5 million tonnes. Argentina is the largest exporter with nearly 3 million tonnes in 1999/00. Importing nations are numerous with China now the largest single importer, 1.2 million tonnes in 1999/00, up slightly from 1998/99. The U.S. soybean oil crop year begins October 1. The oil content of U.S. soybeans correlates directly with temperatures and sunshine during the pod-filling stages. Production in 1999/00 of a record high 18.3 billion pounds was a shade over the 1998/99 total. During the first half of the 1990’s production averaged about 14 billion pounds. Carry-in stocks on October 1, 1999 were estimated at 1.6 billion pounds vs. 1.4 billion a year earlier. The U.S. supply for 1999/00 of a record high 20 billion pounds compares with 19.6 billion in 1998/99. Disappearance in 1999/00 of 17.9 billion pounds compares with 18 billion in 1998/99. Soybean oil stocks were forecast to build during 1999/00, lifting the yearend carryover to about 2.1 billion pounds vs. the record high 2.2 billion carryover on October 1, 1992. Domestic soybean oil usage in 1999/00 is forecast at a record high 15.9 billion pounds vs. 15.6 billion in 1998/99 as domestic prices should prove competitive to other fats and oils. However, export pricing was not as favorable. U.S. exports of 2 billion pounds compare with 2.4 billion in 1998/99 and the decade’s record high of nearly 2.7 billion in 1994/95. Crude soybean oil prices (basis Decatur) in 1998/99 averaged $436.00 per metric tonne vs. $569.00 in 1998/98. Futures Markets Soybean oil futures and options are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Excerpted from the CRB Commodity Yearbook.